Hundreds of students, faculty, staff, and members of the CSU community gathered at Newton’s Corner on March 29 to participate in the first CSUnite: No Place for Hate march. The walk featured several members of the CSU community that spoke out against acts of hate on the CSU campus.
As the CSU community gathered, Albert Bimper, an Associate Professor in the Ethnic Studies Department, was joined on stage by Anarely Marquez-Gomez, a senior in political science, to welcome the participants and set the stage for the walk.
“There is no place for hate in our community and as we walk today, it is important not that we tell one story, as the story of us all, but we tell all of our stories, as the story of one; that is who we are,” said Bimper. “Today is not the answer, but today is an important moment to decide what one story we are going to tell to represent us all.”
The march began outside of the Behavioral Sciences Building and went through campus to the Lory Student Center Plaza. Groups of students were posted along the march holding signs to promote CSUnite and discourage organizations like the KKK, Alt-Right, and other white supremacy organizations.
The President’s Multicultural Student Advisory Committee led the march, together holding the CSUnite banner. The committee acts as an advisory group to the president and university administrators, professionals, and academic faculty who addresses broad issues of multiculturalism and social identity that impact the university campus and surrounding community.
“Today we are here to face all the injustices that are happening on our campus,” said Barry Wesley, a freshman in the health and exercise science department. “Today was to take a stand and let the community know that we will not be silent.”
As the crowd filled the plaza the CSU quire sang several ballads before Mary Ontiveros, the Vice President for Diversity and Blanche Hughes, the Vice President for Student Affairs took the stage.
Hughes shared a personal narrative with the community, focusing on how her parents and grandparents faced these struggles during her childhood. Hughes continued to on to say that she remembers being happy as a child and feeling embraced by her loved ones and her community.
“The adults in my life did not share the pain that they experienced in their own lives every day,” said Hughes. “On one hand, I appreciate that my parents spared me all of the pain they endured. However, I also wished they shared with me how they managed to stay resilient and sane.”
Hughes spoke of the values that her parents instilled in her as a child. That she was just as intelligent, hardworking, and worthy as white people. Though she would have to work harder, to prove to society that black women could be valued.
Among the crowd was Stacey Baumgarn, the Campus Energy Coordinator. Baumgarn was in attendance as a volunteer to help pass out CSUnite gear and represent support from facilities management.
“It’s important to have students, faculty and every part of the university involved and present in this event,” said Baumgarn. “I feel lucky that our community can recognize these problems and we can take this first step at CSUnite today.”
Tony Frank was also in attendance and was one of the last speakers of the event. Frank referenced the popular phrase, “silence is golden” and acknowledged that it does not apply on campus when responding to hate as a community.
“Hate has been crawling out from under the rocks it has been hiding behind in our country, it has found us and we can’t wish it away,” said Frank. “It comes into our community and seeks to divide and frighten us; but our being here together we reject the choice to be silent.”