A silent protest was held in Schott Dining Hall two weeks ago to raise awareness about lingering racial issues on campus. It was organized by John Carroll African-American Alliance (AAA) secretary and sophomore, Brittany Kincaid. She organized this passive demonstration for one of her classes with the support of her fellow AAA members. She hopes the demonstration will have powerful implications.
Freshman Antone’a Taylor was sitting in the dining hall when she was approached by a member of the AAA and asked if she wanted to participate in a protest. “This was pretty random for me because I had never been previously involved,” she said. But I thought, ‘Okay, I’ll do it,’ and went over to a table that they had set up to see what the protest was about. They had these large cards with certain words, like racial slurs that have been said on campus to African-Americans, because, apparently, there’s still racism going on around John Carroll and they wanted to protest that.”
Taylor explained that a few people from the African-American Alliance, as well as others like her, held up cards silently in the cafeteria. The cafeteria got pretty quiet as people started reading the cards and after a few minutes of holding up the cards and everyone saw them, then, the protest was over.
The reasoning behind the protest was to raise awareness about racism, because some people act like it is not still a problem.
I hope it was impactful on the students who saw it,” Taylor added. “One of my friends on campus did text me later that day; she said, ‘Hey, I saw you doing that silent protest thing in the cafeteria. I’m proud of you for getting involved at school and taking a stand for something.’ So that told me that people had actually noticed what we did.”
Taylor continued, “I don’t know how big of an impact the demonstration made. I feel like it will take more than just one little random silent protest in the cafeteria to really change people’s minds about racism, but at least it was a step in the right direction.”
Mercedes Lewis, current President of the AAA, writes that the purpose of the group is to “promote the recognition and involvement of African-American students, students of African descent and students of other ethnicities at the University.
“We intend to create a strong voice on campus and to make an impact on students’ decisions with regards to the JCU Community.” Lewis, although absent from the cafeteria protest, says she was aware that it was going to take place.
The AAA meets Wednesdays at 7:30 p.m. in the Murphy residence hall basement, and discusses the complexities of racial issues affecting John Carroll’s black community and how to best address them.