Just two weeks into an unparalleled semester, UNC students are getting a much-needed break to navigate the move-out process and adjust to remote learning. All members of the UNC community should be taking a break — especially the activists who fought tirelessly to demand this break in the first place.
Student activists are doing the work many of us are unwilling or too scared to do. They are on the front lines of change at our University, pushing to create a safe space for all facets of our campus community.
But we can’t forget that their work started long before the pandemic began. UNC has a long history of student activism on its campus. In the face of Silent Sam and the direct threat of white supremacist groups stampeding our campus to the violent and predatory tactics employed by UNC Police, student activists and workers have remained tenacious voices of justice and equity for years. Today, amid a global pandemic, they now fight for the health and safety of thousands of campus workers, faculty, students and local community members.
Most importantly, however, we must acknowledge the work of Black activists. Their efforts, time and perseverance are too often co-opted or erased by white institutions whose intentions are less genuine. The Editorial Board recognizes that we, too, are guilty of this — The Daily Tar Heel has repeatedly failed to place Black voices at the center of the narrative, which has caused harm to these communities.
The activists holding the University and their fellow students accountable deserve credit for the mental, physical and emotional labor they have dedicated on behalf of other marginalized and overlooked communities. Despite classes, work and threats to their personal safety, Black activists have been relentless in their fight for justice.