As a campus, we need to unite as one. I will say this time and time again and I will stand by this until the day I die — we cannot allow hate to win. We banded together in times when catastrophic attacks shook the Earth to its core, and we can and will come together now. Don’t let our campus be divided over something that we can overcome.
In light of all of these attacks, verbal and physical, that everyone else and I have been hearing about, I have this to say: if you see something, please, say something. I beg of you, whoever you are, please say something. Call these people out on their actions. Help their victims get away from the situation. Stand by those people who are being attacked. Don’t let them think they can get away with it. Don’t let them think that what they are doing is okay. We will not allow them to get away with these demonstrations of hatred and intolerance. We need to stand together as one student body united together against hate, terror and violence for our peers and ourselves. Now more than ever, we need to stay united as a campus, as a country and as a people. Now is the time to stand up to hate and bigotry. Now is the time to let those who spew hate know that they will not silence us. Don’t just stand by passively and watch it happen. Stand up for those who can’t stand up for themselves for fear of being hurt. Remember the faces of those harassing people.
Even if you feel like you can’t stand up and outright say something to the people who are harassing and attacking someone, you can still do something. You can get the person out of that situation by walking up to them and asking if they would be OK with you walking with them. You can make sure the person being put down isn’t alone by just standing with them. Not speaking up is OK if you’re afraid or feel like you can’t, as long as you don’t just keep your head down and walk by. Do something. Do anything. Get them out of the situation they are in and get them to some place safe.
Melissa Willhouse, a junior communication studies major had this to say: “Regarding the students being harassed, this is a time that we need to use our education and stick together. I think Trump can have a lot to offer during his time as president but it’s a bad omen all over that people are acting in ignorance. I think ignorance is a manifestation of fear at this point. Students on the campus need to stick together.”
This was one of my biggest fears when Trump was nominated for the presidency. It was a fear for many of us that is now a reality. We knew that his hateful words and ideals would cause trouble for those he spoke against. That fear has now manifested. Now, we see just how bad it can be. Thankfully, as far as I have heard, no one has actually been injured during any of these attacks. However, that doesn’t mean it hasn’t happened in other places. That doesn’t mean that it can’t happen here. It truly sickens me that people are like this.
Kirk Tibbett, a sophomore accounting major, said, “Trump won the election but, at the end of the day, we all lost. I don’t think our country has been this divided in a while. It’s left a divide of hatred in our country that will take years to repair.”
His words ring true and hard. It’s important to remember that no one deserves to feel the type of fear they are feeling on either side of this. No one deserves to go through what they are going through. No one deserves to be yelled at or spit on or told that their time is up, implying they’ll be shipped to their native country soon.
America was founded on principles of religious freedom, a country for all peoples and a democracy to be revered. This is not an argument of who has it worse, who is more afraid or who is more persecuted. Everyone has the fundamental right to their own opinion, but we cannot allow these differences to divide us this way. Everyone who is afraid has the same fear at the end of the day. Let’s band together to alleviate that fear by stopping the violence and standing with all those who are afraid and who are being attacked.
America is so divided right now and it shouldn’t be this way. It shouldn’t be a battle of who has it worse or whose fear is worse. Anyone on either side has every right to fear what they fear. It should be communities coming together, trying to make everyone (their officers and public officials, their citizens and working class people) feel safe. It should not be two sides pitted against each other.
We all know this wasn’t a fight we had to fight but it is. We could all unite together and become the country we so badly want to be but it looks like we can’t do that without a fight. So fight we will. We’ll fight for peace and love, unity and hope, compassion and trust. We’ll fight until there is no more to fight about. Until we as a country stand proud and tall and united. But, until that time — we need to stand together as a campus. We, the student body of Rider University, need to stand together. Don’t let hate dictate our campus. Hate from either side. That’s not what we are about. Start in your community and you could make a huge difference. It’s about coming together now more than ever instead of standing divided.
I will not be silent. I will not stand idly by as members of our community are attacked. I won’t stand for it and neither should you.
Junior digital media major
This article was partially printed in the 11/16/16 issue.