We are used to hearing about the protests of Black Lives Matter, especially after instances of police brutality. We are used to hearing about the march on Washington and the civil rights movement. What we aren’t used to hearing about are the small acts of resistance. Sure, we know about Rosa Parks, but how many other everyday people of color did extraordinary things in the face of racism and didn’t go down in history for it?
Corey Menafee won’t be one of those people who is forgotten. His act of resistance is getting attention.
He was a dishwasher at Yale University for about eight years but last June, he finally had enough of looking at a stained glass window on campus that depicted two enslaved black people. He used a broom handle to smash it and was promptly charged with reckless endangerment and felony mischief. Wednesday, Yale students and community members had their voices heard as they spoke out in support of Menafee and now, his charges have been revoked.
As it turns out, students have been trying to have something done about the lingering reminders of racism all over campus for quite some time. The stained glass window was in a residential dorm known as Calhoun College, which was named for former VP John C. Calhoun. He was one of the biggest proponents of slavery in American history. Students have been trying to have Calhoun College renamed for years.
Maybe Menafee’s action will be a catalyst of sorts for that type of change. Watch his interview with Democracy Now! above to see him discuss what made him finally break that window and share his thoughts on how Calhoun’s legacy has nothing to do with what Yale really represents.
[image via screengrab]
Have a tip we should know? firstname.lastname@example.org