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What Happened on that Bus in Albany, NY?

March 8, 2016
Plain English Version
Rally at State University at Albany. Credit: Albany Times Union.

Rally at State University at Albany. Credit: Albany Times Union.

The city of Albany is the capital of New York State. It is also home to the State University at Albany. Three female black students boarded a bus in Albany on January 30, 2016.

Later, they told police what happened. They said a group of white men yelled racial slurs at them. They said nobody on the bus even tried to stop them.

The incident led to a rally on the campus against racism. It drew hundreds of people. The president of the university was emotional about racism.

One of the young women said, “We are shocked, upset, but we will remain unbroken. We stand here with strength. Because we value our worth as black women and as human beings in general.”

The university and the community vowed to make the school more diverse. They vowed to make changes that would help people of color.

A few weeks later, the authorities said the charge was a lie. Videos did not support the accounts of the young women. Other passengers said it did not happen. They said the women were “the aggressors.” They said one black young woman hit a 19-year old white woman on the bus.

Authorities charged the students with misdemeanor assault and making false statements. The students are pleading not guilty.

There were different reactions. Some felt that good would still come out of this moment of introspection. There were feelings of unity. A rally leader said, “People were forced to think about things that they did not think about before. So do we now stop defending black women because of what happened?”

Was it a hoax? Other reactions to the charges are also as expected. The young women have been subject to terrible comments on social media.

Some black students are calling the students’ charges a betrayal. One young black woman said, “It is disappointing and saddening. Somebody who seemed to be trying to help the movement would be the one to set it back.”

Did the charges increase awareness? Or if they were false did they set the movement back?

The outcome of the matter matters.

Source: The New York Times March 1, 2016

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