Hundreds gather for rally after reported attack on black UAlbany students

ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) - After an alleged racial attack on three black University at Albany students, hundreds of people banded together to speak out against the injustice toward black women.

Hundreds of people came together to rally on the UAlbany campus on Monday. It was in response to a reported attack on three, black female students over the weekend.

The students said about a dozen white men and women yelled racial slurs at them on a CDTA bus Saturday morning. When the bus arrived on campus, the students said no one helped them as the group began kicking and punching them.

One of the students in the alleged incident emotionally spoke out at the rally for the first time.

"We are proud of who we are," Asha Burwell said through tears. "As black women, we are shocked, upset, but we will remain unbroken."

Burwell also said it was an experience no one should have to endure, and she reminded the crowd that more violence won't solve anything.

University and Albany police are investigating. They said they are reviewing CDTA bus video as well as cell phone video from witnesses.

Meanwhile, the hundreds of people at the rally said they're joining the fight against racism.

"We need somebody to represent us and somebody to stick up for us just like what we're all here for," UAlbany student Jashly Sanchez said. "It's frustrating that at this point in time, it's still occurring and we're still allowing it to occur."

Activists said the incident over the weekend goes beyond what happened on the bus. They said it speaks to a grave injustice towards black women nationwide.

"Here lies the problem - this occurrence isn't anything new," one woman said to the crowd. "Black women have been squished under the palms of the white man's and woman's hands."

After the rally, people attended UAlbany's annual celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. where they heard from the youngest member of the Little Rock Nine, who marched through a screaming crowd into a once whites only school in 1957 as the south ended segregation.

UAlbany Pres. Robert Jones said she came at a critical time as the issue of racism and violence are back in the headlines. He said there was no room for racism, sexism or hatred on campus.

"We stand against racism, sexism, discrimination of all kinds," he said.

There have been no arrests made in Saturday's incident, but it is an active investigation.

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