Students Rally Against Racism

In response to recent incidents of racism on campus, about 200 undergraduates flocked to the Science Center lawn at noon yesterday to participate in the “Many Colors, One Harvard” rally.

The demonstration—which was sponsored by more than 40 Harvard student groups—was held partially as a show of solidarity following an incident on March 6 in which racist comments were scrawled on the walls of Lowell Grille after a graffiti-themed party that was hosted by the Harvard-Radcliffe Chinese Student Association.

As speakers blared music in the background, the multiracial crowd held up signs and banners with slogans such as “Silence is Unacceptable,” and “I skipped a midterm for this rally!”

The students—clad in crimson shirts to demonstrate solidarity—enthusiastically chanted, “How do we stand? United!”

The rally also included three brief speeches by Weijie Huang ’09, chair of the Phillips Brooks House Association Chinatown Committee; Andrea R. Flores ’10, president of the Undergraduate Council; and Edward Y. Lee ’08-09, co-director of the Harvard Undergraduates for Human Rights in North Korea.

Shortly after the discriminatory graffiti was first discovered, seven different Asian-American student organizations sent e-mails last Saturday night to gauge interest in holding a rally.

In less than a day, they had heard back from nearly 30 different student groups.

“It was sort of the incident that brought a lot of other incidents to the forefront,” CSA co-president Daniel C. Suo ’09 said in reference to the recent patterns of racism. “People kept pouring in stories.”

Flores said she was impressed by the inclusive response from Harvard’s Asian-American community.

“The community affected did not become more insular,” Flores said. “Even though this didn’t affect the black community or the Latino community, they recognized that this was all of our struggle.”

Flores also said that she realized the need for further action in order to maintain their “momentum.”

The groups involved in the rally are in the process of discussing a number of future events, such as tolerance workshops and performances that deal with discrimination, according to Lee.

“This was not a one-time event,” Lee said. “It is the beginning of a longer conversation.”

Suo said that he believes most student groups will rally behind a common cause.

“It just shows that each of these communities really understands the message we’re trying to propagate here,” he said.

—Staff writer Evan T. R. Rosenman can be reached at