Adams Plaza, Mills College (2014)

Black Mills students stage a silent protest in on March 5th 2014 in response to a racist comment left on a Mills College Confessions page. Students dressed in black held signs and stood in silence and solidarity in front of the Tea Shop for hours. After the school’s failure to provide answers as well as a just resolution, the Black Women’s Collective on campus created a list of demands that (according to the President), were met by implementing a Task force that investigated the matriculation and retention of Black students as well as provide mental health professionals to provide counseling for students triggered by the racist comments made. In addition to the nine demands, the Black Women’s Collective were awarded Student Organization of the year for their social justice organization on campus. Mills College as well as prestige institutions across the nation, created a viral trend with the hashtag “#itooam…” to create awareness of the racist culture found in institutions for higher learning.
This has not been the first time Mills women of color have had to struggle with trangressions from Mills administration in regards to “space and race” . In 2003, a group of students came forward and advocated for the space that we now know as the Solidarity Lounge, in which the demand for the space was debated and resisted by the College. Students of color collaborated in a test trial in utilizing the space and received positive results. A total of 40-50 students of color occupied the space within the span of three days. Students came together and created formal proposals in the demand that Mills College provide a diverse space where students of diverse backgrounds can receive a safe space for study, discussion and events that are conscious of intersectional issues. Student representatives were observant and used the Campanil to keep record of the administration’s resisting the idea by suddenly removing furniture from the space, preventing occupation of bodies. Students claim that it was a contestation of the idea due to the fact that the space is a highly visible one; administration's responded by saying: “Race is not why the solidarity lounge shouldn’t happen [there]...nothing permanent should happen there.” After 5 months of debate, the Solidarity Lounge officially opened through a red ribbon ceremony with key supporters speaking on behalf of the students who made the space possible. Today, Mills College promotes this space to appeal to potential students to commend itself as a social justice environment.

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Kelly Ortiz , “Adams Plaza, Mills College (2014),” Street Stories: Oakland, accessed June 21, 2018, http://streetstoriesoakland.com/items/show/62.

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