by Jerika L.H
Local students have rallied under the hashtag #BlackUnderAttack to express frustration and mobilize amidst yet another hate crime in Davis. Unfortunately, this incident is far from being an isolated crime. Actions of hatred and violence against people of color have risen to become a common occurrence in Yolo County, with little being done to protect victims and communities.
While UC Davis boasts about the diversity of their campus, only 3% of UC Davis students identify as African American. This falls seriously short of the national average.
Uniting under the #BlackUnderAttack hashtag, students shared both their anger and empowerment, as well as recounted personal stories of racism in Davis. “Anti-Blackness pervades every aspect of this society, including academia. ‘#BlackUnderAttack’ is the movement to fight against anti-blackness.”
This is a stark reminder for those in the community who have the privilege to feel that racism is something that happens elsewhere – not in Davis. Yet, racism is a reality for countless students of color. In fact, for years students have voiced concerns over not feeling safe on campus and are now looking to their community after these concerns have fallen on deaf ears.
Instead of waiting for action by the UCD Student Senate, the Davis African Diaspora made their voices known during yesterday’s Senate meeting. “It is your obligation to hear the concerns of every student and take action. Improving the experience here at Davis must start with involved students. It is your obligation to serve every community, even the communities you may not belong to. I need you all to stand with us Black students. Us Black Students are under attack!”
The UCD Senate, as well as the campus administration, has been long criticized for not doing enough to ensure that Davis is a safe space for students of color. Chancellor Katehi’s mass campus community email fell desperately short of that to some.
Her statement showcases the exact denial of real racism that is present in the Davis Community. The re-invoking of the “us and them” rhetoric – the claim that students should not worry because the perpetrators were from Sacramento, not one of our own – does not do justice to the daily struggle of Black students in our community.
While she purports that this act of hate will “further advance dialogue,” one must ask oneself how much more violence needs to occur before action and not just dialogue is taken. Davis has a long history of dialogue. It also has a long history of racism. #BlackUnderAttack is stepping in where many have failed. “We are a movement that serves to make real change. We are tired. We are determined. We want results. We are acting. Stand with us.”