Using Religion Against Contraception: Part 2

Tyler LePard

Editor's note: Some of the links in this post are audio clips; click on them to listen to Allan Carlson in a new window.

[img_assist|nid=598|title=Special Series|desc=|link=none|align=left|width=100|height=67]Welcome back to Rewire's series about the emerging war on contraception. In this episode, I will analyze Allan Carlson's presentation on "The Emptied Quiver: The Protestant Embrace of Contraception." As the daughter of two Lutheran ministers, I found Carlson's narrow take on Christianity, Martin Luther and the burden of families on clergy particularly interesting. His anti-feminist lecture examined Protestant roots against contraception and celibacy and their departure from that position, ending with an appeal for Protestants to return to their original opinion.

Editor's note: Some of the links in this post are audio clips; click on them to listen to Allan Carlson in a new window.

Welcome back to Rewire's series about the emerging war on contraception. In this episode, I will analyze Allan Carlson's presentation on "The Emptied Quiver: The Protestant Embrace of Contraception." As the daughter of two Lutheran ministers, I found Carlson's narrow take on Christianity, Martin Luther and the burden of families on clergy particularly interesting. His anti-feminist lecture examined Protestant roots against contraception and celibacy and their departure from that position, ending with an appeal for Protestants to return to their original opinion.

Similar to Rev. Euteneuer, Carlson used religion as his main argument against contraception. But instead of a focus on Catholicism, he addressed Protestant ideals and dilemmas. Carlson was born Lutheran and wants to open debate about contraception between Catholics and Protestants. According to him, Martin Luther was wrong to think life-long celibacy was not possible – just look at priests (well, not all priests, but he didn't mention that). Apparently, Luther also opposed contraception (including withdrawal) because marriage and procreation are divinely ordained. People like Luther are who Monty Python lampooned with their song "Every Sperm is Sacred." However, the Protestant stance on contraception changed over time.

The Achilles Heel of Protestantism, according to Carlson, is "the informal institution of the pastor's family" because it places a great burden on clergymen to serve as examples of model and fruitful homes. Speaking from experience, I have to acknowledge that my mom's job as a pastor keeps her extremely busy tending to her flock and spreading the Word. But she always made time for my brother and me, creating a healthy balance between work and home. I also know that she would never give up her family. If Protestant ministers were forced to choose between their jobs and having families, I think there would be a lot of "Wanted" signs hanging in church windows, just as the Catholic Church often laments a shortage of men going into the priesthood.

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Carlson also calls the ordination of women (which he blames on feminist power) "a nearly fatal blow to that informal Protestant institution of the pastor's wife." His reasoning? The change in gender roles added the stress of being model mothers "with full quivers of children" to being a good spiritual leader. To me, it doesn't seem like such a stretch. Don't some people consider mothers saints anyway? Caring for a congregation seems like an extension of family – mothers would be perfect for that job. Mine is, anyway. I've always been proud of my mom for being a strong leader in the community, as well as a great parent.

Let's step back and examine the goal of Catholics reaching out to Protestants to encourage them to return to their roots of opposing contraception and embracing procreation. I pointed out in my previous post that the majority of Catholics don't oppose contraception in the first place. In addition, Carlson uses misinformation that contraception is abortion, which is untrue. But moving past that, Protestants are a large and diverse group with varying beliefs and cultural practices. My mother gets upset when "Christians" are all lumped together in the same category and are assumed to push a conservative agenda. "Christians" include Catholics, Lutherans, Presbyterians, Episcopalians, Methodists, Baptists, and many more – all of whom have different values and traditions. Not to mention the huge variation within each of those denominations.

Some Christian groups tend to be more conservative on certain issues than others, but there is also a thriving social justice movement in many denominations. Look at the movement to shut down the School of the Americas; many of the people who get arrested during peaceful protests at Fort Benning are priests and nuns. Other examples are the efforts by religious groups to end poverty, rebuild communities struck by disasters, and improve global health. Even on the largely divisive issues, such as abortion and homosexuality, there are groups on both sides within most religious communities.

