An Open Letter to Mayor Drew

To Dan Drew, the Mayor of Middletown:

photo by Jacob Seltzer '17

photo by Jacob Seltzer ’17

It has now been a week since forty of my classmates organized the Wesleyan Black Lives Matter March. This weekend, we found out that you are asking Wesleyan to pay $7,492.81 to the City of Middletown. According to the Hartford Courant, this money is needed to pay forty-six additional officers, who were asked to work that day to protect the demonstrators.

I’m a little concerned, Mayor Drew. I’m afraid that no one ever told you exactly what these protests were about. Perhaps it’s because while you were at the protests, you stood alone, away from the crowd, among several Middletown Police Officers. Was it hard to hear 300 or more voices chanting “Black Life Matters?” from your spot? Were you having trouble making out the phrase “What do we want? Justice? When do we want it? Now!”

Photo by Dat Vu '15

Photo by Dat Vu ’15

In case you forgot, Mayor Drew, these protests were organized in solidarity with the national movement against police brutality. Eric Garner and Michael Brown are some of the most recent and high-profile victims of police brutality, but black women also suffer disproportionately at the hands of police.

My classmates intended to peacefully criticize the national law enforcement system, and implicitly, the Middletown police, who are part of that larger system. In fact, a black man died at the hands of Middletown police in 2010. It is the job of police in this country to protect black life, not to murder unarmed black citizens. The Middletown Police did protect black life in Middletown last Monday, but let it be known that as of Monday morning, they were still deciding if they would do so or not.

Yes, Middletown Police tried to dissuade the organizers of the protest from staging the die-in because it would have been too inconvenient for them. You know what’s really inconvenient? Knowing that your basic rights to life, liberty and happiness could be taken away without warning by a person in blue with a gun, and that even if your murder was captured on video, a jury could find your murderer not guilty. I was unaware that it was necessary to pay the police to respect our basic human rights while protesting the gross violation of those rights.

 

Photo by Dat Vu '15

Photo by Dat Vu ’15

A black person is killed every 28 hours by police or vigilantes. Why in the world would the organizers of this march make things easier for the people who represent the institution that robs their brothers and sisters of their lives every 28 hours? I understand that the Middletown Police Officers are not Darren Wilson or Daniel Pantaleo, but they are part of a system that has historically disrespected the rights of black citizens.

Also, how long and how hard did the police really have to work? Middletown Police acknowledged in their press release that the die-in lasted approximately eleven minutes. The Middletown Press estimates that the entire demonstration downtown lasted 15 minutes. Multiple media outlets have characterized the protests as “peaceful,” and the Middletown Police department also acknowledged how respectful the demonstrators were. If Middletown Police had to put in an extra hour or two to make things a little easier for a nonviolent group of protestors, who did not damage public property, cause major traffic problems, or deprive the city of a significant amount of revenue, I think that is a small sacrifice that is well worth it.

photo by Jacob Seltzer '17

photo by Jacob Seltzer ’17

I’m certain you weren’t in Exley Science Center as we started the protest, so let me fill in you in on what happened. One organizer inspired the crowd with the statement “Ferguson is Middletown. Middletown is Ferguson.” She pointed out that the personal is political and the national is local. As concerned citizens, we must protest injustice in this country and point out the larger systems of oppressions that affect our local communities. The students took what they learned from Wesleyan about systematic oppression, institutional racism, and the power of peaceful protest, and applied it to their local community.

I know that this protest made an impact on Wesleyan. I know that it made an impact on the citizens of Middletown. And I saw with my own eyes how we were able to inspire a new generation of protestors:

Screen Shot 2014-12-08 at 5.02.27 PM

 

My classmates and I demonstrated our solidarity with the black citizens of Middletown on Monday. This was a protest that involved the community, benefited the community, and did not disturb or harm Middletown in any way. I think it is harmful to ask the university to pay a significant sum for an event brought Middletown a lot of good publicity. This protest put Middletown on the map as a town that will not stand for the degradation of black life. Your request only serves to efface this good work. The message is clear: it will apparently cost us $7,491.81 to stand up for what we believe in.

Logically, I understand that the police need to be paid for their work. I am thankful that the Middletown Police protected all of the protestors and helped make this event possible. However, I hope you can understand the irony and frankly the injustice of your request to Wesleyan. If you mean to discourage further activism by Wesleyan students with your request, I’m sure you know that you will not succeed.

I would also like to make it clear that I was not involved in organizing this march, so I do not claim to voice the opinions of the coordinators. I can only ask you, as a Democrat, as a Middletown resident, and as a person who fiercely believes that black (student) life matters, to reconsider your request.

By the way, I voted for you. I won’t do it again in November. I’m sure you’ve lost Wesleyan’s vote, and I really hope that you don’t get Wesleyan’s money.

 

  • Ed McKeon

    For you Winter breakers, Wesleyan just announced that they “donated” $10k to the city for the “expert professional services” of the Middletown PD.

    http://www.middletownpress.com/government-and-politics/20141219/wesleyan-pays-middletown-for-police-overtime-incurred-at-protest-march

  • student

    Voted for Dan Drew and won’t do it again

  • Ed McKeon

    It strikes me, that this, like most web “discussions” is futile.

    In “The Second Coming” Yeats wrote: “The best lack all conviction while the worst are full of passionate intensity.”

    His might have been a rant against anonymity on the web.

