Beyond the headlines
He stood next to the podium with his hands behind his back in the most humbling manner. Old friends hurried his way to congratulate him and tell them how proud they were of him for all that he has accomplished. He’s seemingly familiar, not solely because he was in the center of media attention that led to the resignation of the University of Missouri’s chancellor. But perhaps what’s most familiar about him is that he’s himself — a normal college kid, wearing Adidas shoes, quoting popular songs and playing with his iPhone, dealing with the same problems most of us go through. This is important because it shows that it can be any of us who, in Jonathan Butler’s terms, “are willing to fight for liberation.”
That was the big question of the discussion, in fact. What are you willing to do for complete liberation? It’s been some months since I made a blog post pledging my stance with Butler and other University of Missouri student’s reformation group #ConcernedStudent1950. I was overtly excited when I read in the UIC newspaper that he was going to be featured for a Black History Month event. Jonathan brought up some insightful and interesting points throughout his discussion, which took place in the Illinois Room Feb. 18.
He first noted that he noticed UIC is way more diverse than University of Missouri’s campus, which is something that our school prides itself in. Yet, when Butler asked the audience if they ever feel racial tensions despite having a diverse campus, an audience member replied with “our city is segregated.” It’s true, the first stop on the Red Line is drastically different than the last stop, in terms of social class and race. It’s something young Chicagoans have been fighting over for years now. Butler responded by saying that what we’re facing, as people of color, has become invisible. “Instead of being bound by shackles, we’re bound by society,” he added. Essentially, there has been a psychological bound created against people of color. Divide and conquer comes into play thus doing so. Butler exclaimed that it’s time for us to stop being lazy as a generation and what we’re doing now won’t be enough until we’re all free from oppression.
What are the consequences of your silence?
Bernie Williams is a junior majoring in English with a concentration in media, cultural and rhetoric studies. She hopes to practice and master an assortment of mediums, including screenwriting, writing for the New York Times, lifestyle blogging, fiction and radio broadcasting. Bernie has a passion for creating and sharing stories. The heightened diversity of the city atmosphere surrounding UIC is perfect for her. Bernie’s side hobbies are indulging in TV shows (specifically Scandal, Girls and Law and Order: SVU), interior design and Instagram.