By Daniela Raymond
Parents send their children off to college to learn in a safe environment where they can grow and be fulfilled with life experiences. Black students do not often get this experience due to constantly living in fear of targeted hate crimes at historically Black colleges and universities.
For weeks, there have been a series of bomb threats at historically Black colleges and universities throughout the country. These bomb threats have come during a politically tense time in the United States. When Black students live in fear everyday of being hate crimed even walking down the street, they are now subject to the same actions at their universities.
Nearly 20 HBCUs in five states and the District of Columbia received bomb threats since Feb. 1.
According to PBS News the FBI have “identified six tech savvy juveniles as people of interest in the latest threats, adding that they have appeared to have racist motivations.” The timing of these threats have been uncanny as Black students celebrated Black history month in February. These spaces at historically Black universities were created as a safe space for students to achieve and learn with a freedom that wasn’t always applied to them without fear.
There is no coincidence that the time of these bombs threats began during February.
These acts of terrorism against the Black community thankfully have not physically harmed students, but the emotional toll that has taken on the Black community is even greater. The root of white supremacy is destroying the sovereignty of Black people, especially in predominantly Black spaces.
“I just feel like people really need to be held accountable, and schools should be taking precautions,” Jaida Jenkins, a Senior sociology major, said. “Figuring out who’s doing it and law enforcement should be taking this extremely seriously. We need to be holding them accountable.”
On the SUNY Plattsburgh website, under Campus Emergency Procedures, there is a section for bomb threat procedures, including a link to ‘What You can Do When There is a Bomb Threat’ video by U.S. Homeland Security. There is also a threat checklist, outlining signs of a threat and contact information for University Police, as well as things to do if a threat takes place. Additionally, there is also a list of crisis hot lines, as a bomb threat is a serious matter.
Black students want to get an education, trying to better themselves in a world that is constantly putting them down. HBCUs are now on high alert keeping their guards up, but unfortunately this is not something new to them. They have been facing diversity and triumph through adversity since the beginning.
On Black campuses these threats carry too much history to be dismissed, these hate crimes are not yet in the past. The fear and anxiety of these attacks is still in the heart of students and will be difficult to overcome. As Black students’ adversity is nothing new, everyday the world brings challenges that their white counterparts will never face.
HBCUs were created to be sacred Black spaces and have continued to complete that purpose when faced with the threat of white supremacy. This is not the first time that these universities have been put in danger, but as history prevails they will rise above.