“What do we want? Justice! When do we want it? Now!”
Marching across campus, holding signs condemning hate speech and chanting in unison, nearly 100 student demonstrators denounced racist graffiti found in a men’s restroom in Cowell College on Cinco de Mayo.
A photo of the graffiti posted on the UC Santa Cruz ethnic and critical race studies Tumblr account shows the image of the graffiti in its entirety, which reads: “STOP the invasion kill a Mexican!”
This latest incident comes after the discovery of swastika graffiti — which contained a threat of violence on 4/20 — in March, as well as the images of nooses drawn in restrooms on campus last year.
“This is bigger than just this incident,” said fourth-year Frank Bejarano, who was demonstrating with the crowd today. “It is sad that we have to do this. For us to be in the higher institutions and have to deal with this – it angers us.” Bejarano is the internal affairs officer for the UCSC chapter of Movimiento Estudiantil Chicana y Chicano de Aztlan, a student organization promoting the values of the Chicano movement.
In calling attention to the instances of hate speech across the UC recently, the demonstration underscored the imperativeness of supporting programs on campus that encourage ethnic diversity as well as the incorporation of an ethnic studies major.
“Without those programs, this campus would be entirely white,” said a co-chair of Engaging Education to the crowd gathered in front of the Cowell/Stevenson dining hall.
The demonstration began at Kerr Hall, where students tried to meet with Chancellor George Blumenthal, before moving across campus onto a knoll in Cowell College and eventually into the Cowell/Stevenson dining hall.
Several Cowell students leaned out of their windows and balconies as Cowell College provost Faye Crosby approached the demonstrators atop the knoll and spoke though a megaphone.
“It diminishes our community,” Crosby said regarding hate speech and racism on UCSC’s campus. “We need to be united and respectful of all members of our community.”