Collegiate Times
October 10, 1989

NAACP Holds Anti-Apartheid Rally

Students Speak Out for Sanctions against South Africa

by Bill Brown

After marching through campus, approximately 200 people gathered to participate in a anti-apartheid rally in front of Alumni Hall Friday.

The rally, sponsored by the Virginia Tech chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, was led by chapter President Gordon Rowe.

"My sisters and brothers, we are gathered here today to dramatize a shameful condition," Rowe said.

Rowe cited the jailing of children and the separation of black men from their families (for six months to a year) as examples of conditions facing blacks in South Africa.

Other examples included the fact that blacks were paid an average of one-fifth the salary of whites, unlimited search and seizure of possessions, no right to free speech or assembly and no right to vote, Rowe said.

Rowe said the most effective way to combat these problems was through economic disinvestiture.

He said the highest priority upon his chapter's concerns was the fact that Tech has invested $%9 million in companies affiliated with South Africa.

After Rowe's introduction, Pallisha Newsome, a freshman member of the NAACP, read a poem discussing the situation in South Africa titled, "If You Don't Push, Nothing Moves."

"You must be respected and protected; any loss of character identity or will to survive will inflict a serious blow to our future," Newsome said.

Lajuanna Williams, a senior in communication studies, stressed the importance of "coming together within our own society" to help fight apartheid.

Williams emphasized the need for all of us to learn more about each other's cultures so that there will be "no colors."

"We are all struggling children, and we must all fight this battle," Williams said.

Chris Johnson, a speaker from the African Students Organization, also emphasized the importance of unity.

"As long as you are one who believes in a decent and civilized way of life, your greatest enemy in life should be apartheid," Johnson said.

Johnson demonstrated the unfairness of apartheid by showing the breakdown of the population of South Africans. He said of that of the 34.2 million South Africans, only 4.6 million are white.

"The income of all whites was more than three times that of all blacks," Johnson said. "Unemployment is less than 1 percent for whites and 54 percent for blacks."

He said sanctions would hurt the white population.

Johnson said the best way for Americans to help is to stay informed, help create awareness and put pressure on Congress and businesses for sanctions.

"Do not be fooled, sanctions work," Johnson said. "It is only sanctions that will bring the South African (government) to the table."

Rowe later emphasized the need to be accurately educated on South African events. "We found out last year that the South African government spends almost $10 million a year on misinformation in the American public," Rowe said.

Rowe listed the Methodist church, congressional records and publications by organizations like the NAACP and TransAfrica as reliable sources of information.

Rowe encouraged students to become involved in boycotting companies supporting South Africa.

He said a list of heavily invested companies is available in the NAACP office in 318 E. Eggleston Hall.

Rowe also encouraged students to attend the NAACP meetings.