This past week, amidst the protests of student activists at the University of Missouri and subsequently, the threats posted for protestors, university students from across the nation have addressed racial climates at their own universities and expressed their solidarity for the activists at Mizzou. Project Ava was thankful for a chance to collaborate with the Inclusive Excellence Student Success & Leadership Development (IESSLD) Office at the University of Denver for their discussion of the events and how it impacts their own community as well as host a photo campaign. Below you will find select stories from participants sharing how the events at Mizzou have impacted them personally and showing that #DUUnitesWithMizzou #InSolidarity.
My friend is a student at Mizzou. Yesterday he wouldn’t leave his room because he felt unsafe. That impacts me because I want my friend to be safe at all times. We left Chicago to escape violence only to go to college and be faced with racism and hatred. – Kyla Peck
I moved to Southeast MO when I was 9. The events at Mizzou remind me of the rampant and pervasive racism and prejudice that is endured by anyone out of the white, straight majority, especially African Americans and LGBTQ. I continue to be frustrated that this behavior continues to be ignored by the major media outlets. At the same time, I am proud of the courageous acts of black students at Mizzou. Stand strong. We are with you. – Billy Husher
I have friends at Mizzou and I learning, seeing their pain has really made me realize we all experience many of the same things and have no way to cope. – Mawukle Yebuah
I have friends that attend Mizzou and hearing their terrorizing stories and fears puts me in a state where I am unable to process my emotions. Trying very hard not to be hateful and filled with anger. – Jaliah Peters
I’m deeply disappointed but not very shocked at the events that occurred on MU’s campus. The Mizzou football team rallying together in support of fellow students is what resonates with me the most because I am a student-athlete myself. I am compelled to sit down and share with them my experiences here at DU but also growing up a minority because I would love for them to be involved in change that occurs on campus. As athletes we tend to live in our own bubble as if campus-wide initiatives don’t apply to us… because we’re set. I think it’s time we as athletes realize that we have a strong voice on this campus and to use our privilege to promote campus wide change. – Nina McGee
Mizzou events have affected me personally because similar micro-aggressions are happening at DU. As a student-athlete of color, the actions of the Mizzou football players demonstrated a strong sense of solidarity that I feel. I can create a similar change in my environment. – Brooklyn Batey
This reminds me of the numerous times I was criminalized because of my race. I was accused of stealing a laptop on campus specifically because I was black. When the investigator spoke to me, the last thing he said was, “What you haven’t told me is why you wouldn’t steal a laptop.” – Jonathan Seals
I felt a wave of sadness as I watched the video of the demonstration. The first time I came to the US, I was 2, my parents and I didn’t stay here for too long, but all the stories of the racism they experienced resonated throughout my growing up. Being in Africa kind of keeps “us” out of the touch of African American issues, just the way no one in the larger American community has a clue where Chad is. Briefly put, I would like to say this has to stop. It is ridiculous that in this day and age we have to live through this. It is repulsive and disgusting. – Abderahman Hassame
We at Project Ava and DU express sincere solidarity with student activists at Mizzou and those striving for a more diverse, inclusive, and safe community on their campuses and beyond. Thank you to DU students and staff for their participating and expression of solidarity. Other photos can be found on Project Ava’s Facebook.
DU & Project Ava