This morning, students with the We Are Done organization gathered in protest on campus at the Malone Hood Plaza and then marched to the steps of Gorgas library, where several students spoke at length and the protestors chanted for change.
The demonstration was held to promote changes on the issues of race, gender, sexuality, religion and socioeconomic status. We Are Done is also calling for the administration and the Board of Trustees to acknowledge the existence of the Machine and make strides to bring it above ground.
Some of the main goals for the group is to remove names of white supremacists and Confederate generals from University property, or at least erect markers denoting the racist history of the buildings’ namesakes.
“I really hope that people like President Bell and the Board of Trustees will see what we have done today and the amazing coalition that we have built and realize that this is not a single issue,” said A.J. James, a senior who spoke and led the chants. “This is an issue that affects a number of different people that come from a host of different backgrounds and identities.”
The issue of sexual assault was also an important aspect of the demonstration. One student recounted her experience of sexual assault on campus during her freshman year. She said she and her friend were assaulted after drinking with fraternity men they thought were their friends.
Student Jahman Hill gave several spoken word performances at both Malone Hood Plaza and on the steps of Gorgas. The first piece, which has a Greek title that translates to “May the Machine Rest in Peace,” was critical of the Machine and Greek life on campus.
“The secret society I know, got them some Greek roots,” Hill said. “Tends to run like a well-oiled Ma(cut off before saying machine). Tends to spell racism like Alpha Ch(cuts off). The society seems a little white washed. I mean, the whole organization seems a little white -washed.”
At the steps of Gorgas, students chanted for change, saying “What do we want? Justice! When do we want it? Now!” They also chanted, “No justice, no peace! Oppression must cease!”
After protesting finished, many of the students involved with the demonstration gathered in a prayer circle, praying for a change on campus.
The entire list of We Are Done’s demands for change on campus can be found on their Facebook page.
For more information on the campaign, see https://www.cw.ua.edu/article/2015/11/we-are-done-demands-equality-on-campus.