I am angry. I am angry that as a femme-identifying person of color my experiences with discrimination and racism on this campus are not validated. I am angry that my personal safety is not considered a priority by the institution that I chose to continue my education in. I struggle to find myself in an institution that does not support efforts of liberation when people of color fight to be represented and to not have their cries drowned in a sea of entitled white voices that claim to not be “informed” enough to advocate for our needs or our safety. I am tired of not being heard. The mere fact that black and brown students on this campus have to validate their existence to the administration only goes to show that students of color are only numbers used in statistics by the admissions department, and exemplifies disconsideration of the marginalized communities present at this institution. By attempting to take down the flag that represents our liberation as black and brown folk without the informed consent of students, Green Mountain College announces that it is indifferent to the experiences of its students, that it is unwilling to fight for equality, and ultimately, that it is unwilling to uphold the claim of social sustainability that is so desperately clings to.
The college’s Sustainability 2020 strategic plan clearly states the institution’s intention of “[identifying] key measures of student and employee success and [ensuring] that their successes are systematically supported and publically celebrated.” The raising of the Black Lives Matter flag on that pole was a direct representation of the recognition of the student’s vulnerability against a system that continuously seeks to oppress them, the raising of that flag represented a victory that was unanimously supported by students on this campus. Yet, our efforts to make Green Mountain College a visible ally of the Black Lives Matter Movement tried to be silenced behind our backs, those that we thought would support and join our efforts, those that were supposed to “publicly celebrate” our endeavors to make our campus a safe-haven for its students have become our oppressors. It lets me wondering who’s needs the strategic plan was supposed to satisfy, because clearly it is not the ones of the student body.
Thank you to all that showed their support, but our fight does not end there. Our fight encompasses a constant effort to expose systematic oppression on this campus in whatever form it takes, our fight is about showing our unwavering support for each other. To my fellow students of color: let us not succumb to the power, our foot’s in the door, it is time to be heard.
If we fight together we cannot be silenced.