Every member of the YI family was heartbroken by the hateful demonstrations in Charlottesville, VA, this weekend. Below, Allie Aguilera, YI’s Press Secretary and a 2011 Graduate of the University of Virginia, shares a personal note on the events as we recommit to the fight for equity in higher education and beyond.
In the darkness of this past weekend, I found hope in the bravery of the young people who stood up against threats and hatred — from the small group of UVA students who held their ground against a torch-wielding mob to the young woman who lost her life protesting bigotry. Young people like them, and like you, are on the right side of history and will be the ones to help us carve a path forward to justice.Charlottesville, UVA’s home and mine for over four years, is an idyllic city, but by no means a unique one. What frightens me is that any campus across America, any town working to grapple with its own history on the difficult journey towards true inclusivity, could have been the target. Much of Young Invincibles’ work takes places on college campuses, and we believe strongly that colleges and universities should be beacons of hope and promise for all young Americans. As a first-generation student, who fulfilled my parent’s dreams of providing me a college education when I graduated on the very lawn that was the site of this weekend’s horrific intimidation campaign, UVA certainly was for me.I, and all of us at YI, stand steadfastly behind every young person’s right to pursue their dreams without the barrier of racism or violence, and we will keep fighting for equitable policies that address structural racism and bring us closer to making that vision a reality.We stand beside you. Wahoowa.