While the march was silent, UM gospel choir president Jarrius Adams’ voice was heard by many. Through the pouring rain, Adams led around 200 students and faculty in song and delivered a passionate speech.
“You see there is a difference in remembering your history and the reference of it,” Adams said. “It’s been a long winding road marked by tragedy but we cannot be afraid of the truth.”
Adams stood under the Confederate monument holding back tears as he addressed the diverse crowd of faculty and students clutching their umbrellas and belongings.
Marchers today held up signs that quietly expressed their views. Similar to protests led by civil rights leaders of the past, Adams says he doesn’t have to be loud to be heard.
“We let our actions speak louder than our words,” Adams said. “We don’t have to yell, right? We’re on the right side of history.”
Jonathan Lovelady, senior, was in attendance and echoes many of Adams’ sentiments.
“We have to continue the movement of trying to improve and do better by the university and most importantly the students, faculty and staff who come here every day,” Lovelady said.
The contextualization plaque in front of the statue says the monument is a reminder of the university’s past and its ongoing commitment to seek truth and knowledge. The statue is historical, but Adams and others say it does not belong in the heart of the campus.
“I don’t want to destroy the statue because I think the history is important. Although it wasn’t on the right side of my ancestor’s history and it was against my ancestors, I think it’s something we can learn from, but it belongs in an appropriate place.”
Story contributed by: Briana Florez – email@example.com, Skye Spiehler – firstname.lastname@example.org, and Jyesha Johnson – email@example.com