As a student activist on campus, I often pushed back against institutional and student-body racism in a way that left me feeling vulnerable and exposed throughout undergrad.
One evening I was walking down State St. and a group of intoxicated white men drove up in a car and screamed “you black nigger bitch! They then threw beer cans in my direction and I took off running and quickly ducked into a restaurant. I reported it to an administrator, but in a lot of ways I think I just accepted these incidents as part of being black and politically visible at Michigan.
Throughout my four years in Ann Arbor, I was constantly verbally assaulted and physically intimidated by other students in lecture halls and on the street. White students accused me of stealing the spot of their friends who weren’t accepted by the University, I was called a nigger more times than I can count, and by the end of my senior year, because of fear, I never walked around campus alone after sunset.
Of course, this is even more complicated by my multiple experiences of sexual assault while I was a student at Michigan. My identity as a black queer disabled woman from Detroit means that I can’t point to any moments in my life as simply being a result of my blackness, or womanhood or [fill in the blank].
I’m proud that today students across the country are not accepting these daily atrocities as status quo. I stand in solidarity with the students at Mizzou, and students across the country as they push to be a part of a campus community that is safe, loving and intellectually rigorous.