Things That Matter

Black Harvard Law Students Are Saying That They Are In Fear Of Their Lives After Menacing Racist Emails Were Sent To Them

This past spring the world of academia proved just how little it cares for minority and disadvantaged students when it was revealed that various colleges and universities across the country were involved in a millions of dollars bribing scheme. In short, the scheme gave affluent students “back door” access to elite schools and proved just how important programs like affirmative action are for minority students. Of course, few were surprised when news broke that these students had paid their way into some of the country’s top schools. In fact, for many, it proved once again, that in a lot of ways money really buy you everything even a Harvard degree. Now, a new report from Buzzfeed News is reminding us once again, how little academic centers advocate for its students of color.  

In a new report by the news outlet, four first-year Harvard Law School students complained they have been targeted by racist and sexist emails and text messages from another student. They’re accusing Harvard Law School of not doing enough to deal with the verbal threats and harassment. 

The students are accusing Harvard Law School of upholding racist and sexist views by not doing anything to support them.

According to BuzzfeedNews, the students emailed the dean of the law school, describing the messages as containing “racist taunts about affirmative action and intelligence” and “body-shaming.” 

The email’s and text messages contained “other personal insults.” The emails and text messages were sent from an anonymous source to black and woman students during their first-year between December 2018 and March 2019. 

BuzzFeed News reports that of the 80 students in the section, nine are black and 21 are “other minorities.” The first student that began receiving threatening text messages was one of the black students, Mo Light. The message Light received came from “impeachmo@gmail.com” and the sender stated that the student didn’t “belong here.” 

“You’re just here because of affirmative action, why even try?,” the sender wrote. “Everyone at [Harvard Law School] thinks you’re a joke, but I guess your section is lucky to have a curve boost.” 

(Photo credit: Mo Light, via BuzzFeed News) 

Immediately, Light took action and told a faculty member about the email he had received. He also tells BuzzFeed that he filed a police report with the Harvard University Police Department. 

“My initial reaction, ‘Wow, this is upsetting,’ but it’s not surprising, given that this is just living while black,'” Light told BuzzFeed News. Despite reaching out to faculty and the university police department, the messages would continue and now to other students of their class. 

Chris Volcy, one of the students who was also targeted, told BuzzFeed News the messages made her feel unsafe and uncomfortable going to class. “It was all we could think about… all we could talk about, all we were focusing on, instead of our schoolwork,” said Volcy. 

Another student, Chelsea Rooney, told the publication that the messages deeply disturbed her and she decided to report them to the administration. “In the era of school shootings, in this era of white supremacy, really and the violence and anger that goes along with that, I think it was our duty as students to bring this forward.”

(Photo credit: Chris Volcy via BuzzFeed News) 

“It would have been really irresponsible for us to receive these messages, know that someone is exhibiting really bizarre behavior, and not say anything,” the student said. 

The black students who were targeted said they felt the attacks were racist while the other two women students believed they were targeted due to other personal issues with the supposed sender. They also told BuzzFeed News that they had an idea of who the suspected sender was. 

Ultimately, the students believe the reports were ignored and their concerns weren’t addressed. 

Now, they’re accusing Harvard Law of not doing enough to support them.

In a statement from Harvard Law School to BuzzFeed News, a spokesperson for the school said that none of the messages the students received “threaten[ed] any type of violence.” The spokesperson also said they couldn’t “publicly disclose” the details of the investigation in order to “protect the respective rights of all parties.” 

However, we can’t help but wonder, where was this “respect” when the worried students reached out to school administration addressing their concerns?

The other students who received abusive, sexist and racist text messages were told to “no one likes you gtfo.” Chelsea Rooney was also called a “horse face from Texas” by the anonymous sender. Another woman student, who asked to remain anonymous, was called a “fat overweight pig.”

One would think that given the political climate in the country, Harvard Law School would act appropriately and try harder to find the culprit. Given the institutions elite status, one would also think that after the 2019 college admissions bribery scandal, universities and colleges across the country would think twice before letting something like this escalate.

Twitter users also rallied behind the students who are accusing another student of targetting them with racist and sexist emails and text messages.

One woman said Harvard Law school must “identify and excise” the person that’s responsible for harassing the students. 

Another Twitter user called Harvard Law School a “scam” and “shameful.”

“They do not support or protect their students of color or their women students,” the Twitter user said.

A Harvard Law School student also chimed in and said that when “elite institutions permit racist and sexist abuse their students” and don’t do anything about it, it speaks volumes.

“It endorses the racists’ message: You don’t belong here,” he writes. 