    This thread began with an unsigned open letter, and it has generated dozens of posts, most of which are anonymous. That includes the latest, in which “Protestor ’15” declares “Arrest us,” and “Fucking done with being treated like children.” While he/she begs for recognition via criminal prosecution, he/she remains hidden behind a veil of anonymity. The irony is obvious.

    Surely, Protestor ’15 must realize that the Civil Disobedience of which Thoreau wrote, and through which Gandhi and Martin Luther King reached such lofty goals, did not come with a mask over their faces. Surely Protestor ’15 understands that opinions declared in the open, and documents signed with a real name, are far more powerful than some anonymous snipe.

    There is no doubt that in some circumstances, anonymity is essential, to protect life, limb and spurious prosecution. That is not the case here, I’m afraid, and it renders every opinion, every insult, flaccid.

    If you want to make an idea count, take responsibility for it. Sign your name.

    If you want to insult someone, own it.

    Being treated like an adult includes accepting responsibility for your protests, for your posts, for your opinions and for your ideas.

    As you can see above, my name is Ed. What’s yours?

    • Protestor ’15

      My name’s Dylan Awalt-Conley, for what it’s worth. But we’re still strangers to each other and most readers, so as far as I can tell, our names mean even less than a bit of info about where we’re coming from.

      I don’t think people are posting anonymously out of shame or fear of the consequences, since there are effectively no consequences for what gets said here, anonymous or not. It’s absurd to hold Wesleying comments on par with the greatest examples of civil disobedience in recent history, as if the revolution could ever take place online, or as if that’s what we’re trying to do. We owned our *protest* by participating; I’m just venting my knee-jerk frustration at the aftermath.

      If the MPD was remotely interested in holding people responsible, they would have done it at the march. Nobody wore masks then.

      • Ed McKeon

        Dylan, thanks for posting with your name. You may not think it makes a difference, but it does, whether I know you or not. I’m sure there are Wesleyan classmates who do know you, and your opinion just gained another degree of validity with them, and with others who’ve been reading. Maybe posting anonymously seems like just a convenience, but I think when you put a real name behind an opinion, it means more to you, and to the reader. BTW, in terms of the consequences of posting, I think they’re more serious, and potentially harmful, then you imagine.

  • Protestor ’15

    I understand that, because the administration apparently agreed to pay beforehand, it’s not totally the mayor who’s forcing this association. But it’s incredibly patronizing that the school is taking responsibility for OUR action. By accepting this fine and notifying the police beforehand, they turned our civil disobedience into a positve PR parade that Michael Roth could join in.

    Y’all anti-protestors have been criticizing us for not accepting responsibility, well fucking hold us responsible. Arrest us! Fine us for blocking traffic! This whole collusion between the administration and the city govt has nothing to do with responsibility; it was just a means to take our agency away. Fucking done with being treated like children.

  • Wes ’15

    Let’s not forget that blocking a major intersection in a city of 47,000 people poses a major risk to public safety. We’re not just talking about “inconvenience” here. We’re talking about blocking a major access road used for emergency response by ambulances, fire apparatus, and yes, by police officers, many many times a day. When you create major traffic congestion and block this intersection, you impede these responders’ access to people who need help when minutes may literally make the difference between life and death. Is that worth it?

    On a separate note, I find it an incredible example of our immense privilege as Wesleyan students that when you decided to block a major intersection, the police shut it down for you so that you could stage your protest–which, by the way, was unequivocally illegal–and then let everybody walk away. I am not saying that many Wesleyan students of color do not face discrimination at the hands of police officers. I think they absolutely do. But when our privilege lets us do this kind of thing without any legal repercussions, it makes the whole thing seem not only silly, but actually pretty entitled.

    • Mike

      So according to your logic, we should never shut down roads for festivals or other events because it’s a “major risk”. I was down in NYC during the protests and I witnessed the protesters getting out of the way for emergency vehicles. Bottom line is that the police should ACCOMMODATE freedom of speech, not punish it.

      • Wes ’15

        Closing roads for planned events is not the same thing. That kind of closure requires permitting, approval, and careful planning with public safety officials. Even if protesters move out of the way in some cases, there is no guarantee that they will always do so and, even when they do, passage of those vehicles is slowed substantially.

        The protection of free speech must be balanced with issues of public safety. This is not a novel concept.

        • Shut it Down?

          Let’s put aside the fact that a 15 minute delay is nothing compared to the permanent delay of life experienced by folks these students were standing in solidarity with.
          There was not an official permitting process that I’m aware of but the University, both at the student level and the administrative level were in communication with MPD about the plans to protest and (to an admittedly lesser degree) the plan to die-in. The streets were blocked off well in advance of the protests’ arrival on Washington or Main Street. Students didn’t really shut streets down, MPD did. There would have been police presence even if people had kept to the sidewalk and there would have been overtime paid out regardless.
          MPD did accommodate this demonstration, even if they weren’t happy about the die-in piece. It was entirely non-violent on both sides and relatively quick. And if a prior poster is correct in saying that Roth agreed to the charges for overtime then I see it as a win-win–cops get a little extra money for the holiday season and students get to express their solidarity.

          • Mike

            Great info here. That’s nice if Wesleyan is turning the fine into a donation, I’m just concerned about what kind of precedent this sets for the first amendment if we start charging people for peaceful assembly.

          • discouraged

            The revolution cannot come with a warning or a fee. That we have to pay to protest (for ~an hour) is absolutely ridiculous.

    • Student 15

      It might be inconvenient to block an intersection… It’s also inconvenient that blacks are being killed for no reason. Maybe you should consider that. The whole reason for activism is to get people to notice. You clearly missed the message.

