“We are the ones we’ve been waiting for! We are the ones we’ve been waiting for!”
For years, this chant could be heard throughout the halls of Ithaca College as student activists began to stand against the institutionalized racism that permeates the walls. Protests for the racial equity at Ithaca College date back to 1964, when students joined in the first March on Washington. Another upsurge in protests for racial equity occurred in 2001, when students and faculty refused to attend classes on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. Today, demonstrations continue to demand racial equity.
Student activism is not new to Ithaca College, nor is this recent upsurge in activism an isolated incident. Students across the country are standing up against institutionalized racism and poor racial climates on campus. They demand better representation of themselves on campus, more faculty members of color, the resignation of campus presidents and more. When these demands are met, power is taken from the elite and put back into the hands of the people.
December 20, 2015, Generation Justice joined five students from Ithaca College, Occidental College, University of New Mexico and The New School to talk about their experiences in activism. In this special segment, Generation Justice’s producers, Roberta Rael and Christina Rodriguez created a space for collaboration.
Roberta Rael and Josh Horton hosted the show, which featured Luna Olavarría-Gallegos, Alma Olavarría-Gallegos, Haarika Reddy and Nicole Baty to join in discussion about experiences at three different schools across the country. Each student has different levels of involvement in the protests, but the experiences are eerily similar.
As racism and microaggressions persist, administrations continue to be unresponsive. Students refuse to fall into the silence. Instead, they are collaborating to make their voices stronger.