Regarding the Jan. 22 letter “No need for the Silent Sam ruckus”:
One day in my freshman year at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, I went off campus to go out with my friend. As I passed the quad that held “Silent Sam,” I was met with a sea of Confederate flags and white-supremacist demonstrators. I was shocked. I was afraid. I had been at UNC for eight weeks, and I felt the need to hide in my new home.
Even before last semester, our campus has been in a constant state of alert. The first and last thing I saw on campus every day was a monument to the Confederacy watched over by police. All this to protect a monument to the subjugation of people who look like me. I’m black, but my ancestors were not held in bondage by those states that joined to protect the institution of slavery. My family is from the Caribbean. It does not matter. I have an immovable target on my back.
I cannot tell you how many times my thesis adviser pleaded with me to stay away from McCorkle Place, where the statue was situated, especially during rallies, for fear for my safety. I cannot tell you how many conversations I have had with my fellow students of color who felt devalued by the university’s unwillingness to denounce white supremacy. It is important to remember the past, the good and the bad, but it is also important for a university to protect its students and make them feel welcome in their home.
Jermaine Bryant, Chapel Hill, N.C.