What We’ve Done
The reason you may not have heard of us is because MAD is not a Columbia-recognized group! Here is a brief history.
In response to the non-indictment of Daniel Pantaleo in the murder of Eric Garner, The Columbia University Black Students’ Organization and members of the original MAD along with other groups organized a die-in, which occurred during Columbia’s annual tree lighting ceremony. During the ceremony, hundreds of student protestors, dressed in all black, laid down across College Walk, holding up makeshift tombstones bearing the names of various victims of police brutality, such as Mike Brown and Tamir Rice. Soon after the demonstration began, the administration called in the NYPD, who arrived on the scene in riot gear with several police wagons and communications vans.
In 2015, following a string of racist incidents, black students at the University of Missouri gained national attention after they launched a campaign to end the culture of anti-blackness on campus and demand that the president of the university resign. In response, a group of black students at Columbia University, later named the Mobilized African Diaspora (MAD), began to hold meetings and planned a rally in solidarity. After the rally, MAD continued to hold meetings and crafted their first official list of demands.
MAD also organized the TJBDAY campaign, (our Medium article on TJBDAY) which sought to remove the Thomas Jefferson statue that currently stands outside Pulitzer Hall. Organizers draped a KKK hood over the head of the statue and held signs that read “Memorializing this rapist makes sexual assault on this campus acceptable” and “Columbia is and always has been anti-black”. Here is the former (and inactive) MAD webpage with their original demands, resources from old teach-ins, and more: linked here
MAD was brought back and resumed meeting in wake of the harassment of Alex McNab by Barnard Public Safety in 2019, for more info on that incident, check out this NY Times article.