Amid this revolutionary movement occurring around the world, it is going to take a lot more than statements and videos to show that Black Lives Matter.
On Memorial Day George Floyd, an African American man, was killed while in police custody in Minneapolis. In the wake of Floyd’s death, celebrities, politicians, companies, and institutions rushed to get out their statements supporting the fight against racism. I was looking for one in particular; from our beloved, The University of Texas at Austin.
On May 30, the UT Austin Twitter account quoted a tweet from the Big 12 account saying “We stand with our Big 12 schools against all acts of racism and violence.”
“We say, “what starts here changes the world,” UT Interim President Jay Hartzell said. “Those starts don’t just happen. They are the results of actions – large and small, as individuals and in teams.”
To no surprise, black students, including myself, were not having it. Yes, the interim president said change comes from action, but we have yet to see UT do anything more than put out a well-crafted statement.
They say they are against racism but have buildings named after racist men who had ties to the confederacy.
They say they are against racism, but the school song, “The Eyes of Texas”, has racist origins. First performed by John Sinclair, who was a member of the Varsity Minstrel Show, in 1903. These shows were full of derogatory images of Black people aimed to make fun of them.
UT is not an activist, it is a performance activist. They’re saying, but they’re not doing.
I find it hard to believe you mean these words when there are instances that say otherwise.
Black students find it hard to feel they belong on UT’s campus. When I walk into a classroom and see more than two black people I am surprised. I’m going to be a senior next semester, and I have had one black professor for a class that centered around the African American community.
UT is a great school, but in this fight against racism, it’s simply not doing enough. Black students need more. We need true action.
Previously, the UTPD, who has been accused of targeting Black people in the past, made a deal with students: report an incident and get a free pizza. Presenting a risk of false reports on Black people.
When given the opportunity to show support for the protests, instead of attending one of the public downtown protests. UTPD made what felt like a propaganda video of students and law enforcement walking around campus.
If UT is truly against racism, prove it to me. Prove it to the black students, who desperately wish they could call this campus a safe place.
Black Lives Matter is not a trend. It is a continuous fight that has only just begun. Your work is not finished because you wrote three paragraphs and posted it on Twitter. Black students will be watching UT next semester and if very little is done, it will speak volumes — more than any statement of solidarity sent out in a mass email.
Donate to Black Lives Matter organizations around Austin.
Educate your white students on the racist history of the campus, and how to use their privilege to amplify the voices of the less privileged.
If the Student Activity Center and the College of Liberal Arts buildings can be renamed, then surely the same can be done to T.S. Painter Hall and Robert Lee Moore Hall.
Enough saying, more doing. Then I will start to believe that Black Lives Matter at UT Austin.
UT PETITION: http://chng.it/b97h6pwb