CHESTNUT HILL — Hundreds of Boston College students, faculty, and staff, many dressed in black and bearing signs supporting the Black Lives Matter movement, marched through campus early Friday afternoon to protest recent racist events at the college.
Undergraduate government president Akosua Opokua-Achampong said she hopes the protest will send a message not only to fellow students, but to the administration to use their authority to make changes.
“It’s not up to students, especially those affected and targeted, to continuously be asked how to solve systems of inequity,” said the BC senior before the march began. “That is not our job and that is not something that we are equipped to do or as equipped to do as others on this campus.”
On Friday morning, two posters depicting Uncle Sam and bearing the logo of an online magazine that promotes white supremacy were found on a campus map at the college a few hours before the protest was scheduled to begin at the same location.
Under Uncle Sam’s image, was the message: “I want you to love who you are/Don’t apologize for being white.”
The racially diverse group of protesters met at noon in front of Carney Hall, where they lowered their heads and held hands while a campus minister led them in prayer before they marched with fists in the air chanting “black lives matter.”
The “Silence is Still Violence” march, sponsored by the Undergraduate Government of Boston College and the anti-racism club FACES, was the second protest at the college this week in response to two Black Lives Matter signs being defaced at Roncalli Hall on Oct. 13. Controversy was sparked again last weekend when an image of a burnt Philly cheese steak with the phrase “I like my steak and cheese like I like my slaves” began circulating on social media.
On Wednesday several hundred students walked out of classes in a peaceful 20-minute demonstration to voice their denunciation of racism.
Some of the women who lived on the floor where the Black Lives Matter signs were defaced hung signs on their doors to show their solidarity last Friday. Tuesday morning, a BC employee removed about five of them, said Emma Linville, a sophomore who lives on the floor.
Linville said she was home when her sign was taken down by a man wearing a gray BC polo shirt.
“I asked why he did that, and he said he was told to take down any sign that didn’t have the BC stamp of approval,” said Linville.
Linville said she reported the incident to her resident adviser who later e-mailed other students on the floor that the resident director directed staff to not take down any more signs.
BC spokesman Jack Dunn said the incident was “inadvertent” and “limited to that residence hall.”
“A BC residence hall director informed me that members of our residence hall cleaning staff inadvertently took down flyers on student doors during their cleanup rounds,” Dunn wrote in an e-mail.
Nicole Diaz, a junior at the college, said administration had also taken down Black Lives Matter signs at Stayer Hall.
“Rather than addressing the perpetrators, they’re blaming victims or people who are susceptible for posting signs,” Diaz said during the march.
When asked about the second incident, Dunn e-mailed another statement.
“We are pleased that several thousand students, faculty, and staff demonstrated their united opposition to racism in a Solidarity March today that was sponsored by BC’s undergraduate student government and the student group FACES. We hope that the March will assist in the healing process given the difficult events of this week,” Dunn wrote in the e-mail.Sophia Eppolito can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.