The law student also urged other Twitter users to sign the students’ petition to Harvard Law School, demanding a serious response to this racism and sexism.

“The school’s response was disheartening, but your action and emails helped us get our first response from the school.  We cannot thank you enough,” Chris Volcy, Chelsea Rooney, and Mo Light write in the petition. “But trust us when we say that there is evidence to make a determination on the identity of the sender, and we want to see why the school decided to let us attend classes with an individual capable of sending the attached messages from anonymous emails and unknown phone numbers. If you think that the school should at least release the investigation report to the members of Section 7 so that we can understand their decision, please sign this petition.” 

Colombia Is On Alert After Six Candidates Running For Mayor Have Been Murdered In The Past Six Weeks

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Colombia Is On Alert After Six Candidates Running For Mayor Have Been Murdered In The Past Six Weeks

Stern / Instagram

Yesterday saw police in Colombia arrest two people in connection to the death of Orley García, the mayoral candidate for the municipality of Toledo. But the wildest thing is that García isn’t the first mayoral candidate to have been killed this election cycle in Colombia. In fact, he’s actually the sixth

The most heartbreaking death was that of Karina García.

Pinterest / The Guardian

The 32-year-old was running to be the first female mayor in the rural municipality of Toledo when she was attacked. Following a day of campaigning on September 1, García was returning to her hometown of Suarez when the car she was traveling in was shot at, before being set on fire. Six people died from the attack, including García’s mother, three local activists and a candidate for the municipal council, who were also in the car at the time. According to authorities, a grenade was used in the attack. Somehow, though, García’s bodyguard, who was driving the vehicle, survived.

Before she was killed, Karina reported receiving threats and asked for security.

Twitter / @JZulver

A reward of almost $44,000 has been offered for information leading to the capture of the dissidents who were responsible for the murder of Karina García, who is survived by her husband and three year old son. It seems like a case of too little, too late, though, as García had already reported to authorities that she was on the receiving end of death threats. It was only in August that four armed men confronted members of her campaign, ordering them to take down banners and posters supporting her candidacy. García took to social media, calling on authorities to protect her and her fellow candidates against harm. “Please, for God’s sake, don’t act so irresponsibly,” she said in a video posted to Facebook on August 24. “This can bring fatal consequences for me.”

Authorities are blaming the killings on FARC rebels.

Instagram / @stern

And just who are FARC? The Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia, on the most fundamental level, are a guerilla movement that began in 1964. Motivated by Marxist-Leninist leanings, on paper they’re a peasant force that promotes anti-imperialism. However, what this means in practice is that they kidnap, ransom, drug run and extort their way into opposing Colombian authorities and consolidating power. By the time 2016 rolled around though, the group was running out of steam. This led to a ceasefire accord between FARC and the President of Colombia, Juan Manuel Santos. June 2017 saw FARC hand over its weapons to the United Nations.

Yes, FARC legitimized itself legally but several dissidents disagree with that decision.

Instagram / @leperejulot

Obviously, that’s not the end of the story. Despite the peace deal, and despite the fact that FARC had officially announced its transformation into a legal, political party, there are still plenty of dissidents out there who disagree with the change and still operate under the original FARC doctrine. What’s most likely sparked the recent mayoral candidate killings is FARC’s announcement, on Youtube no less, that it’s resorting to violence due to the Colombian government’s failure to comply with the peace agreements from 2016. Of course, Colombian officials heartily disagreed with this statement, and responded with offensive strikes against FARC.

This has basically turned into tic for tac killing.

Twitter / @Citytv

And the repercussions of the violence and killings are far-reaching. Beyond the devastated friends and family left behind, this also spells trouble for the democratic process in Colombia. Because who’s going to risk running for office, if they’re risking not only their own life, but the lives of their friends, family and coworkers? And who’s going to even consider turning up to vote, when the candidates themselves are being murdered, left, right, and center? It’s hard to conceive of cultural and legislative change in a country where part of what needs to be changed is what’s preventing change in the first place.

The other thing to keep in mind is that this is the exact kind of violence that people are fleeing when they arrive at the US border and make an appeal for asylum.

Instagram / @every_day_donald_trump

It’s a legitimate fear: the operation of gangs and cartels negatively impacts on the safety of the citizenry, as well as influencing the way that the entire country can be governed. However, because US legislation under the Trump administration states that asylum seekers cannot be granted refuge against gang violence, it means that these people have no choice but to go back to their country of origin and continue to risk theirs and their family’s lives. Something’s gotta give – otherwise, we’re going to see a lot more deaths at the hands of these gangs.

