Hofstra activists want to remove Thomas Jefferson statue



Hofstra students like Jefferson statue removed

Students argue that the Founding Father is an icon to white supremacists.

Student activists at Hofstra University demands the removal of a statue of Thomas Jefferson of the campus.

Yes Loni Owens, a Hofstra student, and Black Life activist, started with a petition that warns it will be the discussion on “slavery, rape, eugenics, anti-black racism’ and claims that the Founding Father’s statue belongs in a museum with the proper context, “does not appear on a college campus, especially not in front of a hub of student life.”

Owens focused specifically on the “white allies” in their Facebook event for the Friday protest “Jefferson Has Gotta Go!” to be held at the statue in front of the student center.

Hofstra University student-activists want to remove a statue of Thomas Jefferson, because they claim that he is an “icon” for the KKK and white supremacists.

(With thanks to Yes’Loni Owens)

“Please understand that this is a protest against white supremacy and that you as a white people – even if you’re already allies, benefit from white supremacy!” Owens wrote. “Your task is to fight! Come prepared to step up as racist comments, or otherwise hurtful things will be said that the organizers of color or poc to attend. If you are able, come prepared to keep posters and such….PROTEST.”

Owens added a stern warning to white students: “do not come and take selfies for your Instagram feed, or SO help ME GOD.”

The demonstration leader also warned non-black people of color (POC):

“Y’all are POC, but not everyone has the roots walk by slavery. Pls respect! Not to derail! There is space for all of us!!! POC solidarity, pls!”

While the university approved the protest, Owens wrote that “if Hofstra was supportive and embraced anti-racist work, we wouldn’t protest.”

The protest is co-sponsored by a number of campus organizations: Campus Feminist Collective, Collegiate Women of Color, Democrats of Hofstra University, Hofstra History Club, Hofstra NAACP Chapter, Peace Action Issues, Queer & Trans People of Color Coalition, Student Advocates of safe Sex, sexual Identity Federation, The Pride Network of Hofstra University, and the Young Democratic Socialists of Hofstra.

When reached for comment, the organizers pointed out in the description of the event.

“Jefferson’s values helped in the construction of institutionalised racism and justified the oppression of the black population in the United States,” the petition reads, claimed, “Jefferson has been embraced as an icon by white supremacist and neo-nazi organizations such as the Ku Klux Klan and online white supremacist chat rooms…”

But not everyone on campus supports the protest.

“Not to bring problems, but I would like to point out that if you are making the protest about your right to freedom of expression, do not forget that people like Jefferson gave you that right,” Hofstra student Conor Dawson wrote, as reported by

In February, Owens held a “silent protest” to “draw attention to racism Hofstra on campus” and remembered Trayvon Martin by a piece of paper that said “Black Lives Matter” on the Jefferson statue.

Hofstra University not immediately respond to request for comment.

Caleb Parke is an associate editor for You can follow him on Twitter @calebparke

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