African-American students, SJSU and community organizations rallied and marched to the Tommie Smith and John Carlos Statue today as part of an annual Black Thursday event to celebrate African American culture and to inform of the lack of recognition of African-American culture on campus.
Students marched from the Campus Village Quad to the Smith and Carlos statues in silence as part of the demonstration.
Gary Daniels, junior political science major and president of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Incorporated said he organized the Black Thursday event and said “since I’ve been elected, I have tried to work with other student (organizations) so that we can properly advocate and serve our under served community.”
He said the black organizations started
meeting last semester, but they got to the point of wanting to rally because they saw all the negative treatment black students on campus through a lack of recognition of African-American culture and Black History Month and a publication in the Spartan Daily.
Pointing to a Feb. 22 Spartan Daily publication, he said the general opinion is “we don’t need to be recognized.”
Daniel Harris-Lucas, a junior public relations major, said he passed out articles at the rally for individuals to remember what was written.
“We simply just cannot sit here and just take it anymore,” Harris-Lucas said. “We simply cannot just be stagnate anymore while our culture is being disrespected, we can’t.”
Daniels said that some people at the rally may have gathered because of frustrations with the publication, but Black Thursday has been an event that has taken place on campus in previous years and the rally was planned prior to the publication.
Milan Balinton, representative of the African American Community Service Agency, 100 Black Men and Kappa Alpha Psi San Jose alumni chapter, said that as an alumnus, Black Thursday was around when he was a student and he encouraged other students to keep it going.
After the students marched to the statues, they gathered and listened to student leaders and community members who spoke of the Spartan Daily publication, African American culture and the need for Black History Month.
Using a megaphone, Balinton shouted,“You repeat after me: ‘I’m black and I’m proud,'” and students repeated, “‘I’m black and I’m proud.”
After planning the event Daniels said he was pleased to see so much unity within the African-American community on campus.
The event, lasting from 12:30 p.m. to 2 p.m., attracted over 100 students.
“I was really surprised at the turn out,” Daniels said.
Students clapped and shouted as they welcomed speakers to educate and encourage their fellow students.
Emerald Green, a senior child development major and president of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Incorporated, was among those who spoke to uplift the rally participants.
“People of color let me remind you that you are beautiful, that you are strong, you are resilient, despite what you may read or that you may see in the media, you are here, and you are here for a purpose,” said Green.