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To Raise Awareness Of Racism, Protesters Sing Alternative Christmas Carols

Members of Eradicate Boston College Racism and supporters marched across BC’s campus on Friday afternoon, singing parodies of classic Christmas carols to promote racial equality. At the peak of the protest, there were 50 students singing.

Eradicate is a group composed of BC faculty, students and staff aiming to end racism at BC. The group has led several other initiatives this semester, including a demonstration at Ta-Nehisi Coates’s talk and the distribution of fliers reading “BC Silences Antiracism.” In response to the protests, the administration expressed its frustration with Eradicate’s unwillingness to work within the rules of the University. 

Friday’s event was the fourth day of Eradicate Boston College Racism’s Twelve Days of BC Racism campaign. Each day has a title—Friday’s was “Walking Through A White Man’s Wonderland.”

“We took the most direct route possible, just to show up to their door and hand them a list of demands. I don’t think we’ve done anything wrong.”

-Kwesi Aaron, MCAS ’16

In the first four days of its 12-day campaign, Eradicate held a question and answer panel and hosted an Alumni Giving Day, in which BC alumni donated over $1000 to the group.

“The alumni are refusing to donate to the University,” Bhattacharyya said. “Until they institute our demands with a financial plan and investment, they’re going to donate to Eradicate.”

Eradicate also hosted a giving day, where members of the group gave holiday gifts to faculty members who have served as their mentors and have stood up for University changes.

“Dear Trustees, are you listenin’? / A real plan you are missin’. / Until you agree, and change do we see, / We’re walkin’ through a white man’s wonderland,” the carolers sang.

Eradicate came up with the idea to carol at their monthly potluck dinner, and decided to run with it, Sriya Bhattacharyya, GLSOE ’16 and leader of Eradicate, said.

A group of Eradicate members came up with the lyrics for the carols. The students first tried to carol at the Board of Trustees’ lunch in Gasson, Bhattacharyya said. They were not permitted to enter the room, so they relocated to Gasson’s main atrium.

Eradicate also drafted a list of requests for the Board, labeled as a “wish list.” It asked that a faculty member of color, a staff member of color, and a student of color be added to the Board and be allowed to vote, Kwesi Aaron, MCAS ’16 and a member of Eradicate, said. This idea parallels what other universities, like Ithaca College, have implemented in recent months, according to materials disseminated by the group. The list also demands that the Board create a concrete plan to commit funds in the interest of diversifying faculty.

Eradicate asked the Board to hold an open forum where these demands can be followed up in a question-and-answer format. The group recognizes how difficult it is to speak directly to the Board, and they hope that a forum will facilitate dialogue between students and Board members. After previous failed attempts to work with the administration, Eradicate decided not to register the demonstration, Aaron said.

“We took the most direct route possible, just to show up to their door and hand them a list of demands,” Aaron said. “I don’t think we’ve done anything wrong.”

The group delivered its list of demands to Dean of Students Thomas Mogan, who said that he would distribute the list to the rest of the Board members, Bhattacharyya said.

Members of the administration were reached out to, but were unable to offer comment at this time.

“I hope that the issue of racial justice is more important than any sort of arbitrary procedure for the University, especially considering the national climate,” Aaron said.

The group decided to reach out to the Board because of the power that it holds in making financial decisions and budget plans, Bhattacharyya said.

“They are a group of people who really care about the University and care about its well-being, its image, its students,” Bhattacharyya said. “So we wanted them to know how students, faculty, and staff experience this campus so that they could do something to change it.”

Featured Image by Julia Hopkins / Heights Editor

December 4, 2015