Christians are not against contraception (or abortion). That label encompasses too much variety and too many different people to take a definite position on one issue or another. This small extremist group of Christians may be against contraception, but they do not speak for the rest of us.

Roundups Politics

Trump Taps Extremists, Anti-Choice Advocates in Effort to Woo Evangelicals

Ally Boguhn

Representatives from radical anti-abortion group Operation Rescue praised Trump’s commitment to its shared values during the event. “I’m very impressed that Mr. Trump would sit with conservative leaders for multiple questions, and then give direct answers,” said the organization's president, Troy Newman, who was in attendance at a question-and-answer event on Tuesday.

Making a play to win over the evangelical community, presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump met with more than 1,000 faith and anti-choice leaders on Tuesday for a question-and-answer event in New York City and launched an “evangelical advisory board” to weigh in on how he should approach key issues for the voting bloc.

The meeting was meant to be “a guided discussion between Trump and diverse conservative Christian leaders to better understand him as a person, his position on important issues and his vision for America’s future,” according to a press release from the event’s organizers. As Rewire previously reported, numerous anti-choice and anti-LGBTQ leaders—many of them extremists—were slated to attend.

Though the event was closed to the media, Trump reportedly promised to lift a ban on tax-exempt organizations from politicking and discussed his commitment to defending religious liberties. Trump’s pitch to conservatives also included a resolution that upon his election, “the first thing we will do is support Supreme Court justices who are talented men and women, and pro-life,” according to a press release from United in Purpose, which helped organize the event.

Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the anti-choice Susan B. Anthony List, told the New York Times that the business mogul also reiterated promises to defund Planned Parenthood and to pass the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, a 20-week abortion ban based on the medically unsupported claim that a fetus feels pain at that point in a pregnancy.

In a post to its website, representatives from radical anti-abortion group Operation Rescue praised Trump’s commitment to their shared values during the event. “I’m very impressed that Mr. Trump would sit with conservative leaders for multiple questions, and then give direct answers,” said the group’s president, Troy Newman, who was in attendance. “I don’t believe anything like this has ever happened.” The post went on to note that Trump had also said he would appoint anti-choice justices to federal courts, and repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

Just after the event, Trump’s campaign announced the formation of an evangelical advisory board. The group was “convened to provide advisory support to Mr. Trump on those issues important to Evangelicals and other people of faith in America,” according to a press release from the campaign. Though members of the board, which will lead Trump’s “much larger Faith and Cultural Advisory Committee to be announced later this month,” were not asked to endorse Trump, the campaign went on to note that “the formation of the board represents Donald J. Trump’s endorsement of those diverse issues important to Evangelicals and other Christians, and his desire to have access to the wise counsel of such leaders as needed.”

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Much like the group that met with Trump on Tuesday, the presumptive Republican nominee’s advisory board roster reads like a who’s-who of conservatives with radical opposition to abortion and LGBTQ equality. Here are some of the group’s most notable members:

Michele Bachmann

Though former Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann once claimed that “women don’t need anyone to tell them what to do on health care” while arguing against the ACA during a 2012 appearance on NBC’s Meet the Press, her views on the government’s role in restricting reproductive health and rights don’t square away with that position.

During a December 2011 “tele-town hall” event hosted by anti-choice organization Personhood USA, Bachmann reportedly falsely referred to emergency contraception as “abortion pills” and joined other Republican then-presidential candidates to advocate for making abortion illegal, even in cases of rape, incest, or life endangerment. During the event, Bachmann touted her support of the anti-choice group’s “personhood pledge,” which required presidential candidates to agree that:

I stand with President Ronald Reagan in supporting “the unalienable personhood of every American, from the moment of conception until natural death,” and with the Republican Party platform in affirming that I “support a human life amendment to the Constitution, and endorse legislation to make clear that the 14th Amendment protections apply to unborn children.

Such a policy, if enacted by lawmakers, could outlaw abortion and many forms of contraception. A source from Personhood USA told the Huffington Post that Bachmann “signed the pledge and returned it within twenty minutes, which was an extraordinarily short amount of time.”

