CHARLESTON, Ill. (WCIA) — Eastern Illinois University’s campus was filled with students marching in protest to denounce hate speech.
This was in response to racist flyers that were found posted around the campus last month. Officials haven not determined who did it. That’s exactly why those at this peaceful protest wanted to make sure people understood that this would not be tolerated on the EIU campus.
Students, EIU staff, and people who live around the college joined together, unified against racism. Diana Argutta says, “There were flyers placed on campus basically [encouraging] white power with the swastika in the middle, promoting white supremacy. Somebody also posted on campus “black lies matter” and basically saying f*** black history month.”
What happened was painful for many people. Argutta says, “It was hurtful but at the same time it gave me drive and motivation to keep fighting and show that our presence belongs here on campus.”
It fueled passion within Marcus Powell to create change at the university. He says, “I would like to implement different policies. Safe zones, different training for teachers and diversity training to help these students and teachers learn different things on campus and learn how to cope with different issues if your approach with us again.”
As people marched around EIU, they used their voices to make their message clear. Argutta says, “I hope that people are aware that this is going on on campus and that we as students aren’t going to tolerate it.”
There will be another march happening for anybody who wants to join. That one will be a walk through the city of Charleston. A date has not been set yet, but it will be after spring break.
EIU’s president made a statement addressing the protest Wednesday afternoon. It reads in part…
“As an institution, EIU continues to intensely denounce and condemn any materials or actions rooted in racism or polluted by prejudice. I am proud of each of you for exercising your rights, and for your actionable commitments to equity and justice.”David Glassman