February 9, 2018
Your safety is canceled
This morning, President Ana Mari Cauce has asked students to stay away from the Patriot Prayer rally, sponsored by the University of Washington College Republicans (UWCR) and staged to occur at Red Square, UW, February 10th, from 8am to 5pm. Patriot Prayer, a right-wing group, frequently holds rallies in the Pacific Northwest with the intent of provoking strong reactions by counter protesters. Violence is often incited at these events. Due to the threat of violence, the main campus libraries will be closed, and events, such as the Everybody Every Body Fashion Show and the Young, Gifted, and Black conference for high school students, are canceled. By enabling this rally, UW is sending a message to its students: your safety, your body is less important than this event.
It is unacceptable that a Young, Gifted, and Black conference for high school students is being canceled due to threats of violence at the rally. Access to education is something that was denied to black students just generations ago. School systems are still segregated– even in progressive Seattle. Black bodies are under increasing threats of violence, aggression, harassment, and murder, which is why spaces for black students and other students of color are so important to protect and preserve.
Everybody Every Body, as stated in the email they sent to UW students, is an event that regularly draws around 500 people. Its goal is to open up a dialogue about identities, intersectionality, and bodies. It is peaceful and celebrates the beauty of diverse bodies.
Last year, University of Washington College Republicans (UWCR) sponsored an event featuring Milo Yiannopolous. At this event a man, one of the counter protesters, was shot in the stomach. The harm to his body ended with the blame, via an official statement from UWCR, being shifted onto him and the counter-protestors. “If you keep prodding the right you may be unpleasantly surprised what the outcome will be,” it said. While the UWCR have accused UW of “chilling, marginalizing, or banning the expression of conservative viewpoints,” the school is allowing yet another potentially violent rally to take place. In doing so, President Cauce and UW have succeeded in further marginalizing students of color.
We urge President Cauce and the administration to call an end to the rally. Risk being sued, UW – it’s worth protecting black spaces and lives.