Bachmann has also claimed that God told her to introduce a measure to block marriage equality in her home state, that being an LGBTQ person is “ part of Satan,” and that same-sex marriage is a “radical experiment that will have “profound consequences.”

Mark Burns

Televangelist Mark Burns has been an ardent supporter of Trump, even appearing on behalf of the presidential candidate at February’s Faith and Family Forum, hosted by the conservative Palmetto Family Council, to deliver an anti-abortion speech.

In March, Burns also claimed that he supported Donald Trump because Democrats like Hillary Clinton supported Black “genocide” (a frequently invoked conservative myth) during an appearance on the fringe-conspiracy program, the Alex Jones show. “That’s really one of my major platforms behind Donald Trump,” said Burns, according to the Daily Beast. “He loves babies. Donald Trump is a pro-baby candidate, and it saddens me how we as African Americans are rallying behind … a party that is okay with the genocide of Black people through abortion.”

Burns’ support of Trump extended to the candidate’s suggestion that if abortion was made illegal, those who have abortions should be punished—an issue on which Trump has repeatedly shifted stances. “If the state made it illegal and said the premature death of an unborn child constituted murder, anyone connected to that crime should be held liable,” Burns told the Wall Street Journal in April. “If you break the law there should be punishment.”

Kenneth and Gloria Copeland

Kenneth and Gloria Copeland founded Kenneth Copeland Ministries (KCM), which, according to its mission statement, exists to “teach Christians worldwide who they are in Christ Jesus and how to live a victorious life in their covenant rights and privileges.” Outlining their opposition to abortion in a post this month on the organization’s website, the couple wrote that abortion is wrong even in cases of rape, incest, or life endangerment. “As the author of life, God considers an unborn child to be an eternal being from the moment of its conception,” explained the post. “To deliberately destroy that life before birth would be as much premeditated murder as taking the life of any other innocent person.”

The article went on to say that though it may “seem more difficult in cases such as those involving rape or incest” not to choose abortion, “God has a plan for the unborn child,” falsely claiming that the threat of life endangerment has “been almost completely alleviated through modern medicine.”

The ministries’ website also features Pregnancy Options Centre, a crisis pregnancy center (CPC) in Vancouver, Canada, that receives “financial and spiritual support” from KCM and “its Partners.” The vast majority of CPCs  regularly lie to women in order to persuade them not to have an abortion.

Kenneth Copeland, in a June 2013 sermon, tied pedophilia to the Supreme Court’s decision in Roe v. Wade, going on to falsely claim that the ruling did not actually legalize abortion and that the decision was “the seed to murder our seed.” Copeland blamed legal abortion for the country’s economic woes, reasoning that there are “several million taxpayers that are not alive.”

Copeland, a televangelist, originally supported former Republican presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz (TX) in the 2016 Republican primary, claiming that the candidate had been “called and appointed” by God to be the next president. His ministry has previously faced scrutiny about its tax-exempt status under an investigation led by Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) into six ministries “whose television preaching bankrolled leaders’ lavish lifestyles.” This investigation concluded in 2011, according to the New York Times.

James Dobson

James Dobson, founder and chairman emeritus of Focus on the Family (FoF), previously supported Cruz in the Republican primary, releasing an ad for the campaign in February praising Cruz for defending “the sanctity of human life and traditional marriage.” As Rewire previously reported, both Dobson and his organization hold numerous extreme views:

Dobson’s FoF has spent millions promoting its anti-choice and anti-LGBTQ extremism, even dropping an estimated $2.5 million in 2010 to fund an anti-choice Super Bowl ad featuring conservative football player Tim Tebow. Dobson also founded the … Family Research Council, now headed by Tony Perkins.

