“What we learned during those six days of the building occupation was the transformative power of individuals working together in pursuit of justice” –Nancy Biberman
Today, students across the nation are walking out of their schools and classes in protest of gun violence. The breadth and power of the #NeverAgain movement have captivated the country. Led by survivors of the Valentine’s Day massacre, the teens, who have grown up in the age of social media, are using the tools they know to gain and maintain momentum for their cause.
The power of student protest has a long history in our country and a powerful one on our campus. Fifty years ago this April, students occupied five buildings on Columbia University’s campus to protest the construction of a planned gymnasium in a nearby Harlem park and links between the university and the Vietnam War. Similar to the children of today, the teens of the 1960s were of a “New Era,” and worried that society had taken a “wrong turn” towards humanity. Below are three chapter excerpts from A Time to Stir: Columbia ’68 that highlight the youth of that generation, presents an inside look at the alienation that some felt, and reflects on what it took to build the movement.