by the Stanford Asian American Activism Committee
Students for divestment in Apartheid South Africa blocking the car of a member of the Board of Trustees in 1985
Did you know that Central American refugees were housed in Columbae in the 1980s? Or that an anti-Apartheid sit-in at Old Union in 1977 resulted in the arrest of 294 students? How about the student protests in the 1990s that led to higher admissions rates for underrepresented Filipino and Southeast Asian students?
New students walk onto campus and are shown things like the beautiful Spanish-style architecture, but are never taught the history and struggles behind many of the buildings and landmarks on campus. Whether the University has suppressed our long history of student struggle in an effort to keep pristine its image and discourage student organizing today, or whether we as students are doing too little to preserve our rich history, it’s about time that we confront our collective amnesia and commemorate the struggles of our predecessors.
On Saturday, April 28, the Stanford Asian American Activism Committee (SAAAC) will host its ACTIVIST TOUR. The tour aims to demonstrate the complicated history of Stanford students’ struggle for social justice on- and off-campus. For example, many of the programs, community centers, services and resources for minority groups were the result of years-long student campaigns. As an alternative to the official campus tour, the Activist Tour will provide a space to confront and bring light to the injustices, controversies, and community victories in Stanford’s past and present. It will offer the opportunity to learn from the struggles of previous and current generations of activists. Furthermore, it will provide a channel to take action and identify key resources and actors that allow students to hold the university accountable to its mission for social good.
The tour has been deliberately set during Admit Weekend in order to reach out to prospective freshmen. We hope that before studying at this institution or any other, they will be more conscious of how it takes the power of the people to foster justice and equity on- and off-campus and to truly hold institutions accountable to their often lofty Mission Statements. (e.g. And its purposes, to promote the public welfare by exercising an influence in behalf of humanity and civilization, teaching the blessings of liberty regulated by law, and inculcating love and reverence for the great principles of government as derived from the inalienable rights of man to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. — Stanford’s Mission Statement)
Consider this project as a starting point—not a comprehensive work, but an attempt at a representative sample of relevant movements and moments in Stanford’s history, and a way for progressive student groups on campus to join together in representing our communities’ histories.
The tour will take place on Saturday, April 28, from 5:30-6:30. (Dinner provided!) We will be starting at at the Old Union Courtyard. Bring yourselves and your profros!
The Stanford Asian American Activism Committee (SAAAC) is a student-run, student-led grassroots organization of Asian Americans dedicated to progressive social change. We recognize the existence of global and systemic inequalities and actively work to alter these systems of power. We fight for the humanization of our communities through radical acts of love, consciousness-raising, and unified action across communities at Stanford and beyond.