By Andrea Asuaje and Brandon Lewis
BU News Service
TeAndrea Jackson planned Friday afternoon’s blackout rally in two days. After so much racial turmoil, she said she felt compelled to act.
She, along with hundreds of other students and community activists, streamed down Commonwealth Avenue, arm in arm, dressed in all black. They chanted,”What do we want? Justice! When do we want it? Now!” to show solidarity with the students of the University of Missouri, where student-led demonstrations regarding racial tensions have led to the resignation of the school’s president this week. Similar rallies were held at college campuses nationwide.
Jackson, who said she was inspired to plan the demonstration after attending rallies and lectures about the shootings in Charleston and Baltimore, said she was “astounded” by the number of people who attended the rally. She estimated the number of attendees was about 1,000.
“It was all Facebook and word of mouth,” said Jackson, a junior at Boston University.
“Here we stand, as beacons of hope and heralds of change, no matter how eventual,” Jackson said in a speech to the crowd.
She said the purpose of the rally was to show the students of Mizzou, along with students at Harvard, Yale and Howard University, that the Boston University community supports their cause.
“We were out here and we care,” she said.
As Jackson wrapped up her speech, she implored the allies of people of color to be more vocal in their support. She said she, along with other black students, should no longer feel threatened or ashamed.
“No more will we apologize for being black. No longer will we apologize for being colored folks. We live here. We matter,” Jackson said.
Max Gonzalez, a BU senior studying history, said seeing the large crowd standing as one against racism could be a “wake-up call” to the community at large.
“This showed that this is a common sentiment with people on campus,” Gonzalez said. “The university needs to pay attention.”
Freshman Telvin Bryant agreed with Gonzalez, adding that he was “overwhelmed” by the number of people of all races and ethnicities who attended the rally to show support.
“I’m glad to see people actually taking action,” Bryant said. “I hope that the black students on campus show that we won’t stand for this.”