I Am An OU Student And This Is How The Campus Is Reacting To The Racist Video
Recently, my Twitter feed brought a video to my attention, in which some members of a fraternity sang a racist chant.
I was shocked and appalled by the ignorant, racist behavior featured in the video, and for the most part, the social media universe agreed with me.
People began calling for justice and offering their opinions on the video as the story quickly gained attention.
My roommates and I decided to attend a non-violent demonstration the next morning at 7:30 am on campus, which a OU organization, Unheard, would host.
All of us were, at one point or another, involved on campus and inspired to show others our view that everyone should be able to call our university home.
No one should ever be subject to this kind of discrimination, and we sought to communicate that.
As an introvert, I have never done anything like this in my life. When we arrived, it was still dark out and misting. I felt radically out of place.
My two roommates and I stood under an umbrella, shivering, and we listened to the University's president speak powerfully and passionately to the attentive mass of assembled students regarding the consequences the fraternity would receive and how their actions contradicted OU's values.
We were instructed to take a sticky note and write about how the video made us feel.
Then, we would march to place these sticky notes on the office of the Dean of Students. I took my blue sticky note, thought a while and looked around before writing on it.
I saw friends, professors, student athletes and student leaders as the crowd behind me grew larger and larger. It was then I realized the importance of the event I was attending.
My friend, who is a member of the OU Unheard movement, was moving through the crowd toward me. I met her in class and got to know her better by working at Camp Crimson, OU's freshman orientation camp.
She was walking through the crowd and stopped to say hello to me and a few other people, as she always makes a point to do.
After our initial greeting, the crowd became even more silent. Then, she turned to me said softly and sincerely,
"You know, it means the world to me to stand in this crowd next to people who don't look like me."
I immediately got goosebumps. She looked me in the eyes, hugged me and thanked me for coming.
Afterward, the group marched together across campus and through the student union. As we marched, her words reverberated in my mind.
Standing together, we were stronger. I wasn't out of place; I was in the right place. The message was that the fight for respect and equal opportunity for all people is the responsibility of every race, not just one.
These things are only possible through collaboration and understanding.
While the circumstances are abhorrent and the news coverage is dismal and depressing, I consider myself lucky to go to a university with students and an administration that takes such a strong and non-violent stance against the kind of racist behavior that video displayed.
I am so incredibly proud that when I showed up to the protest, there were students and faculty of every color, race and background, working for greater change in our society.
I am proud to be a student at the University of Oklahoma and proud to be a part of a generation that is changing the world.