An Interview With Afua Laast, BC Solidarity Blackout Organizer

Following the solidarity blackout in support of the protesters at the University of Missouri, that occurred Thursday Nov. 12 on BC’s campus, organizer Afua Laast, LSOE ’16, agreed to answer questions regarding the organization of the demonstration.

The event came in the wake of the resignations of both Tim Wolfe, the University of Missouri’s president, and R. Bowen Loftin, the chancellor of the flagship campus at Missouri, and was one of many that have occurred on college campuses across the US.  The blackout demonstrated BC’s endeavor to tackle institutional racism on its own campus.

Tori Fisher / Gavel Media

Tori Fisher / Gavel Media

What do you hope that the BC administration will take away from this demonstration?

“I hope BC Admin as well as the general BC community realizes that even though the event was to stand in solidarity with Mizzou, BC students are also hurting on this campus and want to see a change.  Change comes in many ways, and today's audience showed how many people care from all walks of life.  We want to make a change, and we want to work with faculty, administration and students to change the campus culture; no one should feel as though BC is not a welcoming place for them.”

What do you hope the BC student body will take away?

“For students of color, that they are not alone, there is support.  To the general BC body to not see the events on other campuses as something over there, BC may not be in the spotlight, but we should not wait for something tragic to happen before we act.  Being proactive is very important, and hopefully the demonstration allowed students to enter into conversations about BC's racial climate.”

Can you talk a little bit about the events that occurred at the University of Missouri, and why they are events that are relevant to all American universities?

“The events at Mizzou are relevant to all American universities because students are simply asking to be welcomed on campus.  Being told that you were accepted because of affirmative action or that you are attractive for a Black person is hurtful in academic as well as social spaces.  It is important that across the nation we acknowledge that a very small percentage of POC are visible, which is damaging to everyone, because it limits our view of the world by giving us a single story.”

Do you feel like [the event getting registered] indicates a step forward for BC?

“I think by the admin approving the permit they are showing that they do want to engage in dialogue and acknowledge the pain of students, in an effort to achieve actionable steps that will lead to an improved campus culture and academic environment for all.”

To learn more about BC's demonstration, as well as the protests that have been occurring at the University of Missouri, read the Gavel's report.

Espresso enthusiast and amateur bike mechanic. Enjoys long shoegaze dream sessions and short walks to the local organic grocery store. Most likely working on a postmodern bildungsroman set in the Pacific Northwest.