Report on Oct. 12 march and rally - Univ. of Mich.

Paul Steven Lefrak plefr at
Thu Oct 12 17:21:46 MDT 1995


OCT. 12 - As part of the Oct. 12th national day of action to defend
affirmative action, activists in the Alliance to Defend Affirmative
Action (ADAA) organized a mass march, rally, and speakout following an
11:15 walkout of classes.  ADAA organizers of the march and rally
estimate that it was attended by as many as 500 people:  Black, Latino,
Asian-American, Native American, and white U-M students and community

The march was the largest and most militant antiracist protest in Ann
Arbor since the upsurge of 1987-88, even larger than last year's big
anti-Prop 187 march and rally.  Protest organizers found out the night before
that reactionary governor John Engler was scheduled to speak at the Business
School.  After being stirred by powerful Native drumming, we began marching
through three campus buildings, chanting LOUDLY the whole way ("Affirmative
action is under attack, what do we do, ACT UP FIGHT BACK! ; and "No justice,
no peace" among others) we rallied briefly at the Administration Building,
saw some guerilla theater, and then took the streets to confront the
budget-cutting racist, sexist, and anti-worker Engler at the B-school.

After trying unsuccessfully to enter the auditorium, we rattled doors,
windows, trash cans and continued loudly chanting to make our presence
known.  We were not going to move!  The energy and intensity of the crowd
was electrifying.  Speakers got the strongest response when talking about
how this demonstration is just the first of many, how we must link our
struggles fighting racism, sexism, and homophobia in a militant way,
the need to be linking with campus workers fighting discrimination and
building a movement to fight for full free tuition and an education that
meets the needs of oppressed and working class students.  Speakers also
spoke about a recent cross-burning outside a Black family's home in
nearby Whittaker, and also referred to the phony rhetoric of the University
administration led by outgoing president James Duderstadt, a master of the
p.r. tokenism gimmick.

At one point, campus cops kicked and pushed a Latino student, and slammed
another student's fingers in a door. However, local and campus police may
have been taken off guard by the size and the militancy of the protest and it
wasn't until we got to the Business school that we saw any significant
cop presence.

After rallying and chanting outside the B-school, protesters returned to
the Michigan Union where many participated in a sit-in on the steps of
the building which serves as the student union organized by the U-M
chapter of the NAACP, one of the co-sponsors of the ADAA.

Endorsers of the march and rally include the following groups:  Alianza -
the Latino/a Student Alliance; Black Student Union; Coalition Against the
Contract 'On' America; Delta Tau Lambda; Free Mumia Coalition; Fuerza
Latina; Guild House Campus Ministry; Homeless Action Committee; La
Voz Mexicana; Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual Alliance; NAACP/U-M Chapter; National
Lawyers Guild/U-M Chapter; Native American Student Association; Queer
Unity Project; Trotskyist League; Washtenaw County Welfare Rights
Union (apologies if any groups excluded or name is inaccurate).

Also significant about the organizing done by the Alliance and the
powerful success of the event itself was the tremendous energy boost given to
forging a multiracial coalition to fight racism at U-M and the commitment
shared by all that this march and rally was only the beginning...


(Report submitted for widespread distribution by Paul Lefrak, Free Mumia

           ++++ stop the execution of Mumia Abu-Jamal ++++
         ++++ if you agree copy these lines to your sig ++++
    ++++ see ++++

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