Students from organizations across the University of Connecticut united to show their support for intersectional movements on campus at a rally on the Student Union Terrace on Tuesday.
The march was coordinated by UConn Coalition for Collaborative Organizing (UCCO), the UConn chapter of the NAACP and the UConn chapter of Fridays for Future.
The event began at noon with a crowd of roughly 100 students marching down Fairfield Way and chanting before reconvening at the Union Terrace for speeches by representatives from groups across campus.
One such speech was given by Jordan McMillan, a sociology graduate student and president of the Graduate Employee Union. McMillan said she was attending the event to stand in solidarity with all of the movements occurring on campus, and to represent the Graduate Employee Union’s support of the event.
“I am presenting a statement from the executive board of the Graduate Employee Union citing our support for the event, and our commitment to each of the issues that are being brought forward: Women’s rights, gender and sexual-based violence, the environment movement, social justice and racial justice,” McMillan said. “Personally, as an activist, these things are all very important to me and have been for a very long time.”
Walter Dodson, a seventh-semester political science major and chief of staff to the Undergraduate Student Government president, echoed that sentiment. Dodson was at the event with USG, which was serving hot chocolate to the students marching.
“Acknowledging and checking my own privilege, the reason I am here is to show support for my friends and my fellow Huskies who are in those affected communities. The way I see it, an attack on one of us is an attack on all of us.” Dodson said. “It doesn’t end here. There’s more that has to be done.”
Dodson said UConn’s administrators need to realize that this movement isn’t going away.
“Brushing it under the rug isn’t going to make students stop — students want to be heard,” Dodson said. “Until we are heard, we won’t stop.”
The event finished with another march down Fairfield Way. In addition to the three main organizing groups, students also attended as members of Youth for Socialist Action, UConn’s chapter of the Public Interest Research Group, Young Democratic Socialists of America, the Student/Farmworker Alliance, Revolution Against Rape and representatives from UConn’s cultural centers.
Lead march organizer Kat Morris, a seventh-semester cognitive science and anthropology major and president and founder of UCCO, explained that she began the march to promote collaboration between the major movements on campus.
“For me, intersectionality is key. That’s everything to me,” Morris said. “It’s really why I founded [UCCO]: To make sure that there’s more solidarity among movements on campus. I was like, we have these three primary movements on campus that are all intricately interwoven, very much intersectional, very much rooted within each other. There needs to be a demonstration for them to get together.”
As for what she wants to come of the rally, Morris said that she’d like people to integrate the lessons from the event into her everyday life.
“I want the energy from this movement and from the words that were spoken tonight to become very deeply vested in people’s hearts, so it permeates through their behavior every day,” Morris said. “Not just when something happens, not just to be reactionary, but to be proactive.”
Morris said the overall goal is to shift cultures through narratives, connection and action.
“I want all of this energy to be poured into those avenues of activism,” Morris said. “You can be an activist in your everyday life just by being a loving, wholesome and empathetic human being.”
Photos by Erin Knapp / The Daily Campus
Grace McFadden is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.