Dobson’s own personal rhetoric is just as extreme as the causes his organization pushes. As extensively documented by Right Wing Watch,

Dobson has:

Robert Jeffress

A Fox News contributor and senior pastor of First Baptist Church of Dallas, Jeffress once suggested that the 9/11 attacks took place because of legal abortion. “All you have to do is look in history to see what God does with a nation that sanctions the killing of its own children,” said Jeffress at Liberty University’s March 2015 convocation, according to Right Wing Watch. “God will not allow sin to go unpunished and he certainly won’t allow the sacrifice of children to go unpunished.”

Jeffress spoke about the importance of electing Trump during a campaign rally in February, citing Democrats’ positions on abortion rights and Trump’s belief “in protecting the unborn.” He went on to claim that if Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) or Hillary Clinton were elected, “there is no doubt you’re going to have the most pro-abortion president in history.”

After Trump claimed women who have abortions should be punished should it become illegal, Jeffres rushed to defend the Republican candidate from bipartisan criticism, tweeting: “Conservatives’ outrage over @realDonaldTrump abortion comments hypocritical. Maybe they don’t really believe abortion is murder.”

As documented by Media Matters, Jeffress has frequently spoken out against those of other religions and denominations, claiming that Islam is “evil” and Catholicism is “what Satan does with counterfeit religion.” The pastor has also demonstrated extreme opposition to LGBTQ equality, even claiming that same-sex marriage is a sign of the apocalypse.

Richard Land

Richard Land, now president of the Southern Evangelical Seminary, was named one of Time Magazine‘s “25 Most Influential Evangelicals in America” in 2005 for his close ties with the Republican party. While George W. Bush was president, Land participated in the administration’s “weekly teleconference with other Christian conservatives, to plot strategy on such issues as gay marriage and abortion.” Bush also appointed Land to the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom in 2002.

According to a 2002 article from the Associated Press, during his early academic career in Texas, “Land earned a reputation as a leader among abortion opponents and in 1987 became an administrative assistant to then-Texas Gov. Bill Clements, who fought for laws to restrict a woman’s right to an abortion” in the state.

Land had previously expressed “dismay” that some evangelicals were supporting Trump, claiming in October that he “take[s] that [support] as a failure on our part to adequately disciple our people.”

Analysis Human Rights

The Students of Color on the Front Lines of Yale’s Fight Against Institutional Racism

Zoe Greenberg

“When we’re applying, Yale’s like, ‘Please come here, it’s so diverse, we do all of these things!’ But when we get here, it’s like, ‘OK. You’re on your own,’” Brea Baker, a Black senior and president of Yale’s NAACP chapter, told Rewire in a phone interview. “The Yale that we’re being sold is not the Yale that we live on a daily basis.”

Near midnight on October 31, 2015, Rose Bear Don’t Walk and two friends stood outside a bar next to the Yale University campus, waiting to get into a Halloween party. Bear Don’t Walk, a senior at Yale and a Native American from the Bitterroot Salish and Crow Tribes in Montana, usually dreaded Halloween, when many of her peers dressed up like caricatures of Native Americans, with “war paint” streaked across their faces and feathers protruding from their hair.

But this year she was having an unexpectedly good time. A woman dressed in a cartoonish Native American costume had actually taken it off and handed it over earlier in the night, after Bear Don’t Walk explained that the outfit was disrespectful. Now outside the bar, Bear Don’t Walk saw a group of three men, one of whom was wearing a caricatured Native American headdress. Buoyed by her earlier experience, she decided to talk to him.

A few days before, the Intercultural Affairs Committee (IAC) at Yale had sent an email encouraging students to avoid costumes that would be disrespectful to minority races or ethnicities. In response, Erika Christakis, a faculty member and administrator in one of Yale’s residential communities, sent a now widely read email, claiming that the IAC’s guidelines imposed unnecessary control over students’ behavior. Quoting her husband Nicholas, another administrator at the college, Christakis wrote, “If you don’t like a costume someone is wearing, look away, or tell them you are offended. Talk to each other.”

Outside the bar, Bear Don’t Walk approached the three men, who may or may not have been students. She began to explain that she was Native American and found the costume insensitive. Almost immediately, the men started screaming at her, according to her and another friend, Diana Orozco, who was there.

