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‘Say No to Hate’ workshop calls for action

4:23 p.m., Dec. 1, 2005--Students from various campus groups attended a “Say No to Hate” workshop, held Tuesday evening, Nov. 29, in the Trabant University Center.

The workshop, led by Zakia Reaves, residence life complex coordinator, explored ways for students to take action to fight hate on campus, specifically to empower and educate students on the significance of taking action and eliminating apathy on different issues.

“Student organizations have the power to make a change. We need to maintain our safety, security and peace of mind on this campus,” Reeves said.

Reeves explained that all students need to work together for change, not just the people directly affected by hate crimes. She said that hate crimes are not aimed at a few students but can affect the entire campus community.

“Hate crimes are not just the vandalism and assaults,” Reeves said. “It can begin with jokes and words among friends who project their prejudiced views onto other people. The sooner we realize that everyone is involved, the more action we can take to stop it.”

The recent hate crimes on campus have brought more attention to the issue, and students are beginning to take notice, she said.

Reeves outlined 10 ways that students can fight hate on campus:

  • Rise up and take action;
  • Pull together and talk about success;
  • Speak out through effective, professional and appropriate means;
  • Support the victims;
  • Name the crimes and know the laws;
  • Work with the media for accurate, thorough and responsible reporting;
  • Know your campus and its antihate programs;
  • Teach tolerance and tap into resources;
  • Maintain momentum to provide new opportunities; and
  • Pass the torch to other students to continue the fight.

Members of Students Acting for Freedom and Equality (SAFE), a group of students and staff who respond to hate crimes and intolerance on campus, and Quest, a student diversity committee that plans, sponsors, and supports diversity programming on campus, came to the workshop and talked about what they do to educate students on the detrimental effects of hate crimes.

The workshop ended with Reeves and the students making a list of things the campus community can do to start fighting hate, including supporting and attending educational presentations and making friends with new people.

Reeves stressed the importance of education as a key way to eliminate biases and prevent hate.

“The education of the upcoming youth is essential to this issue,” Reeves said. “This fight does not end here; we have to keep fighting and be willing to take action. Most importantly, keep yourself educated. That’s the first step to success.”

The “Say No to Hate” workshop is part of the Diversity in Leadership Series sponsored by the Student Centers.

Article by Kim Sharrah, AS ’06

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