A group of CU Denver students organized a demonstration on Thursday, Nov. 12, to express solidarity with students at the University of Missouri who have been protesting about racial injustices on their Columbia, Mo., campus.
The rally in front of the Tivoli Student Union drew about 60 people, most of whom were students, but also a few staff members from institutions on the Auraria Campus.
Nadeen Ibrahim, a junior at CU Denver and member of the Black Student Alliance (BSA), heard about the nationwide on-campus demonstrations being organized by the University of Missouri students. Within a couple hours, she contacted fellow BSA members and they put up a Facebook page inviting campus members to take part in a solidarity rally the next day.
Jerry Wartgow, CU Denver chancellor, and Brenda Allen, associate vice chancellor for Diversity and Inclusion, attended the event, showing their support for a diverse and inclusive campus. They were impressed by the respectful and collaborative tone of the event.
“We are very much in support of the students having this kind of opportunity to independently voice their concerns,” Allen said. “They stood in solidarity, and we really appreciate and value how they approached it.”
In front of the Tivoli, several BSA members — Ibrahim, Renee Davis and Marcena Day — spoke to the rally participants, who interlocked arms and formed a circle. The group chanted and held signs saying “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere,” “Auraria Stands with Mizzou” and “#Concerned Student 1950,” the latter a reference to the year the University of Missouri began accepting black students.
“We need to send our prayers and thoughts to the students at Missouri from here in Colorado,” Ibrahim said. She said the rally also underscored the importance of striving for a diverse and inclusive campus. “I think it prompted us to start more conversations and ensure that the Auraria campus is able to uphold that (goal).”
Day, a CU Denver junior majoring in political science, shared a story about a Colorado woman she met four years ago while attending a Black Issues Forum at Colorado State University. The young woman is now a student at the University of Missouri and has been subjected to racial slurs in Columbia, Day said.
“I think it’s important to show that even if you’re away from home, you still have people back home in Colorado who support you,” Day said. She was impressed by the turnout at the rally. “It just shows that students can organize and we can make a difference.”