A huge “Defend Black Girls of Albany” rally took place after a trio of African-American women were assaulted by a white mob of about ten to 12 white students in a city bus near the University of Albany.
Protesters held aloft “Black Women Matter” signs during the rally.
The three women who were attacked spoke on stage in front of the large gathering held for the defense of other women like them. “...We are black women and no amount of hate will change that,” one of them stated firmly.
The women claimed that the encounter began off campus soon after midnight, with verbal exchanges after they boarded the bus. A group of 10-12 white men and women from their school attacked them following the arguments, according to the Times Union.
The women allege that they were beaten and called racial slurs, like “ni**er.” One woman told the university police that several men kicked her after she fell to the floor. They got off at the next campus stop and then went to Albany Medical Center to be evaluated.
Even though many students watched the attack unfold and recorded it on cell phones, nobody came forward to rescue or help.
At the start of this semester, the women who were assaulted were putting a “Black Women’s Club” together to organize rallies in favor of politically strong women of color, when this hateful racist scene took place. In fact, one of the victims was the vice president of the Black Women's Club.
There was a massive turnout at the #DefendBlackGirlsUAlbany Rally for social justice on Monday evening.
People were chanting “black girls matter” in chorus in front of the campus center.
University President Robert Jones sent out a statement in response to this incident saying he is deeply saddened. “There is no place in our community for violence, no place for racial intolerance and no place for gender violence.”
One of the women assaulted, Asha Burwell, shared her story on Twitter. Burwell says the bus driver also didn’t do anything to stop the beating, she tweeted, adding, "I can't believe I just experienced what it's like to be beaten because of the color of my skin."
I just got jumped on a bus while people hit us and called us the "n" word and NO ONE helped us.— Asha Burwell (@AshaBurwell) January 30, 2016
I can't believe I just experienced what it's like to be beaten because of the color of my skin.— Asha Burwell (@AshaBurwell) January 30, 2016
Called SUNY police and they didn't even seem concerned, just transferred us to Albany police who told us they should've helped— Asha Burwell (@AshaBurwell) January 30, 2016
I begged for people to help us and instead of help they told us to "shut he f*ck up" and continuously hit us in the head— Asha Burwell (@AshaBurwell) January 30, 2016
Campus community members and activists are showing their support for the three victims by using the hashtags #UAlbany #JusticeForUA, and #DefendBlackGirlsUAlbany. Burwell tweeted she appreciated the demand for justice and the support on social media, saying, “The amount of support we are getting from everyone means so much, and is the only thing keeping my spirits high right now” but at the same time also stated in her tweet that she won’t be able to get over it, “Idk if I'm ever going to be able to get over this experience.”