Not In Our Town Leader Elevates Student Voices
In Bowling Green, OH, both the town and the local university have actively targeted racism and intolerance through respective Not In Our Town and Not On Our Campus campaigns. At the helm of these efforts stands Ray Plaza, co-chair for the Bowling Green Not in Our Town initiative and associate director for the Office of Multicultural Affairs at Bowling Green State University.
Students praise Plaza’s resolve to include voices from all parts of the campus, and count him as an invaluable ally in the university administration.
“I think for me, there’s an inherent passion to make a difference in these issues,” Plaza told the BG News. “I think it’s about giving to others. I think people have often said you need to be more selfish, but I think it’s about being there to support others, to give back; what are the things we need to do to make a difference for our students and for our community?
“I think those are the things that drive me.”
Anti-Hindu Vandalism Spurs Cultural Exchange
A string of anti-Hindu vandalism incidents in Ashburn, VA, a suburb of Washington, DC, prompted a town gathering of law enforcement, political representatives, faith leaders, and community members to show that Ashburn stands unequivocally against bigotry.
“I find it very disturbing that there are individuals who are willing to destroy private property and spew hate against our Hindu neighbors,” said state representative David Ramadan, referring to messages scribbled on public trails and community signs with anti-Hindu rhetoric.
Resident Ratheesh Nair is already working with the local Hindu community to include Ashburn’s non-Hindu inhabitants in cultural events, such as the upcoming Diwali festival. Greater visibility of the Indian community should lead to better understanding, Nair said.
“I see many discussions going on . . . about how they can get more people involved,” Nair said to the Washington Post. “Then they will understand our culture more, and once they know what we are doing and how our culture works, probably [the vandalism] won’t happen again.”
Anti-Semitism Follows Jewish Holiday
Vandals at Emory University in Atlanta, GA spray-painted swastikas onto the Alpha Epsilon Pi fraternity house, a historically Jewish association.
The incident took place following Yom Kippur, one of Judaism’s most important holidays.
In an open letter to the campus, university president James Wagner called for solidarity against such intolerance. “We must together pledge Emory University’s continuing commitment to raise awareness and prevent all forms of violence and discrimination… We all have a responsibility to uphold the principles we hold dear as an academic community, and to create a community that is inclusive, open, respectful, and welcoming to all.”
Following the incident, students and staff across the campus wore blue, a symbolic color of the Jewish faith, to show their support for the Jewish community.