University of Vermont students raised a flag with the words “Black Lives Matter” emblazoned on it alongside the state flag and the American flag.
The new flag was hoisted up outside of the school’s Dudley H. Davis Center in Burlington, Vermont, according to The Huffington Post.
As with most race-related actions, the flag’s placement was both praised and criticized.
The university president, Tom Sullivan, approved the student-sponsored gesture; however, he clarified to local reporters that his approval does not constitute an endorsement from the university.
“I think given this particular time in the history of America, our students thought it was an appropriate time over the next couple of days to show their support for black communities in the United States,” Sullivan reportedly said.
The University of Vermont is a predominantly white institution, according to The Huffington Post, which makes the flag’s presence on campus that much more significant.
It shows that despite the black community being smaller, their issues are being recognized and supported by their peers and administration.
As images of the Black Lives Matter flag flying high next to the red, white, and blue began to circulate throughout social media, students and staff weighed in with their feelings toward the display which ranged from expressing pride to animosity.
“It makes it seem like UVM is paying attention to what’s happening in the nation,” said Tynesha McCullers, who is currently a teacher’s assistant for a course titled “The Political Economy of Race.”
“If anything, it’s definitely our students who are aware and willing to engage in dialogue,” she added.
McCullers is one of many who shared a powerful image of the flag in a Facebook post that garnered more than 8,000 reactions and 12,000 shares.
On Saturday night, someone tried to set back the progress the university made by stealing the flag, but a new one went up in its place the very next day.
“This action underscores the necessity in this country to engage in a frank and open discussion about the injustices that so many Americans face simply because of the color of their skin,” the university’s Student Government Association said of the missing flag in a Facebook post. “Too often we let ourselves become divided into categories — if you’re for something you must be against something else. It doesn’t need to be that way.”
In an action that displayed resilience, unity, and the power of humanity, students dressed in all black and held a peaceful rally outside the student center on Monday night.
There were reportedly about 600 people present offering their support for the flag.
Although that number only makes up a fraction of the school’s total enrollment — which exceeds 11,000 students — the images of their united front are powerful as they depict a diverse crowd rallying together in support of each other, serving as a representation of what our entire country should be.
Banner/Thumbnail Credits: Reuters