    • Ed McKeon

      Middletown shuts down Main Street twice a year, for hours, to honor the motorcycle and the antique car. That intersection is shut down for an hour or more every May for the Saint Sebastian festival. The length of Main Street is also shut down for hours for the Memorial Day Parade. There are many routes around that intersection for emergency vehicles.

  • open letter?

    it’s not really an open letter if it’s unsigned, right? stand up for what you’ve written — sign your name

  • Ed McKeon

    I applaud the protestors, and feel that any protestors should not be compelled to pay for a decision to deploy police protection. In our current oligarchy, street protest may be the only way for non-billionaires to effectuate change.

    An important note to consider is the report, from Middletown Council member, Seb Giuliano, that someone in the Wesleyan administration agreed, before the protest happened, to pick up the tab for the police protection.

    One final note, while a protest against racism and violence is important, an ongoing commitment to work with the underserved in Middletown would go a long way in demonstrating, over the long term, a commitment by students to work toward understanding, equality and justice. Many Wes students already participate. There’s always room for more.

    • Wes student

      For those Wes students and Middletown residents that want to be about what they speak about, come to Middletown Potluck! It is a student group started by Wes students that bridges the Wes community and the Middletown community. We share meals, stories, struggles, and joy. We have recently been engaging with the homeless community here in Middletown and have raised money to get lockers for them to store their stuff. If you not only want to serve the underserved, but also want to build a relationship with them, this is your chance!

  • ’14

    consider class for a moment: what if what is really happening is them resisting against us and not the opposite?

  • prelaw

    Most salient unmentioned point: If we start asking groups to pay thousands of dollars for protesting, when does that become an infringement on their constitutional right to assemble?

    • Post Law

      You do not have a right to assemble in the middle of an intersection any more than I have a right to assemble a pro-torture rally in your living room. Your right to assemble does not trump the rights of others.

      • Mike

        Since when is driving a car a right? The die-in lasted 15 minutes…

    • JJBandiean

      Never. It will never be an infringement on your right to assemble provided that your assembly doesn’t result in closing down a major intersection and/or result in hundred of people putting themselves, and others, in danger by pouring over the sidewalk and into a public highway. You claim to be a “prelaw” check Westlaw or Lexis (or google scholar if you don’t have access to those cites) and you will see that a viewpoint neutral policy (such as paying the cost of using police for a peaceful march and demonstration) is reasonable related to the State’s interest in protecting the public and thus, not an infringement of your First Amendment rights.

      Had this protest occurred in one of the City’s public parks, this whole cost could have been avoided.

      • Protestor ’15

        I understand that the costs of police protection are reasonable for most large demonstrations and not necessarily unconstitutional, but they *are* unconstitutional in cases where the cost is prohibitive and the demonstrators (mainly grassroots organizations) would have been unable to pay. So if the mayor had fined the actual organizers—students with no funding—that would have been unconstitutional. And it’s legally sketchy for him to be fining the university (which can pay; making it constitutional) just because the organizers are implicitely associated with it. The university didn’t organize the march.

        Also, awefully sketch for the police department to show up to a peaceful protest in full force, do nothing to address those breaking the law (they could have arrested or fined us, and didn’t), and then demand payment for “protection.” Who were they protecting us from? The second splinter march made it through middletown just fine without their help. It seems more like they did their best to minimize the protestor’s visibility and made a big show of it to be able to demand restitution after the fact.

    • Guest

      Oh, it’s totally illegal to shut down intersections and it doesn’t seem unfair that Wesleyan should have to pay for the overtime charges of the police officers. When you choose to participate in direct actions that are illegal you should also be prepared to assume any and all risks. The most common risk is being arrested but having to make financial restitution is also a possible risk. You have to own it if you’ve done it and if it’s true that the administration said they would pay beforehand then the whole issue is really a non-issue. It isn’t an unfair decision but it might be unusual in that I haven’t heard of any other group involved in recent protests/die-ins that have been fined in this way. Has anyone else?

  • alum

    What exactly do these types of protests accomplish? Is it to raise awareness? What does showing solidarity accomplish? Because don’t most people know about Ferguson? Confused…

    • Mike

      They won’t go away until the problem with institutional racism goes away.

    • wes student

      For one thing, showing solidarity demonstrates the will of the people. If we are a democracy as we claim we are, shouldn’t the legislature and judicial actions reflect the will of the people? Mass numbers of people showing up to protests like the recent protest in NYC show that the will of the people is in favor for change of the unjust laws and judicial proceedings pertaining to police. If democracy works, we should see change.

      • alum

        But unless specific people are held accountable (e.g. specific politicians, public figures, etc.) how exactly does change come about? Wall Street protests are a perfect example of the ineffectiveness of these kinds of public protests. Unless you had other examples?

        • um

          civil rights era, bruh

          • alum

            Long time ago, bruh.

      • Ken4500

        We are not a democracy. We are a Constitutional Republic. We do not bow to screaming masses, no matter how loud. We do not put people on trial because it would make you feel better. We obey the rule of law. Which is exactly why the grand juries didn’t give you whining children your way.