At this stage, we can only keep our eyes peeled for more news coming out from Colombia, as the elections are to be held October 27, across almost 1,100 municipalities. Unfortunately, with the murder of the sixth mayoral candidate in Colombia, this marks an even more violent election season than that of 2015, which saw the deaths of five mayoral candidates.

Here’s What Happened When Alyssa Milano Live-Streamed Her Gun Reform Discussion With Ted Cruz

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Here’s What Happened When Alyssa Milano Live-Streamed Her Gun Reform Discussion With Ted Cruz

milano_alyssa / Instagram

Hollywood actress Alyssa Milano has long been using her platform to creatively advocate for political change in America. In the past, she’s even called on women to partake in a sex strike in response to the onslaught of abortion ban bills that swept the nation. More recently, she’s taken to calling out the elected officials whose careers are most benefitted by the National Rifle Association (NRA). The Congressperson who received the highest donation from the NRA and other gun-rights organizations is none other than Texas Republican Ted Cruz. 

The two have been spitting fire at each other via Twitter for the last few weeks. All of it culminated in an actual, real-live, live-streamed meeting between the two Tuesday morning. Why was it live-streamed? Because Milano wanted to make sure “the American people can hear your bullshit 1st hand.”

Alyssa Milano told Ted Cruz that part of the reason she wanted to meet was to make sure he was a human being. Literally.

Credit: @BIZPACReview / Twitter

“That is why this meeting was so important to me,” she told him during the live stream. “I wanted to look at you in the eye and know that you really are a human with a heartbeat.” Ted Cruz started the meeting by telling Milano that he was a fan of “Who’s the Boss?” and “Commando,” while Milano started by letting Cruz know his politics on gun control “has made you almost like this caricature of a villain.”

The two talked for more than an hour on gun control, with Milano beginning the conversation by imploring, “I’m asking you, begging you, to have the courage to lead.” In the room was also Fred Guttenberg, whose daughter was murdered during the Parkland shooting. 

Cruz didn’t make any revolutionary statements throughout the meeting, arguing that merely having a civil discussion is a triumph.

Credit: @SenTedCruz / Twitter

“This is a divided time. This is an angry time. … I think it is beneficial for is to have a human conversation,” Cruz said. “I also hope that just seeing people on different places on the spectrum, treating people with civility and humanity, that is contagious.” Instead of agreeing to introduce or urge the Senate to discuss new gun control laws, Cruz instead wanted to “focus on policies that would really stop these crimes.” Cruz claims to be leading the charge on preventing mass shootings in America by proposing harsher prosecutions of gun cases and making background checks more “accurate.”

Cruz and Milano agreed to meet last week, after tweeting jabs at each other over their stances on gun control.

Credit: @Alyssa_Milano / Twitter

We hear that a lot, right? The “God-given right” to own guns in America. Cruz decided to respond to Milano, tweeting, “it is of course not the right to a modern-day firearm that is God-given but rather the right to Life & the right to Liberty. Essential to that right is the right to DEFEND your life & your family.”

Cruz gave a lengthy (for Twitter) response to Milano:

Credit: @tedcruz / Twitter

He went on to say, “The right to self-defense is recognized repeatedly in the Bible, eg Exodus 22:2: ‘If a thief is caught breaking in at night & is struck a fatal blow, the defender is not guilty of bloodshed.’ (Note, though, verse 3 says it IS murder if during daylight (ie, not self-defense). The Declaration of Independence acknowledges our rights thusly: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” And, for that reason, the Second Amendment provides “the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, SHALL NOT be infringed.” It wasn’t to protect people’s ability to hunt, or to shoot target practice, but to defend their lives, their homes & their families. Stephen Willeford exercised that fundamental right when he risked his own life to stop the Sutherland Springs murderer, saving countless others as a result.” 

Just like that, the meeting was born in resentment and frustration but seemed to end in civil resentment and frustration.

Credit: @Alyssa_Milano / Twitter

After the meeting, Milano tweeted, “He was gracious. I’m unsure if it changes anything. But appreciative for the opportunity to bridge the divide with civil, meaningful discussion.” Cruz described the meeting as “productive and respectful.” Basically, nothing noteworthy really happened except for that Alyssa Milano gave Ted Cruz a hug. What is noteworthy is that civil discourse cannot sway the NRA-lined pockets of Ted Cruz.

READ: Ted Cruz’s Legal Team Believes That His Fight For $10,000 Is The Same As Rosa Parks’s Fight For Civil Rights