Students and Alumni Push Back Against Legacy of the Confederacy on Campus
Montgomery, Ala. — Today, the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) released two new episodes of the acclaimed podcast, Sounds Like Hate. Season four will examine the story of the Virginia Military Institute (VMI) in Lexington, Va., where some students and alumni are demanding the removal of Confederate monuments located on the 182-year-old campus. They are calling for amends to racist practices that glorify the Confederacy and the legacy of slavery.
“This story is not just a wake-up call for VMI but also for every leader in education, business, politics, or the military in this country,” says Jamila Paksima, co-host of the Sounds Like Hate podcast series. “As you listen, step into the shoes of marginalized Americans who deserve equality in every aspect of being a citizen. Ask yourself: rather than leading, are you oppressing? Instead of teaching excellence, are you defending a system frozen in time? Are you cultivating courageous leaders or preserving idols? And, what reckoning should happen to fully see the human before you?”
Award-winning journalists and co-hosts Paksima and Yvonne Latty guide listeners through thought-provoking conversations and highlight issues of hate and extremism. While they don’t provide easy answers, they powerfully detail the barriers to making systemic changes that promote racial justice.
The podcast’s newest episodes, dubbed “Wake-Up Call,” feature students and alumni of color who share stories of the trauma and racism they suffered at VMI. Featuring commentary from former Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam, students and alumni work hard to improve the college and hold VMI accountable, while challenging their alma mater to leave the Confederacy behind and get on the right side of history.
“Since its inception, the Sounds Like Hate podcast team has told powerful stories about people and communities grappling with hate and racism – as well as the search for solutions. The reporting has been critically acclaimed with Webby nominations and by CNN. The two newest episodes focus on efforts to remove Confederate memorials from VMI as the school grapples with Confederate legacies of racism and white supremacy on campus. Through first-person accounts, we learn about how some students and alumni have demanded that the institution make changes and better support students of color. This timely story happens as the U.S military confronts its own complicity in venerating the Confederacy and asks important questions about how to make long-term structural changes that promote racial justice,” said Susan Corke, Director of Intelligence Project for the Southern Poverty Law Center.
The second episode of Sounds Like Hate premieres Tuesday, June 21st at 11:30 a.m.