On Thursday night, protesters descended upon the Marian Miner Cook Athenaeum at Claremont McKenna College (CMC) in order to prevent Heather Mac Donald, a political commentator and author, from giving a lecture scheduled for that night. The protesters were ultimately successful, as Mac Donald’s speech was cut short.
The protest was organized on Facebook by a group called “ShutDown Anti-BlackFascists,” and over 250 people—including students at the Claremont Colleges, students at other colleges, and non-students—attended. The Claremont Independent obtained a screen shot from the ShutDown Anti-BlackFascists group describing instructions for the protest.
The page states, “For white accomplices: Please keep in mind that your role at this protest, aside from acting in solidarity with POC students at the 5Cs, particularly Black students, is to serve as a buffer between students of color and the police. That means, if the police come, it is imperative that you stay at the protest with fellow accomplices and engage with cops should it come to that.” Outside the Athenaeum, protest leaders shouted, “White students to the front!”
ShutDown Anti-BlackFascists also discouraged protesters from speaking with the media, stating, “We ask that participants do not engage with CI [Claremont Independent] reporters or anyone else who is trying to derail this action.” When correspondents from the Independent, including this author, sought information from protesters, they were met with silence and often had hands, clothing, or signs pushed in their faces.
The instructions also describe an “accomplice meeting” at Scripps College where protesters can learn more information about how to handle themselves in various situations. “There is a high likelihood that campus security and police will be present,” states the Facebook page. “[S]o please attend the accomplice meeting at the Scripps Student Union today at 3:30 pm to act given that situation or one where counter protesting is taking place. It is very important that there are white bodies at the action – please show up yourself for the entire duration of the event or if not have friends who can be trusted to go in your place.”