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'I, too, am Harvard' campaign spreads across the pond

Posted by Zeninjor Enwemeka  March 12, 2014 12:01 PM

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kimiko.jpg

Photo by Carol Powell

From the "Harvard sophomore Kimiko Matsuda-Lawrence started the I, Too, Am Harvard campaign

The "I, too, am Harvard" photo campaign is striking a chord with minority students across the country and across the pond.

The Tumblr project highlights the experiences of black students on campus, touching on the racial stereotypes and micro-aggressions they say they face from fellow students. And now students at the University of Oxford have taken up the cause with their own "I, too, am Oxford" project that highlights what students of color deal with at the prestigious school in England.

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http://itooamoxford.tumblr.com/

A post on the Tumblr page explains what the students found as they organized their own photo campaign:

A message that was consistently reaffirmed throughout the day was that students in their daily encounters at Oxford are made to feel different and Othered from the Oxford community. Hopefully this project will demonstrate that despite there being a greater number of students of colour studying at Oxford now than there has ever been before, there are still issues that need to be discussed.

Inspired by the Harvard initiative, the Oxford project also features a series of portraits of various students holding up signs with the commentary (often racial and incredulous) they have received.

A message on the Harvard group's Tumblr embodies the purpose of the project:

Our voices often go unheard on this campus, our experiences are devalued, our presence is questioned-- this project is our way of speaking back, of claiming this campus, of standing up to say: We are here. This place is ours. We, TOO, are Harvard.

And the message has been received. The original Tumblr has received more than 220,000 page views and spread on Twitter with #ITooAmHarvard. According to The Boston Globe, a link on BuzzFeed generated more than a million views within a couple days after it was featured. There is also now #ITooAmOSU, #ITooAmOxford, and #ITooAmCambridge on social media. And other college communities such as Oregon State University, are getting involved in the conversation about race and inclusiveness on campus.

Harvard sophomore Kimiko Matsuda-Lawrence, who started the project, told BuzzFeed:

“We want to build a movement that can be translated into real institutional change so that black students feel that we belong."

It appears that sentiment has resonated and taken root beyond the Ivy League school.

Here's a sampling of the photos from the I, too, am Oxford project:

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Follow Zeninjor Enwemeka on Twitter @Zeninjor.

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