Protest against attack on Althea Bernstein

Protester hold signs supporting Althea Bernstein and the Black Lives Matter Movement

Chris Bird, Managing Editor

Protesters gathered at Edgewood College for a walk out and march down Monroe Street on July 1, to speak out against the attack against Althea Bernstein. 

According to the incident report by the Madison Police Department, on June 24 Bernstein was driving on what she believes to have been W. Gorham St. when she stopped at a red light. She says that someone yelled a racial epithet and she saw four men, all white. One sprayed a liquid on her face and threw a flaming lighter, causing the liquid to ignite. Bernstein was treated for burns at a local hospital. 

The Madison Police are joined by the FBI in investigating this incident, and there is a $10,000 total reward for any information that will lead to the arrest and conviction of those involved in this crime. 

Edgewood College students and staff were joined by Madison community members to march “in solidarity with Althea Bernstein and others who are victims of crimes motivated by prejudice and bias,” read a statement from Edgewood College that promoted the gathering. 

Edgewood students Vivi Velasquez, Jadhai Guerrero, and Sasha Shannon organized the protest together and encouraged those who wanted to participate to share messages of support for Althea, as well as donate to local charities and organizations working against racial injustice. 

Guerrero feels that this attack and the racial injustice present in Madison make it so that there are many who don’t feel safe or supported in the city. “It’s a huge thing for us to stand up for this and show our support,” said Guerrero.  

Before beginning the march, Guerrero addressed the crowd, saying “I don’t think that it’s fair that I’m a student, I’m a person of color, I have an accent, and I am scared driving around in my car, downtown, in my own city, where I come from. So, I think that it’s not just Edgewood, it’s the whole city.”  

“It’s time for us to speak up, I don’t want to be afraid of going out. I don’t want to be afraid for my life, or for my family. We’re all in this together.” 

Edgewood College President Dr. Andrew Manion was present while the protesters were gathering and, when asked about the situation, said “We need to do everything we can to promote justice in the city of Madison and beyond, and express our support when people are victimized under any circumstances. This is a terrible event, and I am glad to support the cause in solidarity with Althea and her family and we hope she recovers quickly.” 

After Guerrero’s statement in front of the crowd, the protesters gathered and marched with signs down Monroe St, stopping briefly at the intersection of Community Ave. and Monroe and finally marching back up to protest at the intersection of Monroe and Edgewood College Dr.