by Oscar Garcia-Ruiz
At approximately 3 pm on November 6th, a post on Overheard at Yale incited a mass rally outside of a William F. Buckley conference on the freedom of the speech. The post states, “’Looking at the reaction to Erika Christakis’s email, you would have thought someone wiped out an entire Indian village!’” According that post, this “joke” was met with laughter.
Almost immediately, the Native American undergraduate community responded, mobilizing via GroupMe, and stood outside the doors of LC 102. Security guards and police officers stood outside every entrance, denying students of color for the the sake of “maintaining the peace. As POC began to crowd the hallways, some Native students, specifically Native women, spoke out against the remarks posted on Facebook.
With the company of Black, Latinx, Asian American, and other marginalized students, the Native women sang in unison, and their voices reverberated with the thunderous claps of those who stood in solidarity with them. They were exercising THEIR freedom to speech.
At one point an attendee of the conference exited the room and began arguing with the women of color in front of him. The exchange dissolved with the student attendees of the conference leaving in frustration.
After about half an hour, students continued crowding the hallways of LC, making posters, and lining up at every entrance to the building. As the conference ended, the attendees were met with POC gathered with posters which overwhelmingly beared the words “GENOCIDE IS NOT A JOKE.” Some ignored the chants and posters, and others arrogantly confronted the students, taking selfies with their posters held up high and laughing at their presence. The students responded with louder chants, crying for them to “walk away with their privilege.”
As the building emptied, the Native students stayed and reflected, thankful for the solidarity of other POC. Everyone present gathered in unison, chanting “We out here. We been here. We ain’t leaving. We are loved.”