  • Cromwellian

    This was not an issue for Wesleyan University, the City of Middletown or even the State of Connecticut, yet with the propensity of some to globalize what they, in my opinion cynically and strategically, perceive as rampant and deserving of said response, it becomes perfectly legitimate given the ongoing internal narrative of many to hold hostage an entire commercial district, requiring additional policing, among other misuses of City resources, in order to make their statement. I am a free speech advocate and a die-hard when it comes to upholding the First Amendment, notably here the right to assemble. I also recognize the need for civil action when necessary, particularly within the borders of a given community directly affected by an event. However, one can not help but to note the lack of insight on the part of many involved in such demonstrations. If you accept the narrative some peddle that there has been no or barely any progress on the matter of minority representation and that brown and black people are systemically and deliberately hunted-down on the streets of America courtesy of racially-motivated corruption running rampant on the orders of institutions drunk with the power of oppressing persons of color, then you can justify any incident as the impetus to promote your politicized agenda. One has to actually wonder who the real race-baiters are in such situations . . . . I am further disturbed by the distraction which the coloring of this issue provides. We should be having a legitimate nationwide discussion about the increased militarization of police force in this country, when we witness even small-town outfits equipped with military-surplus-style gear and vehicles and the increased application of strong-arm tactics for even minor infractions, we need to discuss the role of the police in our communities. For everyone. No merely for black people. Not merely for the purpose of blindly exploiting skin color in order to promote an ideo-agenda. Yes, we should be having a discussion about policing in this country, and that includes sentencing laws and the so-called drug war, yet some don’t see it that way. Better to play-up the black vs. white angle – gets more mileage. I wonder how many black or brown or otherwise minority students have felt that cold slap of racism at an upper-tier liberal arts institution such as Wesleyan. I would guess NONE.

    • Triggered

      “I wonder how many black or brown or otherwise minority students have felt that cold slap of racism at an upper-tier liberal arts institution such as Wesleyan. I would guess NONE.” Your guess is a sad and misinformed attempt at reducing a strong show of solidarity, and discontent, to a bunch of privileged students whining about things they know nothing of. You clearly know nothing about what experiences the minority students at Wesleyan have been through in or out of the Wesleyan community. You know nothing about these students’ private lives or what situations they are coming from. Yes, these students attend an “upper tier liberal arts institution”, but that does not mean that they have never experienced racism in both covert and/or overt forms.
      Your statement is extremely triggering and I am simply here writing to let you know what you should have been taught years ago. That you cannot judge a book by its cover. I know some of these students, and I have heard some of there heart wrenching stories. It seems as if before you make such statements again, you should find some facts to back them up, instead of making guesses based on your small minded opinions. These students are all from different places as well, as different socioeconomic classes and sexual orientations. These differences breed a plethora of experiences, which often include those driven by racism.
      Do not reduce the lives and experiences of these individuals to their opportunity to study at that prestigious institution (which has had its own problems with racism).

      Do not mistake this and think that I do not believe that you have brought up some interesting points, but they are overshadowed, and almost invalidated by your obnoxiously ignorant closing comments.

      • Cromwellian

        Typically globalized yet at the same time narrowly-focused., yet for the wrong reasons.

        You could have saved yourself the trouble of skimming-down your clipboard of cliches, making certain to check-off all the appropriate boxes ( this writer is white….CHECK…. and male…..CHECK….and heterosexual….CHECK…. and upper-income…….CHECK…..and certainly a nasty ol’ p/Political conservative, fresh from his nightly feeding of Fox Noise, er, News prime-time programming…………….CHECK……….I’ll let this hang in the air, to question which of these descriptors is accurate, if any of them ) and simply called me an ignoramus at best, a racist at worst. For that is what you are implying, however tacitly or veiled under your
        ( general-issue, rather tired, as if on cue ) righteous indignation.

        ” Your guess is a sad and misinformed attempt at reducing a strong show of solidarity, and discontent . . . . ” Truly? I want you to name a single instance of racially/ethnically-motivated discrimination at Wesleyan University, be it in admissions, hiring, curriculum. Just one. This is a focused issue, not a march on the National Mall. Your struggle, as it were, is not about the grand-unified-suffrage of all persons. We are dealing specifically with the matter of the City of Middletown and Wesleyan University. Yet, since you’re already going global with this, let me accommodate you. I do not buy the well-honed, well-practiced narrative that we live in a society so steeped in racism that people of color are arbitrarily gunned-down on the streets or denied employment simply by virtue of their skin color or ethnicity. We have come quite a long way as a culture, and, given that the United States is no longer a white-majority populace, who are certain groups going to continually blame when certain issues arise? Will it be black vs, hispanic? Asian vs. black? Black vs. pacific islander . . . ? The demos are changing and along with them the attitudes and aspirations of citizens. We are still dealing with pockets of resistance to change, without doubt, yet those persons are either dying-out, literally, or increasingly becoming marginalized as the U.S. embraces its cultural future.

        I also find it interesting that we allege wrongdoing when a police officer stops a person of color when stats demonstrate that the majority of crimes committed in urban areas are committed by persons of color. This is just the way it is. ( Crime statistics, as compiled by the FBI, adult and juvenile : http://www.fbi.gov/…/crime-in-the-u.s…/tables/table-43 /http://ojjdp.gov/ojstatbb/crime/JAR_Display.asp?ID=qa05261 ) A coupla’ beat cops are sitting in their cruiser and are radioed a call about a convenience store robbery, and the description of the suspect matches nearly every person whom they see walking past their vehicle. They turn on the sirens, approach the area where the robbery took place, and people scatter. A chase ensues. A person is apprehended . . . . What are these police officers? Social workers? Their job is to secure community safety and fight crime. If the (alleged) criminals represent a specific type – an ethnicity, a lineage, a particular hue – how are officers expected to process that data? How do they treat suspects, potential suspects? In New York City, for example, the crime rate has plummeted, across the board, due to smart, targeted resourcing and, yes, stop-&-frisk policies. ( Note as contrast Chicago . . . . ) Police officers, many of whom themselves are people of color notably in cities like New York, are the boots on the ground, It is not their role in handle the socioeconomic or perhaps intra-cultural aspects and origins of crimes committed at much higher rates by virtue of percentage of population by persons of color.

