COLUMBIA — About 40 students protested Thursday throughout the MU Student Center, carrying banners and shouting about justice and the racism they say they face everyday.
"White silence is violence, no justice no peace," they shouted for minutes on end.
The rally participants marched alongside tables packed with students who were studying and eating lunch. Some students ignored them, some smiled and some started to repeat the words of the rally participants.
The protesters went up and down multiple staircases and walked through wide and narrow corridors, trying to make their voices reach everybody in the building.
The protest was a part of Racism Lives Here, which is a recent movement at MU open to anyone who feels that there is racism at MU, said Reuben Faloughi, a 24-year-old doctoral student on the Psychological Sciences faculty. Thursday's protest was the second event held by the students. The first was held Sept. 24.
The students' voices were loudest when they addressed the students in the center's main lobby.
“I don’t like to scream, I don’t like to yell. But nobody wants to listen. Nobody listens on the forum, nobody listens on the email,” Faloughi shouted angrily. “Students experience violence on this campus. ... I've been in conversations where black students have thought about committing suicide, suicide because they ... don't feel like they belong.
"We are one bad decision away from a killing on this campus because it is segregated."
Danielle Walker, 25, spoke of the racism she's personally felt.
"My hair has been called dirty. I’ve been called ghetto. I’ve had people not wanting to sit next to me. I have people not wanting to work with me in class. So, yes, we clearly have a racism problem here on campus," said Walker, who has attended MU since 2008.
Protesters said they have several demands they want MU's administration to pay attention to.
“We want to see a hate crime policy initiated. We want our chancellor to formally make an announcement that we do have a racial problem here on campus and that they are seeking to make sure it gets addressed properly," said Walker.
Faloughi said he wants the MU administration to do its job and make the campus a comfortable place for all students, saying it has done a lackluster job of addressing the racial issues of the past year.
Brittani Savage, 19, said there were no true organizers of the protest.
"It’s just a group of students that are really pissed off. ... We either are told it’s not that bad or told that we are just making a big deal out of nothing. And it’s ridiculous. It is a big deal, and it does affect everyone’s lives," Savage said.
Rally participants said they plan to continue to protest until MU administration responds to their demands.
Thursday's rally ended outside the student center with protesters standing in a tight circle and shouting the protest's final words.
"It is our duty to fight for freedom. It is our duty to win," they said, quoting a passage from black activist Assata Shakur's autobiography. "We must love and support each other. We have nothing to lose but our chains."
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