Through live webinars, The Legion of Black Collegians works to help campus remember and continue to learn from 2015 protests
Panelists spoke about their experiences with racism on campus and their memories of the 2015 protests.
Nov. 06, 2020
In its first in a series of live commemorative webinars, The Legion of Black Collegians presented on Oct. 28 a recollection of the protests against racism that were held on MU’s campus in the fall of 2015.
The fall of 2015 was filled with a series of protests calling for the school to take action against the racist culture on campus. The protests started when student government president Payton Head went to Facebook to divulge the numerous acts of racism he experienced while at MU.
Multiple students and members of MU administration were accused of committing racist acts during this time, and multiple protests spoke out against that behavior.
However, LBC vice president Caleb Sewell feels that these protests have not been properly commemorated by the school.
“Many students at the institution today don’t really know much about 2015 when you talk to them,” Sewell said. “When students are getting tours and ask about it, the responses are always illegitimate.”
That’s why the LBC started this series of commemorative retellings of anti-racism protests: to educate a new class of students
Sewell was not alone in this endeavour. Alumni and past and current faculty joined him to speak about their experiences during the protests.
The panel members helped paint a detailed picture of what life was like on campus and shared personal stories of how they faced racism on campus during that time.
Many of them spoke out against the administration under then-president Tim Wolfe and how the administration tried to systematically ignore the protests.
“A lot of what I saw on campus was Mizzou pretending like everything was OK,” panel member Shelby Anderson said. “There were events that occured, and [Mizzou] just brushed them over.”
Thinking that Mizzou has tried to change the narrative and hide these “ugly” parts of its past is what spurred these webinars, the panel said. The webinar went on to feature stories from many witnesses of the protests and from graduates who lived through racist events on campus.
Witnesses like panel member Danielle Walker recollected first hearing about or experiencing racism on campus.
Walker remembered an incident involving two students dropping cotton balls in front of the Black Cultural Center in 2010. MU labeled this incident not as a hate crime but as littering.
“It really felt like Mizzou spat in my face to call that incident littering,” Walker said.
Sewel hopes that by keeping these protests alive through detailed recollection, they will help the students of today fight to better MU’s campus.
He especially hopes this happens because of how similar he, and the rest of the panel, see similarities between the issues of 2015 and current controversy concerning the Thomas Jefferson monuments on Francis Quadrangle.
Reportedly a second webinar is being planned by the LBC, but neither a date or a topic has been divulged by the group. They did assure their viewers though they will not stop fighting for a “campus built on equality.”
“You don’t fight for something this hard unless you’re passionate about it,” Anderson said. “I love Mizzou, I am passionate about it and I want to make it better.”
Edited by Lucy Caile | firstname.lastname@example.org