        The particular case of the unfortunate man hawking contraband who was placed in a choke-hold and subsequently ( not necessarily consequently ) passed away is an interesting one, for I would like to find-out how many white suspects have died either while being apprehended, and clearly resisting apprehension, and in police custody. By virtue of being recorded, the case is a sensational one.
        Skin color play a role? Are we cued to seek-out such episodes as racist? Does the media play a role in promoting it? As a gay man, I could find alleged instances of homophobia any place I chose to look, even on the ingredient list of a box of Twinkies. And what’s up with that name anyway? “Twinkies” ?? As in twink? You calling me a BLANK?? Yes, I know the name is a long-standing one, but you’d think corporations would have developed sensitivities to certain people by now . . . . Twinkies : a phallic-shaped thing you stick into your mouth. Full of CREAM, no less! What is UP with THAT?!

        Uh-hmm . . . . Global enough for ya’?

        I don’t intend to go -’round-&-’round in the roles of unenlightened, unevolved, old, flat-earth primate versus young, upstart whipper-snapper on the cusp of taking-on-the-world with his/her insight and truth and all things bold and beautiful and blah-blah. Not my cup. Thank you. I’m guessing that you are either a Wesleyan student or enrolled at another college/university and that you chose the moniker “Triggered” last evening, in response to the comments section on this particular piece. Perhaps in response to my comment, specifically. You may even occupy a professorial role.

        All the best with your studies and future endeavors.

      • Guest

        Don’t let this one person’s opinions make you feel triggered.
        Let this serve as evidence that the same attitudes that made that Officer think he was justified in placing Eric Garner in a chokehold over less than a dollar’s worth of taxes on some cigarettes exist right here in your back yard.
        Here is this man feeling like he knows your life–knows for a fact that your people are more likely to commit crime (because he has proof in some arrest records y’all but mind you Eric Garner’s death was filmed and that was not proof enough), feeling like he has the right to ask you to justify your feelings and demand that you tell him your experiences and provide proof for him. His privilege has him fooled into thinking himself an authority on you and your culture and your lifestyle and fooled into thinking that his opinion matters more than yours.
        Use this to know that your actions on that day have at least sparked some thought. The fact that this one protest caused this person to log onto a Wesleyan student run website, even if it was to throw his hate around, is a step in the right direction. Know that he might have said he was done going round and round with you but that he’s coming back again and again to see if you or anyone else responds to his hate. Know that he did not leave this site without hearing your words. Don’t feel triggered, feel empowered. Take that feeling and run with it.

        • Cromwellian

          You are clueless.
          And opportunistic, “Guest.”
          You wish to feel empowered?
          Learn to handle adversity, rather than use it as the rationale to relive grievances and provide the socioeconomic foundation for a permanent underclass. To tell a proud people that they should perpetually portray themselves as victims, to not be able to trust, to not find healing, to raise children to feel that way . . . . It’s unconscionable.

          Now there’s the global end of it.

          On the more localized end, as in the impetus for my initial comment, the City of Middletown initially offered Wesleyan organizers a space to assemble. They refused. Clearly, their intention was to disrupt. They had no intention of assembling so much as crashing.

          If I were “Triggered”, I would feel insulted by your put-upon pandering and canny condescension. Who are you to lay claim to the mantle of speaking for anybody? I chose to educate and hopefully shed insight. You, on the other hand, opted to wring your hands and play the role of martyr. People of color have made progress in this nation not because of certain people but rather in spite of them.

          Do you want to know the most disgusting, of several, displays we witnessed at last week’s, er, episode? A banner which read BLACK LIVES MATTER . . . . Are you kidding me?!?! Mind-numbingly perverse. Did these children, both chronologically and mentally, have any idea how insulting that was?? Black . . . . lives . . . . matter . . . . Thankfully, they had reminded us of that . . . . . . .Do you require any more evidence that the events of late have been, and are continuing to be, exploited by misguided forces of race-baiting and engendered resentment? Do you really?

          If you actually support the walking and waving of a banner which reads BLACK LIVES MATTER, then you should be ashamed of yourself for being that low and pandering.

          Again . . . . progress IN SPITE of certain folks, not BECAUSE OF them.

          Learn to diffuse, or better yet channel, both your anger and your grandstanding.

          Clueless. That’s all.
          I have nothing more to write in response to someone like you.

          • Guest

            Annnndd….I was right. You came back. Nice to hear from you. I think you should really seek out opportunities to meet and exchange perspectives with students. They might contribute more to your worldview than you think possible. And by the looks of it, I did trigger you. And I won’t apologize for that because I think this guilt and anger you’re passing right now is the first step in a good direction for you. Good luck!

          • Cromwellian

            Of course.
            Such insight.
            Anybody who doesn’t agree with you is a dyed-in-the-wool racist. All that’s missing is a banjo playing in the background.
            How-in-the-hades do you know I am not a college student?
            How do you even know that I am NOT BLACK?

            You assume quite a bit.
            Because only a white devil would have written what I did.
            Right?
            You know it’s getting bad ( or worse? ) when the NAACP refused to let black conservatives speak at this year’s convention . . . .
            But then, you must already know about that, because
            . . . . you know everything, apparently.

