450 at March, Rally Against Racism

In Northampton and Amherst some 450 people attended a march and a rally protesting Smith College's decision to admit just 5 percent African American students (13 percent of Americans are black) and the University of Massachusetts Amherst's decision to admit 4 percent African American undergraduate students (8 percent of Massachusetts residents are African American). The protesters called on Smith and UMass to hire more black professors. The protests were in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement.

About 300 people attended the Northampton rally, a Smith College spokesperson told the Valley Post. The rally was organized by Smith College student Alyssa Mata-Flores and others. It was at the Smith College campus center building.

About 150 people attended the march in Amherst, which was organized by the UMass Black Student Union. A video is at:


Smith College has students from 48 of the 50 states. Roughly a quarter of UMass Amherst students are from states other than Massachusetts. Smith accepts 42 percent of people who apply to study there. UMass Amherst accepts 61 percent of people who apply to study there. All the students at Smith are women. UMass Amherst enrolls roughly equal numbers of men and women. UMass Amherst has about 22,000 undergraduate students and about 7,000 grad students. Smith has about 3,000 undergraduates and no grad students.

Four percent of UMass Amherst professors, and 4 percent of other employees at UMass, are black. Six percent of grad students at UMass Amherst are African American. The Valley Post e-mailed the Smith spokeswoman for the equivalent data; this article will be updated when she responds.

The march and rally were on November 18. One of the major goals of the Black Lives Matter movement is to end mass incarceration. No major nation incarcerates such a high percentage of its people. As of 2008, the USA had about 751 people in prison or jail for every 100,000 in population. "England's rate is 151; Germany's is 88; and Japan's is 63." That's according to "U.S. prison population dwarfs that of other nations," an article by Adam Liptak that appeared in the New York Times on April 23, 2008. Those numbers were virtually unchanged as of 2013.

In the USA, African American and Latino people are far more likely to be in prison than white people. The book "Guns, Germs, and Steel" by Jared Diamond explains why the average black person is much poorer than the average white person. Rich people can afford better lawyers.

Local groups working to address these issues can be reached via:




I love that the Valley Post is covering the uprising around New England on so many fronts. Some great stuff coming from Eesha Williams and from our residents. Glad to see the positive energy for change!

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