Do you or your friends talk about how much you hate something? Do you “hate” 8 a.m. classes? Or the weather in Rochester?
What about the recent incidents of intolerance that have occurred recently on campus? Or the violence that is going on in the rest of the world?
Are these all things we really “hate?” What is hate? Should we use this word to refer to activities as simple as getting up early or is it reserved for places where people kill?
In the last few months, the UR community has engaged in many discussions regarding hate, hate crimes and hate speech. Several incidents of hate targeted at specific groups on campus brought to everyone’s attention a need to address where hate comes from and why it persists here.
In response to these activities, a series of student-led dialogues were held this week. There is one being held tonight in the Burton One Lounge at 8 p.m.
The students leading these dialogues were trained in discussing hate from different perspectives. The hope is to foster an intellectually stimulating environment where students from different backgrounds may talk openly and honestly about hate and how this community can deal with acts of intolerance and hate crimes. It is my sincere hope that you were able to attend one of these dialogue sessions, or can attend the remaining session this evening.
These dialogues served another purpose, however ? to bring your attention to an event that is coming to campus. On Monday, April 22, we are all invited to take a “Journey to a Hate-Free Millennium.” This program will be held in Hubbell Auditorium at 7 p.m.
This will not be a lecture, nor a preaching exercise. It is an honest look at what hate is, where it might come from and what we as a community can do about it.
Brent Scarpo, who filmed a documentary about hate and hate crimes, created the program to address hate ? where it comes from, how we deal with it and how it affects all of us.
The film focuses on several incidents of hate from the last few years, including the tragic beating death of Matthew Shepard in Laramie, Wyoming and the high school shootings in Columbine. The program is the only one endorsed by the family of Matthew Shepard to tell his story and the impact of the program is undeniably powerful.
In light of the events of this semester, I am asking everyone in the university community to take this “Journey to a Hate Free Millennium” together. This program will definitely help us to open our minds ? and maybe change our vocabularies.
For more information on these issues and recommendations from the Diversity Roundtable, please see the news story on page 1. Ojala is an HEOP counselor with the Office of Minority Student Affairs.