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“Shut the fuck up! Your life and opinion don’t matter to me!” Bear Don’t Walk remembered one of them yelling.

The men were large and very drunk, according to Orozco and Bear Don’t Walk. One of them walked into the middle of the street and started imitating a Native American war whoop on one knee; the other two continued shouting, “calling us bitches, whores, stupid,” Orozco said. Bear Don’t Walk added that the other people waiting in line at the bar, which is frequented by students and directly in front of a row of Yale dorms, did not intervene, but merely watched from a distance.

“I like to be strong and confident and self-assured,” Bear Don’t Walk told Rewire in a phone interview. “But it was a pretty helpless, terrifying situation, in the midst of so many people.”

Other Yale women of color were having similarly grueling experiences that same night. A few blocks away from the bar, an SAE fraternity member allegedly turned away “dark-skinned” women at the door of a party, claiming, “No, we’re only looking for white girls.” Tension was also mounting over Christakis’ email, which many saw as a suggestion that students of color should simply ignore racism by “looking away,” or shoulder the burden of fixing a systemic problem by initiating one-on-one conversations with peers.

In the days following Halloween, a firestorm of protests erupted in response to the email and the fraternity party, leading to a march of over 1,000 students, fierce confrontations with top administrators, and significant concessions from the centuries-old school (not to mention dozens of think pieces from Yale alumni all over the country). The uprising happened the same week protests raged at the University of Missouri as students spoke out about administrative inaction over racist incidents there. The events at Yale and Mizzou struck a national chord; since then, college students across the country have pushed their schools to confront racism on campus.

But much of the media coverage surrounding the Yale protests didn’t actually engage with the student organizers themselves, many of whom were women of color, to hear their stories and their strategies. These young women, like many women of color who came before them, played a critical role in pushing Yale to take decisive action, while simultaneously launching a national conversation about race at colleges and universities.

For this story, Rewire interviewed seven women of color on the front lines of the movement at Yale, all of whom are trying to change a university that, as they noted, was not built with them in mind.

***

The problems involving racism on Yale’s campus extend far beyond a fraternity party or a Halloween email. The women Rewire interviewed described a wide array of both micro- and macro-aggressions they face regularly on campus, including being repeatedly confused with “the one other Black woman in the class” and being asked to speak on behalf of their entire race in seminars with white peers. In addition, they have concerns about Yale’s inability to retain professors of color; a lack of institutional support for the Ethnicity, Race, and Migration Program, which does not have departmental status; and the monuments to racist leaders across campus, like the residential college named after John C. Calhoun, one of the nation’s preeminent white supremacists best known for his defense of slavery as a “positive good.”

They also detailed incidents of physical violence. Taylor Eldridge, a Black senior Psychology major who is deeply involved in the Yale Christian community, described an evening this past June when she witnessed a white man pull a gun on two Black kids walking on a sidewalk that cuts through Yale’s campus. After the campus police arrived, Eldridge said she spent 30 minutes trying to get an officer to listen to her witness account but was consistently rebuffed; it was only after she said she was a Yale student that a police officer stopped to take down her information.

Shaken by the event, Eldridge said it was largely dismissed by the administration. Only after “three days of persistent emails and a nearly three hour face-to-face meeting” with the campus chief of police and another administrator, she said, did the university even officially acknowledge the incident through an email to the college’s summer session students. (Rewire obtained a copy of the email.)

In recent years Yale has made it a priority to attract a racially and economically diverse student body. In the fall of 2014, the student population was 9 percent Black, 9 percent Latino, and 2 percent American Indian/Alaska Native. The university boasts that 52 percent of its undergraduates received scholarships or grants from “Yale sources.”

But students of color and students from low-income backgrounds say there’s a difference between the recruiting brochures and the reality on campus.

“When we’re applying, Yale’s like, ‘Please come here, it’s so diverse, we do all of these things!’ But when we get here, it’s like, ‘OK. You’re on your own,’” Brea Baker, a Black senior and president of Yale’s NAACP chapter, told Rewire in a phone interview. “The Yale that we’re being sold is not the Yale that we live on a daily basis.”

