Video: Oak Ridge Paints Over Pain
The community in Oak Ridge, TN, recently came together to use art to speak up against bullying. The activity, called Paint Over Pain, brought in community members ranging from young children to recent high school graduates to paint powerful messages of hope in the face of bullying. The video features many art pieces created during the activity as well as messages such as, “Be yourself,” “Silence is acceptance” and “You are not alone.”
Valerie Hughes launched Not In Our Town in Oak Ridge after her daughter was assaulted in a classroom. Her efforts with Not In Our Town promote a safe and welcoming community for people of all backgrounds. Hughes coordinated this event in Oak Ridge, will be leading a Paint Over Pain activity at the Not In Our Town National Leadership Gathering later this month.
Stanford Stands Up Against Hateful Language
After a series of emails sent by Snapchat CEO and Stanford University alum Evan Spiegel became public, the Stanford community was called to take a stand against demeaning language and hateful attitudes, according to The Huffington Post.
In an email to the undergraduate community, University Provost John Etchemendy urged students to be upstanders, stating, “We can choose to turn a blind eye to such statements and chalk them up to youthful indiscretion. Or we can be more courageous, and affirmatively reject such behavior whenever and wherever we see it, even—no, especially—if it comes from a friend, a classmate, or a colleague.”
Etchemendy’s email goes on to encourage students to create a positive university culture. Emphasizing personal growth and the community’s common values and responsibilities to each other, this response highlights the importance of taking action against discriminatory attitudes. Etchemendy’s call to action serves as a reminder that it is up to each individaul to ensure that the community reflects shared values of respect.
Promoting Acceptance on College Campuses
Last week, members of the Oregon State University (OSU) LGBTQ and Greek life communities came together for a panel discussion on ways of making Greek life more accessible and welcoming to LGBTQ students, according to OSU’s student newspaper, The Daily Barometer. The panel, hosted by sorority Kappa Delta Chi, was the second annual pride panel at OSU and included an open discussion about making the Greek system at OSU more inclusive and aware about LGBTQ issues.
Discussions like the one at OSU are part of a nationwide conversation about the role of diversity and inclusion in college campus culture. In the fall, the University of Alabama sparked a national debate concerning racial integration of fraternities and sororities when it was made public that two black students were denied sorority bids after intervention from powerful sorority alumnae.
One OSU student commented on the importance of these types of discussions to create a more welcoming campus culture, stating, “When you have events like this, everyone is invited (and) that brings the issue to a more personal level.”
Love and Family Confront Prejudice
Mia Springer writes to challenge prejudices about race, class, family, and love. In her editorial for The Huffington Post, the 19-year-old college student deconstructs stereotypes that have been made about herself and her family.
As a young black woman who was adopted from foster care in Los Angeles by a white lesbian couple, Springer has been called “the whitest black girl” of her friends at school and asked if she, like her mothers, was a lesbian. Yet despite the false ideas that others hold about her, Springer stands strong in her moral values.
“I am simply a young girl figuring out my way in this world, and I have my beautiful lesbian mothers backing behind me, pushing me to dream big and achieve those dreams and make them realities,” Springer writes. “That to me is what family is about, not your skin color or your sexual orientation”