            And i didn’t become personal until you and your cohorts took it to that level.

            I’m out.
            Lots of luck for the future. ( Lots of it. )

          • Guest

            Oh Cromwellian, I think you’re lying about not liking me. You’ve been “out” about 3 times now but keep jumping back in. If its personal to say that you (even if in fact you are black, I dunno that, never said you were white) do not speak for all your neighbors, some of who were out there with us when we protested. You don’t get to negate the experiences of other people because you do not know them to be yours. Instead of passing all this gas you just passed on a Wesleyan student news site, I suggested (gasp!) that you might find better insights actually talking to these folks you came on here to supposedly educate and try examining the ways in which you have or haven’t had to fear interactions with the police and how that may or may not be the result of some privilege you may carry. I’m not mad at you because you don’t agree with me and I don’t to call you a cotton-headed ninny muggin (you don’t know if I think you are one, though) to express that disagreement.

          • Aya Baki ’16

            “I’m Out”

            “out.”

            “out.”

            “I’m out”

            …gtfo already

    • Guest

      “If you accept the narrative some peddle that there has been no or barely any progress on the matter of minority representation and that brown and black people are systemically and deliberately hunted-down on the streets of America courtesy of racially-motivated corruption running rampant on the orders of institutions drunk with the power of oppressing persons of color, then you can justify any incident as the impetus to promote your politicized agenda.”
      –the complete opposite could be said of you–a person who clearly does not accept this narrative and instead would rather whitewash hundreds of years of history and just write off any responses to these “incidents” (very tactful minimization of the loss of human life) as some attempt at starting a race riot. No one here (or anywhere else in the world where solidarity protests are happening–because yes, you can show solidarity without having to be in Ferguson) wants to race-bait or get mileage out of people who have lost their lives. That’s outrageous and ridiculous. A cry for fairness and justice shouldn’t make you this angry, Cromwellian. It shouldn’t make you jump to conclusions about the lives or lived experiences of any person at Wesleyan–it should make you want to start a dialogue and it should encourage you to examine your privilege and the ways that allows you to keep these blinders on. Seems to me that the only narrowly-focused person here is you.

      • Cromwellian

        Encore :

        You are clueless.
        And opportunistic, “Guest.”
        You wish to feel empowered?
        Learn to handle adversity, rather than use it as the rationale to relive grievances and provide the socioeconomic foundation for a permanent underclass. To tell a proud people that they should perpetually portray themselves as victims, to not be able to trust, to not find healing, to raise children to feel that way . . . . It’s unconscionable.

        Now there’s the global end of it.

        On the more localized end, as in the impetus for my initial comment, the City of Middletown initially offered Wesleyan organizers a space to assemble. They refused. Clearly, their intention was to disrupt. They had no intention of assembling so much as crashing.

        If I were “Triggered”, I would feel insulted by your put-upon pandering and canny condescension. Who are you to lay claim to the mantle of speaking for anybody? I chose to educate and hopefully shed insight. You, on the other hand, opted to wring your hands and play the role of martyr. People of color have made progress in this nation not because of certain people but rather in spite of them.

        Do you want to know the most disgusting, of several, displays we witnessed at last week’s, er, episode? A banner which read BLACK LIVES MATTER . . . . Are you kidding me?!?! Mind-numbingly perverse. Did these children, both chronologically and mentally, have any idea how insulting that was?? Black . . . . lives . . . . matter . . . . Thankfully, they had reminded us of that . . . . . . .Do you require any more evidence that the events of late have been, and are continuing to be, exploited by misguided forces of race-baiting and engendered resentment? Do you really?

        If you actually support the walking and waving of a banner which reads BLACK LIVES MATTER, then you should be ashamed of yourself for being that low and pandering.

        Again . . . . progress IN SPITE of certain folks, not BECAUSE OF them.

        Learn to diffuse, or better yet channel, both your anger and your grandstanding.

        Clueless. That’s all.
        I have nothing more to write in response to someone like you.

        • Mike

          Sometimes you just gotta read the comments below these articles to be reminded that people who are racist come off as very insecure.

          • Cromwellian

            Of course, dear.
            Anybody with an alternate vantage is racist.
            Anybody who disagrees with you is racist.
            Anybody who doesn’t walk the official line of victimhood is a racist.
            A convenient catch-all, goes with any occasion.

            I assume you’re aiming that charge at me.
            I also assume that you ASSUME that I am NOT black,
            That’s because . . . . you are so full of insight.
            Ready for a surprise?

            As far as insecurity goes, it is not the most secure of individuals who jumps into an existing exchange to make a comment which he hopes will get him plenty of pats on the back. Not very secure. But then, you must have already perceived that, being as insightful as you are.

          • Mike

            I wasn’t complaining about you having an opposing view. I just thought it was funny that your getting so crazy. lol

          • Cromwellian

            Of course you were.
            Planning-on running for office any time soon . . . .?
            And, by the way, it’s “YOU’RE getting so crazy” not “YOUR.”
            Lemme’ guess, texting error?
            I assume you’re NOT a college student . . . .
            Nice back-pedal, though.

            I’m out.

          • Mike

            I’m not a politician, but some of my closest friends are.
            Westconn Alumni. I’m also not scared to have an actual picture as my avatar.

          • Cromwellian

            Congrats, dude.

            You’ve won.

            I’m out . . . .

