Bowling Green Community Stands Together Against Racist Tweets, Again
Bowling Green State University in Ohio is no stranger to fighting hate. In April 2013, BGSU and the City of Bowling Green started a Not In Our Town campaign to “reaffirm the University and Bowling Green’s commitments to social justice, equity and inclusion,” according to Bowling Green News. The campaign was started in response to a series of racist tweets.
But new tweets recently emerged, attacking the university's Black Student Union. In response, students from various campus organizations have arranged a forum to discuss racism in the community and how to stand together against it. “We want to unify everyone in order to figure out what we will do,” said Kevin Lewis, president of the BSU.
In addition to the school's Not in Our Town campaign, several multi-cultural groups came together to form the Call to Action campaign and developed an action plan to respond to any future incidents.
The source of the tweets, @patfalcon, has yet to be identified. Bowling Green Police have been brought in to ascertain whether the tweets constitute a hate crime. In the meantime, students remain committed to creating a campus atmosphere that supports diversity and inclusion. “We need to change and work together as one if we want to be remembered at this University,” said Lewis. “It all starts with us and now.”
Heckling at The Laramie Project Creates Educational Opportunity for All
University of Mississippi brought together audience members and the performers of an Ole Miss production of The Laramie Project, in response to a heckling incident that left cast members feeling disrespected and hurt. But rather than merely demanding an apology at the October event, the theatre department convened students to spark a dialogue about hate speech and its effects.
“Even though it was a negative event, it made us positive. This is why we need to do this show because we need to open the minds of people on this campus — not just athletes," actor Garrison Gibbons told Oxford WMCTV. "I don't want to see them being punished, that's not doing anything positive. I want to see everyone get involved in showing their support for LGBT and equality.”
As an elective requirement, several University of Mississippi football freshmen found themselves attending a campus production of The Laramie Project, the play about gay hate crime victim Matthew Shepard. The freshmen laughed, took pictures, and coughed out gay slurs throughout the play, disrupting several of the actors’ very vulnerable monologues, according to ThinkProgress.
Officials from the Ole Miss athletics department were notified, and after the curtain they brought the freshmen backstage to apologize to the actors. Jade Genga, one of the actors, said that the freshmen seemed not to know exactly what they were apologizing for. ‘We weren’t laughing at you,” one player said. “We were laughing at the whole situation.”
Judy Shepard, mother of Matthew Shepard, responded to the incident, saying, “Someone learned to hate like that. We’re still teaching it. Classic case of bullying.” As we move further into October, which is also National Bullying Prevention Month, we are reminded of the importance of dialogue and education around these issues.
See how the University of Mississippi responded to other tensions on campus in the Not In Our Town Film, Ole Miss: Facing the Change.
Community Speaks Out Against Attack on Sikh Little League Coach
Continuing a disturbing national trend of hateful incidents targeting Sikh citizens, a little league coach in Yuba City, CA found hate speech carved into the side of his truck. “It hurts, you know?” said Suk Dulai, the victim. “Spending so much time helping kids, and this is how you get repaid for it?”
But Yuba City community members have spoken out in support of Mr. Dulai. “These people donate their time for these kids and it’s sad that someone would target them,” said a parent of one of Dulai’s players.
According to Sutter Buttes Little League, the offending language read, “We don’t want no Hindus here at SBLL.” Mike Mosley, a Yuba City resident said, “It doesn’t make a difference if they are a Sikh, Asian, black, whatever. A hate crime is a hate crime and it’s wrong.”
Sikhs have increasingly been the target of hate crimes in recent years. Last month, a Columbia University professor was severely beaten in Harlem. In 2011, a gunman opened fire in a Sikh Temple in Oak Creek, killing several people.
Yuba City Little League district officials have posted a $250 reward for any information leading to an arrest. Read more.