Minority groups host rally and sit-in to raise awareness
March recognizes past actions and ongoing goals
April 20, 2017
On Wednesday afternoon, University students marched in the streets to support and raise awareness for the unequal treatment of minority groups on campus.
The march was co-sponsored by Black United Front and Latinx group Movimiento Estudiantil Chicanx de Aztlan.
This protest was a recreation of a 1992 protest in which University students demanded equal treatment for Latino and minority students.
In 1992, protesters were faced with violence from the University Police, which attracted national attention. Though Wednesday marked the 25th anniversary of the protest, the demands for just treatment of Latinx students have not been met, according to their website.
Students from M.E.Ch.A and BUF honored the students from the 1992 protest by standing together to call for a “transformative change at the University of Illinois,” according to their press release.
Even though the original protest positively advanced the “academic experience and curriculum,” according to their website, Vanessa Garcia, junior and member of M.E.Ch.A, believes not much has changed since 1992.
“We have to commemorate the struggles and accomplishments of the past students,” Garcia said. “But we would also like to acknowledge that there is still a lot of work to be done.”
Mackenzie Schabowski, freshman in Education, said that this rally was necessary.
“It was important to shed light on (minority groups) and to bring people together in solidarity,” Schabowski said. “It is important to get students from every race to speak on these issues.”
Schabowski also said that she believes the rally went well.
“I think it will start a lot of conversation and that is a good thing,” Schabowski added.
Although there were predominantly Latinx and African-American participants, a diverse group of people came out to support the protest. Following the rally on the Main Quad, students marched down Nevada Street to the Department of African-Americans Studies building, chanting “The People United will never be defeated” and “Project 1000.”
Project 1000 is a national program aimed at helping underrepresented African-Americans seek equal support in higher education.
As protesters gathered around the Department of African-Americans Studies building, BUF expressed their feelings toward the mistreatment of African-American students.
“We gather to celebrate solidarity amongst black and brown students, Muslim students and our white allies,” said Drake Materre, freshman in ACES and member of Black United Front.
Materre also said that Black United Front tried to communicate with the faculty and staff but has not received any feedback from Dr. Ronald Bailey, head of the Department of African-American Studies. Black United Front participants said they were asked to leave during past meetings after bringing up Project 1000.
The rally ended with a sit-in inside of the African-American Studies building. In a previous press release, Black United Front said they will not leave until their needs are met.