Trinity Students Speaking Up, Walking Out to Show Solidarity with Campuses Across U.S.

Student-Organized Events Aim to Combat Intolerance, Promote Inclusion Through Talking, Listening

Hartford, Connecticut, November 18, 2015 – Trinity students organized two peaceful demonstrations in recent days to show their solidarity with students at Missouri and Yale universities and other schools around the nation where students have staged protests against racial and ethnic bigotry.

Students and other supporters stood arm-in-arm on the field during halftime of the Trinity Homecoming game to show solidarity. Photo by John Marinelli.​
During halftime at Trinity’s Homecoming football game against Wesleyan University on Saturday, November 14, students and other supporters walked onto the field, stood in a line with arms linked, and spoke out about promoting equity and solidarity for all. Students described incidents of racial insensitivity they have personally experienced, expressed gratitude to professors for their understanding and support, and invited the campus community to participate in a walkout event on Monday, November 16.

Monday’s noon walkout, part of the nationwide #WakeUpWorld movement in coordination with other college campuses, took place in the Washington Room in Mather Hall. A large crowd of students, faculty, and staff – including President Joanne Berger-Sweeney, deans and administrators – assembled for a frank and wide-ranging student-led discussion.

The campus community gathered in the Washington Room on November 16 for a discussion about discrimination and ways to eliminate it. Photos by Andrew J. Concatelli.

Student organizers handed out index cards, inviting everyone to write down examples of discrimination and intolerance they had experienced or witnessed, as well as to suggest ways to improve the campus community. A microphone was set up on a stand at the center of the gathering, and anyone who wanted to step forward was welcomed to do so. One by one, students shared emotional and sometimes painful stories, described examples of disrespect and bigotry, and talked about ways in which they had been affected by these incidents. A line of students eventually formed, with each waiting for a turn at the microphone during the forum that lasted more than two hours. Berger-Sweeney joined the line and waited her turn to share a story with the students, and to say that they all belong at Trinity.

The index cards that attendees filled out were collected by student organizers, who said they would share all of the stories and suggestions gathered with Berger-Sweeney.

Click here to view a video of the Homecoming halftime demonstration that was posted on YouTube by Professor Luis Figueroa-Martinez.

Written by Kathy Andrews