MU students packed Missouri Theater Tuesday night to hear civil rights scholar and activist Angela Davis speak in honor of Martin Luther King Day.
“We need to draw that history of struggle and recognize that through Dr. King, we are paying tribute to all those who came together and joined the campaign to end racism,” Davis said.
Davis came to MU after participating in protests in Washington, D.C. over the weekend. She also took part in the Peace Ball at the National Museum for African American History and Culture. The ball, organized by Busboys and Poets, was held as a counter to the inaugural balls.
“The women’s march was absolutely amazing and the fact that so many women, men, youth, trans people showed up at an event that was organized just a few weeks ago, that was extraordinary. That was phenomenal,” Davis said. “But it was also a demonstration in which people could find their place. Those who were struggling for reproductive rights. There was a whole range of issues that are often called women’s issues that were animating the crowd.”
Davis met during the day Tuesday with a group of MU students that included some of the students who participated in the Concerned Students 1950 movement.
“My advice was to recognize that these moments will come and take advantage of them and we remember the promise of those moments but we have to do the often unacknowledged work of organizing. And we also have to take care of ourselves in the process of doing this.”
Davis said building a movement requires creativity and the willingness to make mistakes.
When asked about what was next for concerned students 1950, she said she did not want to give members any advice.
“The only way one can find one’s own path is by being free is to make the mistakes that inevitably accompany a movement of creative new approaches.”
In both her speech and the media session, Davis did not shy away from her concerns with the incoming Trump administration.
“Today the Trump administration indicated that they were going to support the construction of pipelines, Keystone and Dakota Access Pipeline. So this means that we need to engage in something really urgent to prevent that from proceeding and to stand together with the Standing Rock Sioux.”
Davis concluded her speech by offering cautionary words about the future she sees on the horizon for this country.
“We recognize that we will have to struggle over the coming period as we have struggled before. Freedom is a constant struggle”