For the second time in the past week, a hate crime was committed against African-Americans. Keeping in mind the pre-civil rights movement reality of an America were lynching existed.
On Wednesday, May 31, a noose was found hanging at the National Museum of African American History and Culture. This was the second noose found in a week. The Friday before on May 26th, another noose was found hanging from a tree on the surrounding grounds. A noose is symbolic of the painful part of history in America, and a reminder to every African American of how not much has changed;A reminder that every day their lives are at danger.
The act of racism is “is a painful reminder of the challenges that African-Americans continue to face,” museum’s founding director Lonnie Bunch said. “The noose has long represented a deplorable act of cowardice and depravity — a symbol of extreme violence for African-Americans.” Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution stated in an email that they will not be intimidated, and that incidents like these are why their work is so important. Visitors were removed from the gallery so park police could remove the rope. The gallery was then reopened an hour later. This is not the first report of blatant hatred and overt racism found.
On April 27th, a noose was found in the Phi Kappa Tau fraternity house of the University of Maryland. The noose was hanging in the kitchen of the frat row house. The Director of of the Department of Fraternity and Sorority Life at the university, Matt Supple sent out an email on the incident stating “This is a diverse organization whose members are deeply impacted by this event; a chapter that has demonstrated a commitment to creating an inclusive environment within their chapter and a safe space for the many men of color in their membership.” University of Maryland president Wallace Loh stated that the university stands united against bigotry. The next level of racist violence then hit UMD when 23 year old Richard Collins III was murdered by a white student who engaged in a racist online community. UMD was not alone in this act of violence.
American University was also targeted in May. On May 1st, images circulated social media; bananas hanging from nooses with words such as “Harambe” (a silverback gorilla killed last year) and “AKA” written on them. AKA is believed to represent Alpha Kappa Alpha, the predominantly African American sorority on campus. The symbols of hate were found in three locations: near the Mary Graydon Center, lose by the East Quad building and at the shuttle bus stop outside Letts-Anderson Hall. The interim Vice President of Campus Life Fanta Aw stated in a memo to e University Community that “These racist, hateful messages have no place in our community… The safety of our students is paramount.”
One thing is clear; through all of these racist attacks, the community affected comes back stronger.
On June 1st, Smithsonian employees gathered outside the Nation Museum of African American History and Culture in an act of defiance against the hatred. The group blasted social media with pictures and tweets of “we are not afraid!”
Cowards will hide and use threats and acts of hatred. The strong will stand strong and face the injustice.
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