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The Battalion

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NAACP event aims to shed light on campus social issues

NAACP+Event
Photo by Photo by: Morgan Engel
NAACP Event

The Texas A&M chapter of the NAACP took to Rudder Plaza Friday afternoon in an effort to encourage students to share experiences of racism and discrimination on campus.

The demonstration, called “#MoveInSilence,” was organized in an effort to urge university administration not to view the Feb. 9 incident — in which a group of touring high school students were reportedly the victims of racial slurs — as an isolated  one, and to take action. The event occurred from 2 p.m to 5 p.m. in Rudder Plaza as a part of NAACP week, a week-long series of events that aims to promote the organization and shed light on social issues.

Three tables with different activities, including areas for students to share their personal experiences with racism on campus, register to vote, and share opinions on how the university is handling campus climate concerns, were placed around Rudder Plaza. Kendal Gallimore, business management junior and president of the Texas A&M chapter of the NAACP, said the scope of the event changed in response to a campus-wide email from A&M President Michael Young sent on March 2.

“We were going to have a petition going around describing the different demands we had for [Young] to address,” Gallimore said. “But, considering that he released his email with a lot of the different demands that we had on that petition and sort of the reason we wanted to do that demonstration, we more so wanted to switch the conversation … It’s more so to come together as an Aggie community to share those different experiences.”

Young’s email addressed the Feb. 9 incident with a proactive stance. In the email, after describing the results of the investigation of the incident, Young promised to make changes to campus climate.

“I am engaging university and community leaders, including faculty administrators, staff, and students, in a ‘call to action’ to review current initiatives and measures and to propose new ones, in areas such as recruitment, retention, climate assessment and course and curricular change,” Young said in the email.

Although not officially a part of the event, several student organizations came to show their support. A new student organization, called Texas A&M University Anti-Racism, set up a table where students could sign up for access to a document where they could share their experiences with racism anonymously. The organization plans to post the responses around campus to spread awareness on the situations minority students have faced.

“We’re sending out newsletters with examples of these acts of racism so people know this is happening, and its not just on the surface,” said Christelle Tambwe, a women and gender studies junior and member of TAMU Anti-Racism.

The History Student Graduate Organization also attended the event. David Cameron, a member of the organization and history graduate student, said HGSO members are concerned with racial incidents on campus and came to get students involved.

“I want people to understand that this isn’t something that students of color have the responsibility to demonstrate to everyone else. Racism is our problem; we’re the one’s who are doing it,” Cameron said. “White students and white staff and white faculty need to be a part of making a difference.”

Gallimore said the NAACP wants to encourage students to make a change.

“We want to ensure that peoples’ voices are still heard,” Gallimore said

“#MoveInSilence” is a part of NAACP week. Upcoming events in NAACP week include a community service event with Adopt A Street Saturday at 10 a.m. and a church service at Great Faith Fellowship Baptist Church Sunday at 11:25 a.m.

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    Photo by Photo by: Morgan Engel
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    Photo by Photo by: Morgan Engel
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