Scores of students from area colleges and universities met at the Parkman Bandstand on Boston Common Monday afternoon, then marched through the streets in support of a national movement stemming from unrest at the University of Missouri.
Around 150 students — some of whom walked out of class — gathered in solidarity with students of color from across the country.
“We looked at the courage of the students at Mizzou and Howard and Yale, and we said, ‘Something has to be done’” in Boston, said Simone Alyse, 20, one of the event’s lead organizers. “We want people to be aware that we are awake, and we are watching. We need to change.”
Students came from Boston University, Berklee College of Music, Emerson College, the University of Massachusetts Boston, Simmons College, and other schools to the demonstration.
Protesters pledged Monday to do their part to end oppression of all kinds at institutions after the recent protests at the University of Missouri over racial discrimination led to the resignation of top officials.
The event followed a series of similar demonstrations held at campuses across Boston last week to support black students at the Missouri school.
After rallying at the bandstand, where a series of speakers addressed attendees, and the group practiced chants like “We pay for education, not for discrimination” and “No justice, no peace,” students marched toward the State House and then down Beacon Street.
While chanting, they walked down Arlington St. toward Newbury St., before ending their protest at Copley Square. Police on bikes escorted the students as they weaved through the city.
Felicia, 22, who didn't want to give her last name, said she stood up during class at Bunker Hill Community College Monday and walked out to attend the assembly.
“It’s important to hear about these movements, and there aren’t too many in Boston that I get to go to,” she said. “I want people to know you can’t dehumanize us. We are human beings.”
Nick Alleyne said he feels responsible, as a black student at Berklee, to be a voice for those participating in these movements.
“We’re raising awareness ... and giving attention to the racial discrimination going on at college campuses,” he said.
Nino Brown, a UMass Boston student who was invited to speak at the event, said blatant racism and injustice happening across the country inspired him to voice his concerns at the rally.
“Students in Missouri are standing up and fighting back, and they sparked a movement that can really put social justice and ant-racism back on the agenda,” said Brown. “We want to raise awareness and show unity, and show that students and workers and everyday people are united against racism.”