            “When I initially commented on this piece, it was to address my concern that focusing on the black-white angle ( the low-hanging fruit, particularly for professional agitators, poverty pimps and cable talking heads alike ) was a distraction from the real issue – that of the militarization of police forces, even in rural communities. For all persons. I provided what I thought were cogent arguments, decent forwards and even stats. Oh, no . . . . not so. I have since been besieged ( I almost wrote lynched ) by a parade of know-it-all upstarts and have been labeled everything from a racist to insensitive to a wordsmith hung-up on the self-aggrandizing power of dropping dem big wurds, cuz of all my insekuritys and all . . . . This is what passes for a discussion? We can’t have a non-doctrinal, unofficial conversation about race, at least not one that has not been graced with the stamp of approval from all things victimized.

            You’re right, friend. I am a dumbass. A dumbass for wasting his time conversing with people whom I thought could be challenged, could look inward, who could appreciate a debate and not merely an echo-chamber.
            ( There I goes agayn with dem big wurds. ) So, Guest, congratulations. You’ve won. I’ve been vanquished. Go collect your reward. And that reward would be to have confirmed everything in your universe, everything in its proper place, all neatly lined-up and untouched, forever untouched and unexamined. Yes, congratulations. And, dumbass that I am, I escalated it, took the bait. Not only am I abandoning this thread but I think this whole Disqus service.

            Pin the tail on the jackass, for the jackass is me. “

          • Mike

            Nice Facebook profile. My assumption of your rhetoric being that of a white person is correct. You might wanna update your privacy settings if you want to continue impersonating a person of color with Stockholm Syndrome.

          • Cromwellian

            Impersonating?
            I never wrote that I was,
            only that you are assuming I wasn’t.
            You are clueless, because you can’t see beyond that which you want to see, that which you want to believe. Thank you for alerting me to the privacy settings. Nice stalking, dude. You wanna’ date?

          • Mike

            You casted doubt on being white, so yes you were impersonating. It’s not stalking if you yourself put a link to your profile, genius.

          • Cromwellian

            You waited the appropriate amount of time, mustn’t look too eager to reply . . . .
            Yeah, dude. I say it is stalking. How ’bout that?

            The only doubt I created was within your own mind, and that is what’s really pissing you off. Genius.

            Anyway, I’m leaving this.
            You want an echo-chamber, not a discussion board.
            You may have it.

          • Guest

            I think I might have made a mistake in feeding into this one. I see now that he didn’t come on here for decent dialogue, he’s on here looking to make people angry and only ended up making himself look silly so now he’s being a little crazy–even correcting people’s grammar. Finals are over, you can spell however you want!

          • Cromwellian

            “Decent dialogue . . . . ”
            Yeah.
            That’s what you’re all about.
            Only in the hothouse environs of academia can this sh*t exist. What’s that ol’ saw? “You had to have gone to college to say something that stupid.”

            Thankfully, my college career is near-completion.
            I don’t know how much more of this closed-minded, insular-looking, blinders-on clap-trap I can take.

            Lots of luck, friend.

            Out.

        • Guest

          Well, if you think the right way to handle “adversity” is by name-calling and putting words in people’s mouths then I don’t want any part of that. I am not telling anyone to portray themselves as victims or how to raise their children. I’m in no position to tell people what they should do with their lives, neither are you. If you read your angry dictionary-infused diatribe, you’d see that the only person supposing they know more than they do and telling people what they should do is you. I only suggested that you open your mind to the idea that your opinions and experiences are not representative of all your neighbors and that you check your privilege at the door. The only one who should be ashamed of themselves and is bringing shame to themselves and to their community is you right now by being so standoffish and silly. If you can’t have a conversation via a comment board with ME (who is being completely respectful to you) than good luck trying to have a conversation with someone face-to-face about race relations in this country.

          • Cromwellian

            I did not get personal until you made it personal.
            And you know that.

            Your endgame isn’t dialogue – It is the confirmation of the mindset to which you religiously cling.

            And you know THAT, too.

            “Dictionary-infused” . . .? Because a part-latino/black male could never come up with dem big, bad words all by himself, huh? And my moniker ( sorry, handle ) of “Cromwellian”. Nobody but a white person would ever use that. A latino/black man would style himself as “Brutha” something or perhaps with the word “Cool” in it. Ain’t I right?

            White. Privileged. Racist . . . .
            Clueless. Clueless. Clueless . . . .

            Out.

          • Guest

            Again with the sweeping generalizations my friend, I was talking about your insistence on loading your comments with SAT words and how that seems a little desperate and insecure. In fact, many students privileged enough to attend Wesleyan(students of color and otherwise) write better than you, if you wanna speak truths. They write better than me, that’s for sure. I was commenting about you specifically. Not about all of your presumed race. There’s a saying somewhere about people resorting to these kinds of dodge tactics when they run out of legitimate things to say but I can’t remember it right now.

          • Cromwellian

            When I initially commented on this piece, it was to address my concern that focusing on the black-white angle ( the low-hanging fruit, particularly for professional agitators, poverty pimps and cable talking heads alike ) was a distraction from the real issue – that of the militarization of police forces, even in rural communities. For all persons. I provided what I thought were cogent arguments, decent forwards and even stats. Oh, no . . . . not so. I have since been besieged ( I almost wrote lynched ) by a parade of know-it-all upstarts and have been labeled everything from a racist to insensitive to a wordsmith hung-up on the self-aggrandizing power of dropping dem big wurds, cuz of all my insekuritys and all . . . . This is what passes for a discussion? We can’t have a non-doctrinal, unofficial conversation about race, at least not one that has not been graced with the stamp of approval from all things victimized.

