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Tuesday, September 21, 2021

#BlackUnderAttack

HANNAH LEE / AGGIE
HANNAH LEE / AGGIE

The Editorial Board stands in solidarity

We do not live in a post-racial society. On Monday, Feb. 15, at around 3 a.m., a female African American UC Davis student was assaulted near her home in the West Village apartment complex. The chancellor’s office issued a vague statement about the hate crime, focusing on the fact that the alleged perpetrators were not UC Davis students and using it as an opportunity to instead publicize their own Principles of Community Week event.

On Feb. 17, members of the Davis African Diaspora halted an ASUCD election debate to bring attention to the hate crime and demand action and accountability from the ASUCD candidates, noting that out of the 19 senate candidates and two executive office tickets running in the winter election, only one candidate had publicly spoken out about the incident.

On Feb. 22, members of the black community and their allies marched silently from the Memorial Union to Mrak Hall to protest the anti-blackness that pervades our campus. #BlackUnderAttack organizers held a press conference and read a list of demands that included: re-investing in emergency call boxes, improving lighting throughout the UC Davis campus as well as the city of Davis, increasing funding for transportation services such as Tipsy Taxi, SafeRide and Unitrans, a UC-wide policy addressing anti-blackness, a statement from West Village acknowledging the hate crime and re-visiting the previous demands made by the Black Student Union.

They gave the university until Feb. 29 to show that progress was being made toward fulfilling the demands. Chancellor Katehi then addressed the crowd, saying that an attack against a black student is an attack against the whole community and noting that the demands were reasonable and could probably be achieved.

The Editorial Board believes these demands are not only feasible, but crucial and necessary for improving the UC Davis campus environment. It is unacceptable that black students feel unsafe on their own campus. It is ridiculous that students pay thousands of dollars in tuition and are distracted from their education because they have to organize to protect their safety. We urge the administration to address these demands by Feb. 29.

On Feb. 23, Davis police were called in to the Davis Amtrak station regarding yet another hate crime. A 32-year old Ethiopian man stated that a white man kicked him and made racially derogatory comments toward him. Hate crimes like these do not only occur in conservative areas; they happen everywhere, including places like Davis, an arguably progressive town. And they will continue to happen as long as our society remains apathetic towards challenging anti-blackness.

We, the Editorial Board, stand in solidarity with the students of the UC Davis African Diaspora. We acknowledge that in the past, material published in The California Aggie may have contributed to anti-blackness and we recognize that we have much to improve on. We commend the organizers of the #BlackUnderAttack movement for their leadership, their commitment toward making Davis a safer environment for students and their bravery in challenging the status quo.

We do not live in a post-racial society  —  far from it.

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