Ethnic Studies with professors and hiring power
Major Cultures with classes on colonialism and race
responsibly through community input
Increase administrative support

This is what we are fighting for. Support the strike & sign the petition. Contact us at

Friday, November 9, 2007

Statement of Solidarity: Alexis Pauline Gumbs

These words of support come from a former Columbia student involved in the protests surrounding the hate crimes and bias incidents of 2004. This piece was originally read during her time here at CU.


No Place Like...
Living in a Small Brown Place
Self, Space and Universe(city)

It comes as a great shock to discover that the country which is your birthplace and to which you owe your life and identity has not, in its whole system of reality evolved any place for you.
—James Baldwin (boldness mine)

Home. A small brown place.

Who would have thought standing up would be such a complex contortion, or that walking on brick would become such a frantic dance? I often wonder if I really have the nerve to be all at once black and woman and visible and here for even one more minute. The space that I am completely free in ends at (and too often because of) the barrier of my brown skin.

Home. A small brown place.

And even that barrier is at risk. I earn my keep at this university by embodying diversity. By being the one on the panel
heading the committee
writing the article
explainingexplaining breathing and explaining.

Home. A small brown place.

Columbia University, despite its lies to itself and you,
despite not paying taxes
despite real estate takeover
is in Harlem.

Home. A small brown place.

The Intercultural Resource Center is a never-been-big-enough brownstone. What I do here is called living. The floors and doors are me-colored wood, but if you look, the walls and ceilings are definitely white. I spend most of my time in here staining white paper and the walls themselves with words colored like hope.

Home. A small brown place.

I am convinced that constant movement in my legs, feet, arms, and hands will grant me infinity despite my less than 100 brown pounds. I am convinced that I have every right to stand on the sundial and scream for joy in the middle of the day, because I am the place where the sun makes her mark. I try harder to believe those engravings about the public good on Low Library every time I walk by. I think when those words change from stone and live and breathe they'll look a lot like me and you. Prove me right.