“Go home, n*****s.” That’s the horrific racist message that five African-American students at the U.S. Air Force Academy Preparatory School were greeted with on Tuesday, scrawled on message boards outside their doors. Now a message from Superintendent Lt. Gen. Jay Silveria of the school — located in Colorado Springs, Colorado — has gone viral and has received more than 1 million views on Facebook alone, as seen in the below video.
As reported by NPR, Lt. Silveria called together 5,500 people — including cadets in the Cadet Wing and USAFA Preparatory School, along with others — to send the message that there would be no room for racism at the Academy. Lt. Silveria spoke of the power of knowing that everyone comes from diverse backgrounds and said it’s a stronger message than the racist messages scrawled outside the doors of black cadets. Silveria noted that people needed to respect men, women, and folks of all colors and creeds — or else leave the prep school.
“Treat people with dignity and respect — or get out.”
Lt. Silveria noted that such racist talk doesn’t belong in the school or the United States Air Force. Silveria urged people to take out their phones and to record his words, as he said that the racial slurs should outrage the crowd — not only as airmen but as human beings.
Silveria’s Facebook video has been viewed more than 1 million times on Facebook alone and has received more than 13,000 Facebook reactions and thousands of Facebook shares and comments. Instead of ignoring the racial slurs or sweeping the incident under the rug, Silveria spoke out in no uncertain terms that such behavior would not be accepted at the school.
Investigators believe that the racial slurs were written by one person since the handwriting was similar across all the message boards.
Silveria admitted that the school wasn’t perfect, but he also said it wouldn’t kowtow to the racist climate in the U.S., invoking the racist demonstrations in Charlottesville, Virginia, along with the current controversies over protests regarding police violence. Silveria noted that everyone should treat others with respect or leave the academy that prepares cadets for the Air Force. As Silveria spoke, several cadets could be seen recording his speech with their phones, as he suggested.
[Featured Image by John Moore/Getty Images]