Nobody took us seriously when we held the Abolish Columbus Day march in fall of 2014. But then we got a resolution passed in spring of 2015 through ASUNM calling for the celebration of Indigenous Peoples’ Day of Resistance and Resilience, and yet we did not see any action from any UNM Admins or Regents.

And then we held a march and rally with over 1,300 people in downtown Albuquerque, again calling for Columbus Day to be abolished, and this time our efforts paid off as now the City of Albuquerque officially celebrates Indigenous People’s Day.

We are living in an era where millions of people in the United States are renouncing the excesses of capitalist exploitation and embracing socialism and socialist candidates for President, like Bernie Sanders, a Democrat, or Gloria La Riva with the Party for Socialism and Liberation. And people are not doing this because they are misinformed or uneducated. People are feeling the pain and agony of corporate greed that is leaving many unemployed, many without access to education and healthcare, and many are ready to build a better and more equitable system that works for all of us and not just the one percent.

The campaign to #AbolishTheRacistSeal has 11 very clear demands and these are tied into broader and larger notions of what justice and liberation look like, and all of us who believe in things like common decency and equality should embrace this campaign. We should embrace the upholding of treaty rights that ensures education for all Native Americans, we should embrace the abolition of racist imagery to ensure that all are welcome and we should embrace the growth and development of UNM through initiatives like constructing a new Native Cultural Center, hiring more faculty of color and celebrating Indigenous People’s Day of Resistance and Resilience. These are all initiatives that would place UNM at the forefront of the 21st century instead of in the backwoods of 19th-century colonialism.

Just like we fight to end sexual assault on campus, and we supported the departmentalization of Chicano/a Studies, and we call for divestment from companies that profit from the Zionist occupation of Palestine, and we stood with UNM medical students calling for single payer healthcare, and we have stood with workers calling for $15/hour minimum wage, and we stand with the Black Student Union to ensure that Black students are heard and supported. We also stand very closely with the Kiva Club and the Red Nation.

I think most people take us seriously now as we continue to struggle to change the whole power structure of the University so that it serves all of us, and it serves the interests of the working class as a whole; white, black, brown, and Native.

As we have stated in the past, all are welcome to join this struggle.

It is never too late to be on the right side of history ... until it is.

Abolish the Racist Seal! Refugees, Muslims and Immigrants Welcome! UNM DIVEST! End Sexual and Gendered Violence! Free Education For All! Fight for 15!


Michael Butler

Former UNM student with

Red Student Faction UNM