            You’re right, friend. I am a dumbass. A dumbass for wasting his time conversing with people whom I thought could be challenged, could look inward, who could appreciate a debate and not merely an echo-chamber.
            ( There I goes agayn with dem big wurds. ) So, Guest, congratulations. You’ve won. I’ve been vanquished. Go collect your reward. And that reward would be to have confirmed everything in your universe, everything in its proper place, all neatly lined-up and untouched, forever untouched and unexamined. Yes, congratulations. And, dumbass that I am, I escalated it, took the bait. Not only am I abandoning this thread but I think this whole Disqus service.

            Pin the tail on the jackass, for the jackass is me.

          • Guest

            Who’s playing victim now? You’re leaving because you want to. Because you started off with valid arguments about police militarization and then went completely off course trying to demean not only a student who didn’t agree with you, you questioned the validity the lived their lived experience and you also pretty much reduced their entire race to a bunch of criminals who like to play victim to incite some sort of race riot. I was on board until your comments became mean-spirited. If you note above, I’m also the “Guest” who wrote that if students decide to do something illegal then they should be prepared to deal with the consequences. In fact, that was said multiple times by the organizers of the protest themselves. I didn’t agree with all your comments but I agreed with your right to voice your opinion until you started to bash a member of our community for feeling how they feel. So go if you have to, but don’t blame anyone but yourself. And you called yourself a dumbass and a jackass. That’s on you, too.

        • skeptical

          Wait, why is “Black Lives Matter” offensive, do you not agree? Or would you prefer that it said “All lives matter?” Also, it makes no sense for you to be upset about, “racebaiting?” What do you think these protests are about? What do you think our country was founded on? Equality,Life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness for all? Wrong, try again. It was founded on race by racists forefathers who kept slaves and the life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness bit was meant only for Whites (read White males). Don’t get me wrong, I love this country, even with its defects, but it makes no sense that so many people such as yourself deny that there are racial issues in our nation. You like to pretend that we live in a post-racial society and that there is equal opportunity for all, especially because we have a black president, but that is simply not true. I know it is much easier to live your life in privilege and never look behind you because you’re too busy with your own life, but just take a glance behind your shoulder and you will see the injustice you turned your back on.

          • Cromwellian

            You haven’t a clue.

            Out.

  • Resident

    I think that Middletown residents should show how upset they are about Furguson by occupying Wesleyan buildings during finals and preventing all students from taking their exams. Think about how big a statement that would make, certainly it would bring national attention to Wesleyan and Middletown, and the scales would fall from everyone’s eyes. No doubt it would solve all racism throughout the country. Only by making sure that every Wesleyan student was inconvenienced as much as possible could the objective of ending racism be achieved.

    • Student

      The intention of the protest was not to ignite hate or create a greater dichotomy between Wesleyan and Middletown. Inconveniencing the city of middletown was an unfortunate but unintended consequence. I do not understand why we always have fingers pointed at us for standing in solidarity with victims of institutionalized oppression and injustice. We DO NOT go to the streets and stand in the cold to protest for fun, Middletown residents. And the fact that you only care about how your daily life was minimally affected by a protest against institutionalized racism is just mind-boggling.

      • Resident

        The organizers of this protest explicitly stated that it WAS their
        intention to inconvenience people, so it was actually an INTENDED
        consequence. Also, it is mind- boggling that you assume that just
        because I take issue with the tactics of this protest I am unconcerned
        with the problem. I have a 40 year history of challenging racism in
        this country and have been ostracized, beaten and threatened with death for my efforts, so forgive me if I am not impressed that you stood in the cold for an hour to show how much this means to you.

        • ’14

          Are you seriously going to disagree with this resident, here? Don’t be naive. As Resident proposes, imagine if residents of Middletown staged a protest within Wesleyan buildings: the police would come and people would get arrested, probably in a more violent manner than what Wesleyan students experienced. I’m all for inconveniencing daily routine in New York City or something, but look at yourselves. A bunch of university kids skipping 2 hrs of class on wednesday to interrupt the lives of people who actually go to work all day making money. Try being older than 20 and maybe we’ll understand.

          • under 20

            This is funny because if you graduated in ’14, you’re just barely over 20. You have less than a year of experience in the “real world” and feel qualified to essentially call students (many of whom were your peers last year) childish. Its also funny that you think protests should only happen in big cities as if police brutality and racism are confined to big cities. Its also funny that you think disrupting the day of Middletown residents “who actually go to work all day making money” is worse than disrupting the day of NYC residents–do THEY not “actually go to work all day making money”? I dunno, cuz I’m busy not being older than 20 so I don’t understand.

          • ’14

            I’m saying that maybe all 20 year olds should shut the fuck up and listen to the actual people who live in middletown, the people wesleyan students are affecting the lives of

        • Guest

          Clearly you do not like having your experience minimized. So stop minimizing ours.

          Also, consider this scenario – what if Middletown residents occupy Wesleyan buildings to show solidarity with victims of racism, and Wesleyan decide to bill the taxpayers of Middletown for “increased presence of Public Safety officers,” how would that make you feel?

    • Another Student

      The objective was not to make sure Middletown was “inconvenienced as much as possible,” but you are certainly correct in identifying one of the major underlying themes throughout the protests on these issues across the country: disrupt business as usual and “shut it down.” If you organized a protest through Wesleyan buildings that inconvenienced students for 15 minutes (which is greater than the length of time of the die-in) then I for one would actually join you. Also pro tip: preventing exam administration at its proper time isn’t a threat to college students. We all would probably love an extra hour to study.