Oberlin College. February 13, 2013.
They tried to get a rise out of us, and that they did.
Twenty-four hours prior, at around 5:00 pm on February 12, 2013, shortly after the note in the Multicultural Resource Center, a few of us who are close to the Multicultural Resource Center and the communities it supports chose to act up and organize. We came up with the concept: a march in solidarity with those of us who were demoralized, jaded, disappointed, and frustrated by the neo-Nazi vandalism on campus.
So we marched. We left Wilder Bowl at 4:40 pm on February 13, and the crowd had a life of its own. Much of what happened was well beyond my control, even as one of the primary organizers. The chants—”No more hate!” “Stand above, live and love!”—were started by the people and for the people.
According to a head-count by an Oberlin College student, there were more than 460 attendees. As the beginning of the march was nearing Burton, the end was entering the Science Center.
For myself, the most powerful part of the March of Solidarity was the sharing of experiences, stories, and the outpouring of love afterwards. In the heart of Tappan Square, students of all identities and backgrounds listened attentively to other students in the middle of the circle, telling their stories of being Jewish, of being Black, of being queer, or of being an ally, and how they are not only angry at and disappointed by the vandalism, but filled with hope and love that so many people chose to attend this march in support of them during this tumultuous time.
The March lasted for almost an hour and a half, from 4:30 pm to almost 6:00 pm. It ended in a large group hug in the middle of Tappan Square.
A sit-in is planned for today, February 14, 2013, at 4:30 pm in the Science Center atrium.
As a primary organizer of the March of Solidarity, I thank all of you who attended and all of you who e-mailed me with your undying support and love for the communities who were targeted by the recent stream of events. I would also like to thank students who disagree with the March, for a lack of dissent and a lack of discourse leads to monoliths, not communities. I would only urge you to voice your dissent constructively to me and to others, rather than voicing it through outbursts of hate speech as we have been witnessing recently.
In love and solidarity,