Image Credit: Art by Aarti Itikirala for Black Terps Matter
The year 2020 has been riddled with wildfires, hurricanes, celebrity deaths and a major global pandemic, but none of these things has halted the fight for racial equality.
After the death of George Floyd, a 46-year-old Black man who lived in Minnesota, at the hands of the police, the fight for racial equality exploded into what now may be “the largest movement in US history,” according to the New York Times.
Floyd’s death led to global attention for the Black Lives Matter movement.
Protests have now occurred in all 50 states and on every continent except Antarctica. The movement continues to grow and gain support, and now with school back in session, many University of Maryland students are looking to support the movement on campus.
UMD President Darryl Pines released a statement on Aug. 27 stating that “we fight two pandemics - COVID-19 and racial injustice.”
One UMD student-run organization, Black Terps Matter, is doing whatever they can to fight for Black lives on campus. Black Terps Matter is focused on showing the UMD community that “Black people deserve, period. It’s not that they deserve things, they deserve better, they just deserve,” says Saba Tshibaka, a senior philosophy, politics and economics major at UMD.
The group is run and organized by three seniors at UMD: Tshibaka; Nadia Owusu, a government and politics and public leadership major; and Alysa Conway, a government and politics and Public Policy Major.
“I love the fact that the three organizers are black women,” stated Tshibaka.
Black Terps Matter sends out a monthly action plan to those who subscribe to their website, which includes eight ways that students can support the movement. Students can also read the list of demands Black Terps Matter has released and send emails to the UMD administration urging them to read and consider the demands.
Tshibaka said Black Terps Matter is “a platform to congregate the information about the issues in the Black community.”
According to Communications Officer for the Office of Diversity and Inclusion at UMD, Allison Dickinson, “there are all kinds of ways to be more active in local and national activism both with an organization and on your own.”
Supporting the movement does not always mean going out and protesting. Students at home can educate themselves, send emails, participate in the Office of Diversity and Inclusion’s anti-racism campaign #UMDsolidarity, go to virtual meetings for on-campus organizations or learn more about social justice with the Office of Multicultural Involvement and Community Advocacy at their virtual advocacy and support sessions.
Students play a crucial role in the development and pursuit of the Black Lives Matter movement. Whether at UMD or in your hometown, there are ways for every single terp to get involved and make a difference.