Today marked RMFO’s first public action in Oxford!
We asked those who support the movement who were matriculating today – a ceremony that marks becoming a full member of the University of Oxford, to wear a red ribbon. This was to both raise awareness of the movement amongst students and to show solidarity.
Organising members stood outside the Sheldonian Theatre, where the matriculation ceremony is held all day, from 10am, and distributed red ribbons and RMF leaflets with information about the movement’s goals on them.
Red ribbons was just the beginning, in a Facebook event advertising the public action we encouraged supporters to incorporate the colour red into their appearance in creative ways. For example: red undershirt, red lipstick, red necklace, red tape on glasses, red nail polish, red jewellery, etc.
We picked the colour red as a symbol of the blood historically shed as a result of colonial domination – of which the likes of Cecil Rhodes, Christopher Codrington, Pitt Rivers and other figures uncritically glorified at Oxford through symbols and other means – are architects, as well as to signify our confrontation of Oxford’s bureaucratic “red tape”, which stifles change at the university and perpetuates the colonial culture of exclusion evident in the university’s lack of diversity.
Our aim was to begin the academic year with a super visible and inclusive act in the hope that this would show the university how much support we have as a movement. Matriculation was hugely symbolic of the archaic traditions of Oxford. Some of which (colonial iconography, white curriculum, and lack of BME representation) we are trying to challenge.
Thank you to all the students who wore red in support of RMFO today!