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In one word: Empowering

Tonight’s Townhall meeting was truly empowering. I must admit that I was tired from the week’s work, a day of brain-chiseling, and the endless meetings; however the several hours spent in Broadway Sky Lounge gave me hope and faith that there is a reason to keep going. And amid the concerns addressed by the various students, I found that there is much reason and purpose in student activism and coalition building against injustice.

Before I continue, I want to make sure everyone is on the same page: the meeting that I am referring to was facilitated by USCC (United Students of Color Council) and addressed the question of “where do we go from here” (“here” being the tiring first semester of hate crimes, injustices, and the sort).

At the meeting, there was one activity that made me realize and realize again that the struggle of injustice is a common battle. Basically the activity consisted of individuals writing down their concerns about the current events on campus (hate crimes, racial profiling, violence) on a sticky note and then putting the sticky note into the balloon. The balloons were scrambled around so that each sticky note author would not get his/her own balloon. Then in small groups the balloons were popped and the concerns of individuals were voiced.

What I realized through this balloon/sticky note activity: We all have similar concerns. These concerns can be described in a concrete manner with phrases such as “lack of solidarity” or issues such as the expansion project and ethnic studies. If we ultimately have the same concern, then why aren’t student organizations working together as a collective voice? Why is there a disconnect between what is going on with (let’s say) expansion issues and those of hate crimes against Asian Americans? Why are we not working together? Why give up?

With these concerns voiced and questions posed, we began to address solutions or possible steps towards a cohesive voice of students. Here are some of the thoughts and actions:

  • Education: Don’t assume people know what you are talking about when you refer to a certain term or to a specific event. Be willing to explain and to share. We are all forever learning.
  • Communication (this is simple): Let other organizations know what is going on and go and support other clubs that may not be “directly” related to you. Share information and work with people who you might not “know”.
  • Don’t Self Segregate: Actively sit next to a person you don’t know (in meetings or wherever you go).
  • Reach Out: The people who attend these meetings are typically the same faces. Grab a friend or two and bring them to the meetings. If you are interested and unsure, give it a shot and come to a meeting

Although the list of concerns voiced were long, the list of solutions were just as long (I have only listed a few).

While my writing does not do justice to what I experienced at the meeting, I hope that you can get a taste of how empowering and real student activism is on this campus. At the least, I hope that this update inspires you (in whatever way) and informs...

I am happy to see students are not disillusioned to the point of not caring and still believe in striving for something greater than the injustice of today.



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