Students at rally for Mizzou demand real change
By Kassie Parisi and Madeline St. Amour
University at Albany students came together on campus today in support of the University of Missouri protests that have been dominating the news cycle. The rally, which was held by the small fountain on campus from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m., appeared to draw a crowd of about 60 people.
UAlbany Chief of Police Frank Wiley spoke at the rally, and said he was proud of the Concerned Student 1950 movement and the subsequent UAlbany rally. Vice President for Student Affairs Michael Christakis was present also, and said that it’s important to him that students feel comfortable on campus.
“I stand with you,” Christakis said.
UAlbany senior Mandela Gadsen organized the event, and was pleased with the turnout. He said he hopes to have other events that will spread awareness of diversity issues around campus, but that in the meantime, students have to educate themselves if they want to see change.
“Information is key,” Mandela said.
Many students held handmade signs that said, “Black lives matter,” “we can’t breathe.” One sign that said, “young, black, safe” was formatted like a checklist. The words “young” and “black” were checked off…the word “safe” was not.
Students also gave speeches at the rally.
“We have the power to change the future if we start now…we all want change but we only come out for one day,” UAlbany student Kyle Chittum said.
UAlbany sophomore Judgette Moen said that while she feels that campus is fairly diverse overall, people still tend to stay in “cliques” within their different races.
“We need to have allies,” senior Alaysia Martin said. Martin added that UAlbany seems to be lacking in faculty diversity. “I’ve had maybe two black professors in my time here,” she said.
Mandela explained that he didn’t want the University of Missouri movement to be ignored or brushed under the rug here, which was why he organized the rally. “I felt like it was needed and that it was time,” Mandela said.
“Nobody’s going to wait for you to do stuff…you gotta do it yourself,” he said.