Students, faculty and staff at Eastern Michigan University walked in a silent march in protest of last year's racist graffiti found on King Hall.
Desmine Robinson, a junior at EMU, organized this march to stand against racism on campus and invited departments to join in.
“These past years have been very tough for our black Eagles,” said Robinson, addressing the crowd that had gathered in front of the Towers.
EMU freshman Sakinah and Zakiyyah Rahman kicked off the event with a poem they wrote. They received the Young Citizens of the Year award by the Ann Arbor Community Foundation earlier this year for their involvement with activism in the community. The twins recited a poem that Zakiyyah Rahman had written about melanin.
“‘And I knew she hated herself because she fed into their mockery, but at that moment I hated myself because for so long I didn’t interfere into their snobbery,’” Zakiyyah said, quoting the poem.
“The reason I love this part is because I felt so much power when I wrote this. I didn’t realize that within myself, I never fought. Even though melanin is a part of me in this poem I recognize melanin as another being because it represents so much more than who I am,” she said.
Halfway between the Towers and King Hall, the march took a pause to listen to more speakers. Student Body Vice President Larry Borum III was among the few speakers and spoke about how “one person can do a lot of a things,” not only on campus, but in the surrounding communities.
“It shows the students that there are students on this campus that care about black lives,” said Borum. “It also shows that there are people on this campus who are aware about the injustices happening to student minorities.
Many races were accounted for among the various departments represented, along with students who showed their support for the black students at EMU.
“I feel like, especially as a white person on campus, that it’s my privilege to ignore something that happens like this,” senior Lexi Oyster said. “Black people and the people that were targeted in that message can’t just ignore it, so I think being here and standing here with them and showing that it matters to me, is important.”
After arriving at King Hall, students gathered to complete their march across campus for a group photo.
“I love being a part of the encouragement in recognizing the allies that were amongst us,” Sakinah said. “I love the encouragement given to the black eagles that were present and I loved the love that was present.”
After the crowd cleared from King Hall, Robinson reflected on the event and the turn out that had been put together.
“Today was incredible, it was a success,” Robinson said. “We proved that black lives don’t only matter to black lives and I believe that a lot of black people here felt loved, supported, and inspired.”