College president forced to apologize after saying 'all lives matter'
The president of Smith College was forced to apologize after she sent out a campus wide email saying “all lives matter” instead of the rally cry of Ferguson protesters—“black lives matter.”
In the original email, obtained by Campus Reform, Kathleen McCartney used “all lives matter” in the email detailing the “struggle” and “hurt” the Smith community was experiencing following the non-indictment of Officer Darren Wilson, who fatally shot teenager Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri.
“We gather in vigil, we raise our voices in protest; yet we wake again to news of violence that reminds us, painfully, of the stark reality of racial injustice,” McCartney wrote.
McCartney also announced the college’s plan to institute a new Chief Diversity Officer to support programs and conversations to advance social justice.
However, it was the subject line that had Smith students up in arms. Students took to social media to chastise McCartney, blaming her skin color for her lack of understanding.
“No, Kathy. Please do not send out an email saying ‘All lives matter.’ This isn't about everyone, this is about black lives,” Sophia Buchanan, a Smith student, said on Twitter.
“[P]eople are upset because...[K]athy (and other white people) clearly doesn’t understand the importance of holding black lives central to the conversation,” one student wrote on an anonymous online confessional. “Black lives can’t be central to the conversation if the word black isn’t even in the title.”
Six hours later, McCartney apologized in a separate email to the student body, according to the Daily Hampshire Gazette. McCartney alleged that she was not aware the term "all lives matter" could be used by some on social media to supposedly counter the "black lives matter" movement.
Besides apologizing, McCartney also planned a vigil and prayer for Monday afternoon to memorialize Michael Brown, Eric Garner, and Tamir Rice. According to the Daily Hampshire Gazette, 130 people attended the vigil.
Sophomore Cecelia Lim told the news outlet that McCartney should have apologized.
“It felt like she was invalidating the experience of black lives,” said Lim.
The Daily Hampshire Gazette reports that around 50 students marched across campus and blocked traffic in a protest Sunday afternoon.
Smith College, is a private women's liberal arts school located in Massachusetts.
Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @K_Schallhorn