***

Student activists were quick to point out that the organizing happening after the Halloween email and the SAE party, to get the university to acknowledge the incidents and prevent future ones from occurring, didn’t come out of nowhere.

“This organizing, this coalition-building, has been going on for years. The media only picked up on it now,” Baker said. “This is nothing new, which is why it was so easy, because we all knew each other from previous actions.”

On Thursday, November 5, after days of talking in cultural centers and in off-campus buildings, activists forced the conversation, literally, into the open. Students had gathered outside of Yale’s main library to draw in chalk on the sidewalk—a common form of publicizing events or opinions on campus, like an outdoor broadsheet. They wanted to affirm women of color, who felt particularly targeted by the recent campus events. Jonathan Holloway, the first Black dean of Yale College and a renowned scholar of African-American history, showed up in solidarity.

Soon hundreds of students surrounded him, expressing grief and demanding a public response from the administration. Holloway listened.

“When the students spoke to me about their pain, I could listen to it as a historian. I could understand: There is a long history of this; I’ve heard these stories before; I’ve written about these things before,” Holloway said in an address to alumni a few weeks later. “But then it really struck a deep chord with me, because I lived this before.”

A few blocks away, students also confronted Nicholas Christakis, the administrator whose wife had quoted him as telling students to “look away” from offensive costumes in the original Halloween email.

Adriana Miele, a Latina senior who is a columnist for the Yale Daily News, was leaving a seminar on Thursday afternoon when she saw approximately 200 people walking purposefully across campus. It was an informal march, as organizers moved from the center of campus toward the Afro-American Cultural Center, or “the House,” to plan their next move after an emotional afternoon.

At the center, the students split into different rooms. Some talked about what to do next. Some talked about how the administration might respond. Others sat with whiteboards, pens, and paper, and simply started documenting, “writing testimony after testimony of racism and misogyny,” Miele said.

Everything was moving quickly.

Later that night Yale President Peter Salovey reached out to student organizers, and about 50 of them, including Miele, went to speak with him and other top administrators. For four hours, the students grieved, wept, and shared with Salovey their experiences of racism on campus.

“Knowing my own experiences and hearing them echoed over and over again was heartbreaking,” Miele said. She had once thought the issue was personal; that she was “just being dramatic.” But at the meeting, she saw the problem was bigger than “a few people being mean to me.”

At the meeting, Salovey told the students that Yale had failed them. He said the school would work to be better.

But now that Salovey had vowed to act, the activists wanted to help direct his next steps. The Black Student Alliance had already released a list of demands, but student activists from all of the cultural centers, including the alliance, wanted to create a more comprehensive one, and there wasn’t much time.

So over the course of the next few days, the students gathered again. Baker said the process took place over two days, for about 15 hours. There were about 50 students present, with some coming and going for class or meetings that couldn’t be missed.

First the organizers asked each other, “What do students of color, queer students, and the international community need, in general?” according to Baker. Yuni Chang, an Asian-American sophomore and leader at the Asian American Cultural Center who attended the meeting, remembered that someone wrote the list of needs on a large easel paper at the front of the room, which turned into two pages, then three, then five. Afterwards the group winnowed it down to material demands.

By the end of the hours-long process, the group had a new name, NextYale, and a list of six clear demands. Many of the demands directly echoed those Mizzou students released a few days earlier.

“I definitely felt like this was going to be way bigger than me and way bigger than anyone in the room,” Baker said. “I was anxious, hopeful, nervous: How would the administration view it? But most of all I felt excitement and pride.”

***

The intensive organizing, brainstorming, writing, and planning, did not happen without significant sacrifices though.

The organizers were still full-time students and many were also deeply involved in extracurricular activities and working one or two part-time jobs. All of the women Rewire spoke with voiced how difficult it was, both throughout their college career and in these few intensive days, to attend class, write reading responses, and participate in section while simultaneously battling racism built into the walls of their university.

