Students and Hamilton Residents Join Black Lives Matter Protest And Celebrate Election Results

As part of the Hamilton Area Anti-Racism Coalition’s (HAARC) weekly Saturday Black Lives Matter protest, Colgate students and local residents also celebrated President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris. Protestors gathered on the Hamilton Village Green and stood on the corner of Madison street and Payne street with signs and posters on Saturday, Nov. 14. Cars that drove by honked in solidarity with the protest. 

Formed in 2018, HAARC’s aim is “to disrupt white supremacy and build an equitable and just community through dialogue, action and education,” according to the University’s website. 

“The goal of being out here is visibility,” co-founder of HAARC Julie Carlson said. “We feel like it’s really important to show up for BIPOC people in the community and everywhere that we, white people in particular, are standing up saying Black Lives Matter.”

The protests have been happening every Saturday for the past few months, according to Carlson. Around 11:30 a.m. during the protest this Saturday, protesters found out about the election results and celebrated the Biden and Harris win, according to HAARC Planning Committee member John Bailey. 

“It is going to be a long haul to change systemic racism in this country, but at least we now have people at the top who understand that and believe that,” Bailey said. “The fact that Kamala Harris is now the second most powerful person in the country, as a person of color, South Asian and Black woman.”

The M&M press, a local commercial printing company in Hamilton, printed free posters that read “Black Lives Matter” for participants to hold during the protest. Students and locals also had homemade signs and posters, including signs that read “It’s a privilege to learn about systemic racism instead of experiencing it everyday,” and “You can choose to ignore systemic racism, but never again can you say you didn’t know.”

Junior Jenny Steele said she had been attending weekly HAARC protests since September, when the Black Lives Matter protests were centered around police brutality resulting in the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade and many others.

“Originally these were scheduled for just before the election, but this isn’t an issue that is going to be solved by the election,” Steele said. “Electing Joe Biden is the first step, but definitely not the last step. Coming out today and the last few weeks, we have to keep bringing up these issues and talking about them.”

Towards the end of the protest, Bailey gave a speech to protestors about the magnitude of this election. He ended his speech by listing off the many failures of Donald Trump’s presidency and his policies. 

“Students have really showed up, and it has been fantastic to develop relationships. Kudos to the students, and it has been fantastic to have them participate in this,” Carlson said. “I want my community to be better. I want us to do better. There is so much healing that needs to happen.”