It is great to read that Emily Larsen supports the decrease of student fees and tuition and that her interest in civic engagement at UNM was amplified through the OurUNM event last Wednesday. These types of reactions were a goal of the movement. However, we want to make things very clear for the UNM body and the Albuquerque community about the actual events that took place throughout the rally and march.
We do not appreciate being generalized as racists and full of hate when the event was inclusive of people of all backgrounds, education levels, races, ages, genders, majors, religions and so on and so forth. The whole event was completely peaceful and respectful. As an example, we were silent while marching through the SUB to respect the Nizhoni Days event that was occurring at the same time.
We did, in fact, lead a chant that stated “Education is a right, not just for the rich and white,” and we feel that we have the facts, provided by UNM itself, to back up this statement. In fact, the person who composed this chant was a white female. It is extremely clear that the system in place and the changes to scholarships, classes, tuition and other components of education are biased to benefit white, privileged students and ignore the educational access and needs of underrepresented populations, including poor whites.
OurUNM is seeking to address all issues that affect students, staff, faculty and community members, and all are welcome to join us. The issue of racism affects students, faculty, staff and community members at UNM, and we are simply stating the facts that there are groups of students on campus that benefit the most while everyone else is ignored. But our major points are about UNM creating accountability, inclusion and transparency. We disagree with Emily Larsen’s point about what will bring about a “peaceful society;” rather, we believe that we will have a peaceful society when institutionalized racism is abolished.