Adriana Miele said that she’s dropping a class, and it may be difficult to graduate on time.

“This place is not made for me, and the fact that I’m in the process of changing it makes me not care about my well-being in these ways. These past few weeks are the first time in the past four years that I have really felt that I’ve had power here,” she said.

Dean Holloway told the Yale Daily News that he had urged college administrators to be mindful of what students were going through during the week of demonstrations.

“Students are dealing with emotional stress. Some are not getting enough sleep or are not eating enough,” Holloway said. “Our job is to be mindful of this.” He added that individual faculty members are responsible for granting leniency on class assignments, but that many had expressed understanding.

Chang said she couldn’t wrap her mind around the fact that there were students on campus oblivious to the situation, walking around talking with their friends about movies or the weather or a difficult essay.

“That wasn’t a reality for me or for many of my friends. Being a student here during this time has been incredibly difficult,” Chang said. “That’s what it means to be a person of color­—particularly a Black or brown student—at a place like Yale. You can never just be a student.”

***

On Monday, November 9, more than 1,000 students gathered at the center of campus after a week of grief and outrage for a “March of Resilience.” Bear Don’t Walk says fellow student activists spent two days planning the event, designating media coordinators, police liaisons, and people to man the barricades on the sides of the street. The march featured music, singing, and dancing—a bright spot in a week of agonizing and agitating.

Dean Holloway spoke about the march in an address to alumni a few weeks later. He said no administrators knew about the event until the night before, a conscious choice on the part of organizers.

“We weren’t sure what to expect, and we were concerned about what might happen, quite frankly,” Holloway said. “And what happened was a thing of beauty. … Over 1,000 people marched down High Street, down to the Cross Campus Plaza, to say, in a sense, ‘This is our Yale also. We belong here also.’ It was a peaceful, civil articulation that Yale is capacious enough to handle all of our views. That’s Yale at its finest, I think.”

Dara Huggins, a Black junior and president of the Black Women’s Coalition, said the march was about shifting from a place of pain to a place of power.

“That was probably one of the most beautiful things that I’ve witnessed in my whole life,” she told Rewire.

 ***

Eight days after the March of Resilience, President Salovey released a statement outlining the changes Yale plans to make in response to the student activism. His letter began, “In my 35 years on this campus, I have never been as simultaneously moved, challenged, and encouraged by our community—and all the promise it embodies—as in the past two weeks. You have given strong voice to the need for us to work toward a better, more diverse, and more inclusive Yale.”

The changes he noted included doubling the budgets of the four cultural centers on campus, reducing the income contribution for students on financial aid, and training administrators on racism and discrimination.

Many of the women Rewire spoke with after Salovey published his statement appeared battle-worn. They were weeks behind on schoolwork and spending their Thanksgiving break catching up on assignments. Some were cautiously optimistic about Salovey’s response; others were careful to say they appreciated what he said but he had not sufficiently addressed all of NextYale’s demands.

For example, while NextYale requested that the administration rename Calhoun College and name the two new residential houses after people of color, Salovey wrote that the Yale Corporation would be in charge of those decisions. And while NextYale asked for the removal of the Christakises from administrative positions, Salovey did not mention either Christakis in his email. (Since then, Erika Christakis has decided to not teach a course in the spring, according to Business Insider.)

The storm of planning, meeting, and organizing had passed, and some were uncertain about what was going to happen next. Would the administration actually follow through on its promises? Would the campus quiet down?

“At Yale, it feels very slow,” Eldridge said of the university’s response. “It’s hard to be patient when you’ve been experiencing these things every day. This is better than silence, but I’m not satisfied with the response … I’m going to wait to see the results.”

Chang also cautioned against seeing Salovey’s statement as a “final victory” in a short battle against the university. Instead she was energized to continue NextYale’s fight.

“NextYale is very much not over as a movement,” Chang said. “All of this is ongoing. Salovey’s email, and his recognition of that, is a first step, toward many, many more wins in the future.”