Williamsburg, VA – Black Lives Matter activists shut down the Virginia executive director of the ACLU at a “celebration of free speech” at William & Mary College last week.
Black Lives Matter activists swarmed the stage before Claire Guthrie Gastanaga, the executive director of the ACLU of Virginia, could speak on freedom of expression, according to Fox News.
As the Black Lives Matter activists took over the stage, they could be heard shouting “Liberalism is white supremacy!”, and “ACLU, you protect Hitler, too!”
The activists livestreamed the demonstration on Facebook for an hour, and could be heard shouting other slogans, including “The oppressed are not impressed!”, “Blood on your hands!”, and “The revolution will not uphold the Constitution!”
Gastanaga came to the podium and tried to speak but the activists drowned her out.
Before she was no longer able to be heard, she used the disruption as an example of why she needed to talk about freedom of expression, and said “Good, I like this”, as protesters raised signs.
Gastanaga said, “I’m going to talk to you about knowing your rights, and protests and demonstrations, which this illustrates very well. Then I’m going to take questions from the moderators, and then questions from the audience”.
The activists continued their shut down and would not allow anyone to approach Gastanaga to speak.
One organizer of the event ‘reportedly’ granted the leader of the demonstration consent to speak.
That organizer then said, “When is the free speech of the oppressed protected? We know from personal experience that rights granted to wealthy, white, cis, male, straight bodies do not trickle down to marginalized groups. We face greater barriers and consequences for speaking.”
Taylor Reveley, president of William & Mary College said in a statement issued after the event that “silencing others was not acceptable in our community.”
He said that debate is stifled, and “…prevents those who’ve come to hear a speaker, our students in particular, from asking questions, often hard questions, and from engaging in debate where the strength of ideas, not the power of shouting, is the currency.”