In today’s political climate, it seems as though there are more and more videos surfacing of students exhibiting racist behavior. With white supremacy on the rise, it’s important that people stand up and fight back against these acts of offensive behavior. Recently, an entire student body decided to stand up for what they believe in after they felt that their school’s administration did not handle the issue of racism on campus appropriately.
A Twitter thread posted by teacher and activist @zellie shared the story of students from the Ethical Culture Fieldston School in The Bronx. According to the Twitter thread, the students, who are now referring to themselves as Students of Color Matter, staged an overnight sit-in and locked out their administration in protest.
Students in the Bronx felt the school’s @ecfs1878 response to their demands to address racism on campus were inadequate..— zellie (@zellieimani) March 12, 2019
So they locked them out.
They are so organized and ready to win. @SOCmatter @dad_soc #studentsofcolormatter pic.twitter.com/kKexOfmAYL
According to ABC News, the students originally staged the protest after a racist and homophobic video was shared around the school campus and administrators did nothing to combat it. Students said that this is a bigger issue of the lack of racial justice on campus, despite the school being called “progressive.”
One student told ABC:
“One of the African-American students was called the N-word by the kids in the video. They said his name and I know that affected him heavily.”
According to the Twitter thread from @zellie, students actually did the overnight sit-in for not one, but two nights.
Students are diggin in for their second night of occupying their high school because of the administration’s inadequate response to the demands.— zellie (@zellieimani) March 12, 2019
You can support by ordering them some pizza from https://t.co/4xkmZw8p9B
School: 3901 Fieldston Road Bronx NY #studentsofcolormatter pic.twitter.com/ldCt7uOgZd
Additionally, students shared that the administration had not responded to any of the student’s demands—which included consequences (suspension or expulsion) for the students involved in the video, a formal apology, or any changes to their policy regarding racism on campus.
This is how the administration has thus far responding to the student protestors’ demands to address the racist video and systemic racism on campus.— zellie (@zellieimani) March 13, 2019
Appalled. #StudentsofColorMatter @SOCmatter @dad_soc pic.twitter.com/l0kXTezpwf
The school’s administration emailed parents, letting them know about the protests taking place and acknowledging that they had seen the list of demands. According to The Cut, some of the email states:
“The group has shared a list of demands prompted by recent events in the Upper School, but rooted in systemic and cultural concerns that have persisted over the course of their educational experience at ECFS, from Lower School through Upper School.”
Since staging the protest, the student body has also created a website—studentsofcolor.org—that showcases their demands and what their organization means. They also have a full list of their demands, a contact option, and a “live-stream” section. In their mission statement, they write:
#StudentsofColorMatter is a collective of People of Color from Fieldston dedicated to improving the experiences of marginalized students everywhere. The use of racist and bigoted language are symptoms of systemic and institutional racism that plague educational institutions across the country. For this reason, we command the implementation of structural reform, such as long term curriculum changes, the admittance of more students and faculty of color, and racial sensitivity training for all community members.
Since the story went viral online, over 3 thousand individuals signed the group’s petition.
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All of us at #STUDENTSOFCOLORMATTER just wanted to extend our sincerest appreciation to all of you fighting with us beyond these walls. As students, our outlook of the world is so much more optimistic after seeing how well our community has been able to come together and rally around such an important cause. A movement is only as strong as the powerful supporters behind it and you all have been beyond incredible. Few words exist that can accurately express how appreciative we are of all your support, but I would be remiss not to try ... THANK YOU! Much love & please keep sharing! #STUDENTSOFCOLORMATTER
And, many individuals are extremely proud to see that this generation of students are willing to stand up for what is right—no matter what it takes.
This is our future and I have to say they are doing amazing!— Little_Lady_by_the_Bay (@SWEETmissMORRIS) March 12, 2019
I see nothing wrong,we are the future ✊🏿✊🏿— Jessika (@jessikablk) March 13, 2019
Ride Children RIDE !— Mrs_McK (@JonelleTaliba) March 13, 2019
So proud of them. 🙌— 🌼Dani B (@beingdanicb) March 13, 2019
The kids are alright! I have so much faith in this generation coming up. They're fighters, they're smart, and they're persistent. I WANT them to beat my generation. (born 1965)— We're_All_Rising (@BreadConquerer) March 13, 2019