- By Rachel Crawford, News Editor -
On August 8, President Allen spoke out in response to proposed expansions to the 440 beltline, stating that these expansions would take away 1/5 of Meredith’s land and therefore the Department of Transportation must find an alternate route that will not take away from the historic campus. Since this news broke out, students have posted their concerns about the beltline on social media, urging their friends and followers to call the Department of Transportation and sign petitions so the “sacred” land of Meredith College would not be taken away. But I have never seen a Meredith-backed petition to stop the bulldozing of sacred Native land for the Dakota Access Pipeline (which is still a threat, by the way) or the colonization of sacred Palestinian land (another thing happening right now, today). So my question is, does sacred land only matter when it’s our own?
Maybe it’s understandable that Meredith students are more passionate about Meredith issues than they are about national or global issues. But there are so many problems on campus, too, that I have never seen talked about on Facebook or Twitter. We have major problems with racism, classism, and even, somehow, sexism. I have faith that these issues are being talked about at some level – like, I know for a fact the Black Student Union is doing their part to bring light to racism at Meredith – but angry posts and petitions about these topics don’t circulate Facebook like wildfire. Probably because real, massive, energy-draining problems like anti-Black racism or anti-immigrant sentiment don’t have the same sparkle as an outside invader coming in to mess up our Wonderland. But these problems, the institutional ones that permeate Meredith culture, are the biggest concern in my book because they subtly push anyone who’s not rich and white to the margins – so subtly, in fact, that many MCGs would tell you those problems don’t even exist at all.
I believe in knowing what you stand for and fighting for your vision of the world to come true, as long as your vision of the world is as unselfish as possible. To be clear, I don’t personally have a stake in the beltline expansion – I don’t feel that my quality of life will change dramatically if they choose to expand, and I don’t feel that our student body is entitled to any plot of land that could potentially be better serving the community as a road. However, if you are passionate about this issue, I hope you are not passionate about only this issue. Fight for justice in all its forms. Share petitions to improve inclusivity on campus. Donate to GoFundMes for the countless number of students who can’t afford their tuition or even their next meal. Find organizations in the Triangle that are doing the hard work daily to bring about that just world you’re longing for. It’s possible if you expand your mind just outside the beltline.