Aftershocks of anger over conservative author David Horowitz’ Tuesday night lecture on campus prompted more than 100 students of various minority students groups and Greek houses to rally in front of the Michigan Union yesterday afternoon.
Horowitz commented against black slave reparations and described leftist groups as “people who think corporations are the enemies and al-Qaida could be our friend.”
“We are here to show a united front against ignorance. It’s important to show that the kind of ignorant attitude (seen in Horowitz’s lecture) will not be tolerated,” said Engineering junior Adrian Reynolds, president of the National Pan-Hellenic Council.
LSA sophomore Brandid Taylor agreed with Reynolds, adding, “This rally is a significant step to let people know that the students of color have allies and that his view is not the only view.”
The rally began at 1 p.m. on the front steps of the Michigan Union with an opening speech by Reynolds. Afterward, anyone wishing to speak was invited to talk to the crowd.
“We are here to let everyone know that we are not going to disappear just because you call us niggers. Actually that’s going to make us more in your face,” said Panther McAllister, an LSA senior, in reference to the racial slurs recently written in Couzens Residence Hall and on the Diag.
Sidney Bailey, an Engineering junior and member of Omega Psi Phi, emphasized the importance of education. “How many of you have read the books he mentioned? How many of you recognize the people he mentioned last night?” Bailey asked the students.
“The point is you can’t combat something like this unless you are educated. I want to challenge you to read the authors Horowitz mentioned and realize that history can be twisted and torn up. Without education, you can’t say anything about it. Know what you are struggling for. If you don’t, then there is not point of standing out here,” he said.
Among many attendees was Troy Patterson, a 57-year-old Ann Arbor resident who said he recently retired from General Motors.
“I’ve been here all my life and students have always been going through racism and prejudice,” Patterson said. “I am gonna be here with you all.”
Patterson added that unity within the United States is extremely important, especially during the time of war against terrorism and encouraged students of color to unite not just within themselves but with others as well.
“Right now we are weak on the inside. If blacks and whites don’t come together, we will get destroyed within. We need to be united inside to fight terrorism outside,” Patterson said.
Other speakers encouraged students to “keep their heads up high” and to “let the community know that black students have a voice too” by writing to student and local newspapers and by engaging in more discussions with classmates, professors and even those who hold the opposing views.
The rally closed out with a chant “I am black and I am proud! Say it loud!” which was led by RC sophomore Abdul Lediju, a member of Alpha Phi Alpha.