Universities and colleges across the country shared their support for University of Missouri student activists Thursday by sharing a message of solidarity on social media.
The Black Ivy Coalition, a collegiate advocacy group fighting for racial equality comprised of two representatives from each Ivy League institution, posted a statement on Facebook to express their support for University of Missouri's student protesters and called for a blackout asking supporters to wear all black Thursday. Reine Ibala, a senior at Yale University and a founder of the coalition, said students at nearly 80 schools have shared their statement of support and participated in the campaign online.
The shared message, according to Ibala, reads as such:
"To the students of color at Mizzou, we stand with you in solidarity. To those who would threaten their sense of safety, we are watching. #ConcernedStudent1950 #InSoliarityWithMizzou."
The coalition said they applaud the efforts of Mizzou activists who protested ongoing racial tensions on campus. The demonstrations at Mizzou, which included both faculty and football players, led to the resignation of the university’s president Tim Wolfe and chancellor R. Bowen Loftin earlier this week.
“Mizzou has not only shown us the power of solidarity, but it has also shown what can happen when students from all different backgrounds take a stand, and refuse to accommodate an institution that will not acknowledge their concerns and their pain,” Ibala said. "We know we can do better and we will," she wrote in another statement.
The coalition, which formed last year, aims to dispel the misconception of a post-racial America and to combat the issues that lead to institutional racism on campuses and beyond.
“Through the use of awareness, solidarity campaigns and peaceful protests, we hope to address the systemic factors at the roots of these issues as well as spread a call to action, because these issues are not black issues -- they are American issues,” she said.
Now, the group’s attention is focused on addressing racial issues both at Mizzou and on their own respective campuses. As a black woman at Yale, Ibala feels her voice is one she constantly fights to be heard.
"My experience is of invisibility, of people almost walking into me as if I weren’t there; of having to repeat myself before being heard; of people speaking over me; of being unacknowledged when I enter a space and having my continent, my people, and experience as an African female ridiculed and dehumanized," she said.
Yale students held campus protests this week after a series of racist incidents occurred on campus, including claims of a "White Girls Only" frat party. The students also criticized what they saw as a delayed response from administrators.
"My experience is of invisibility...of having to repeat myself before being heard..." Reine Ibala
On Wednesday, students at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia rallied together and protested in the streets chanting, "We stand together with black Mizzou." (See video below.) And on Thursday, students on campuses nationwide -- from Southern Mississippi University, University of Pennsylavnia, University of Georgia and Stanford -- demonstrated to share their support.
Armani Madison, a senior student at Brown University and another member of the coalition, told HuffPost his experiences on campus have been challenging, traumatizing, oppressive and unwelcome.
"We are fighting back against the institutions which have oppressed us and our people for centuries. We are telling these institutions that we will hold them accountable," he said. "We are demanding change, now."
Madison said he is inspired by the mobilization at Mizzou and is committed to the collective cause.
"These brothers and sisters protesting at Mizzou, at Yale, at Ithaca College, and Berkeley High, at the institutions across the country that are complicit in working to marginalize us, give us all inspiration to fight onward," Madison said.
"Amandla. Power. Imani. Peace. Asani. Rebelliousness," he added. "Let us keep up the fight on our campuses, in our hearts, and wherever we see inequality and injustice."
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