On Thursday, students at The University of Southern Mississippi gathered at the fountain on campus to take a moment to observe recent events happening at the University of Missouri.
The picture and hashtag to spread awareness of the event, #SilenceForMizzou, was accompanied by a statement spreading through social media outlets such as Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to invite students to observe the moment.
“This is not a call for minority students,” the flyer said. “This is a call for all that recognize and are disturbed by the tragedy occurring.”
Over 60 students came to show support, and they observed a moment of silence lasting almost 20 minutes. Students held hands and closed their eyes during lunch to calmly observe and show support for the situation at Missouri.
“Being a black male at a predominantly white institution, you have to understand that the problems that arise at Missouri currently are problems that we as all black (students) on campus at predominantly
white institutions face on a daily basis,” said economics and political science double major Jaylen Hackett. “It’s something that is prevalent and needs to beaddressed.”
The Mizzou events have been centered around African-American students at the university feeling oppression and race-driven opposition from others in the community. With those events, several universities and communities around the nation have chosen to support and voice their opinions on the situation.
“It’s something that we need to stand in solidarity for to show that we are a unified student body and to show that we care about events and things that impact us personally,” Hackett said. “I hope to show that there is support and there (are) people behind what they are doing there.”
This demonstration can be compared to the protest of the Mississippi state flag, when certain students felt the need to voice their opinion.
“We understand what it means to be a minority on an institution that wasn’t created for you,” said senior English major Anika Butler. “However, integration happened years ago, so these students deserve to be treated fairly just like we’re treated fairly here at Southern Miss.”
At Southern Miss, African-Americans make up roughly 31 percent of the student body, according to Niche Social.
With the demonstration, students were able to show that they supported the Missouri community, black or not, all the way from Mississippi.
Students at Missouri first started their protests stemming from their calling for the removal of the president of the university system, Tim Wolfe. Wolfe stepped down from his position on Nov. 9 after three and a half years on the job, but protests have gotten out of hand. Racial events on campus, vandalism at their culture center and even a professor telling a journalist to leave a hunger strike, have all been corresponding events to the unrest on campus.
“It was just a time for us to come together and show the students at Mizzou that we care about them,” Butler said. “We still support them and care about them.”