Top 5 quotes of the year: Racism, solidarity, empowerment

J’den Cox’s mother Cathy: “To me, bronze feels like gold.”
Maneater File Photo

“I’ve got a stubborn streak in me, and when I looked at the data I said, ‘That’s not enough data for me.’ I still believe that, and I think we need to look into it more.”

A Columbia Police Department town hall meeting in January, the third of a four-part listening tour, ended with Police Chief Ken Burton rejecting that racial profiling exists within his force. This rejection contradicted data from 2015 that found black people were three times more likely than white people to be stopped by police, yet less likely to be found in possession of contraband. Burton said this data was insufficient and would require further analysis. This came just six months after a July town hall meeting that ended with members of local activist group Race Matters, Friends walking out after Burton said he didn’t believe racial profiling existed within his force.

“Am I what you fear?"

Junior Husain Agha wore a sign with these words when he protested in Speakers Circle the morning after President Donald Trump’s election. Agha was raised Muslim in small-town Kansas, where he experienced hate that he said spawned from fear. Agha received nothing but positive feedback and hugs in Speakers Circle, he said. Agha’s demonstration was one of many throughout Columbia following Trump’s election and inauguration, including the “Solidarity. Unity. Positivity.” rally in Speakers Circle in November, the Mid-Missouri Solidarity March in January and Mid-Missouri Peaceworks’ “Stand in Solidarity” rally in February.

“It is often said that history repeats itself, but the ignorance that occurs on the University of Missouri’s campus always seems to be too familiar. Due to the continuation of an intolerant culture, students of color have been attacked yet again.”

The Legion of Black Collegians released this statement in response to a Sept. 27 hate speech incident when members of the LBC Activities Committee were called racial slurs by a group of individuals that appeared intoxicated, then further shouted at outside the Delta Upsilon fraternity house while talking with MU Police Department officers. The LBC statement said the group would work with the university in an effort to prevent future instances of racism.

“My granddaughter called me in tears saying, ‘Women cannot win.’ However, she saw you out with friends the next night and you were laughing. She went to approach you, but decided to eavesdrop instead. She told me you were talking to a group of young men about your plans for ‘It’s On Us’ and how you felt motivated to continue the mission. She told me that hearing this made her feel ‘like women could never really lose.’”

An MU student’s grandparent wrote a letter to Tori Schafer following her and Riley de León’s loss in the Missouri Students Association presidential race on March 8. The final days of the MSA election were tumultuous to say the least, leaving many of Schafer’s supporters, including the granddaughter of the impassioned letter writer, discontent but hopeful. Schafer uploaded a photo of the letter to her personal Facebook page, where it received over 1,300 likes. The grandparent and family are starting a full-ride scholarship for women who have experienced domestic violence called “Make It Matter,” after Schafer/de León’s campaign slogan.

“To me, bronze feels like gold. And it’s not just in the medal, it’s in how he carried himself throughout the whole process. That’s what has made me more proud than anything.”

Cathy Cox, mother of acclaimed Missouri wrestler J’den Cox, spoke highly of her son following his bronze medal win at the 2016 Rio Summer Olympics. Cox went on in March to win the NCAA championship for his third and final time in St. Louis. His mother also said that her son, a Columbia native, “has brought an entire city together, a whole community together.” Cox credits much of his success to his faith and family.

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