Hodge: CSUnite cannot be the end of the fight against hate

Jayla Hodge

Editor’s Note: All opinion section content reflects the views of the individual author only and does not represent a stance taken by the Collegian or its editorial board.

Last week I stood in a crowd with hundreds of other students and community members as we “united” against hate. CSUnite was described as an event to help show solidarity against hate and the harmful ideologies that have been appearing on campus.

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At the time, listening to the speakers and looking around at the faces I see everyday, I remember thinking “what is this actually going to do?” These hate acts are not new. They are just more publicized lately.  

Marginalized communities on this campus have been suffering hate incidents and microaggressions for years silently under guise that we we live in a “post-racial” environment and the welcoming safety of Fort Collins.  

This is false. Not everyone feels welcomed here.

While on paper CSUnite appears to be the University’s way of taking action and supporting all identities in the student body, the event lacked any real substance. It served more as a marketing tool than a real stance against racism, anti-semitism, homophobia, and sexism and other despicable ideologies that are so deeply embedded in this community most of the people in the crowd probably don’t recognize the symptoms of these insidious diseases.  

 The event lacked any real SUBSTANCE. It served more as a marketing tool than a stance against racism, anti-semitism, homophobia, and sexism and other despicable ideologies that are so deeply embedded in this community most of the people in the crowd probably don’t recognize the symptoms of these insidious diseases 

It’s more than just showing up to and literally “standing” against hate. Standing against hate takes work in our everyday lives. It means speaking out even though it may be uncomfortable. It means reflecting on our own behaviors and realizing how we may be upholding supremacy.

Unless they are accompanied by action, events like CSUnite do more harm than good. It promotes the idea that showing up to an event, and showing solidarity is enough. It serves as an evasion. It allows for students who are not being targeted or are in the majority to justify themselves as “not part of the problem” because they attended. It allows them to affirm themselves without any actual reflection or change.

Several ASCSU presidential candidates and senators also attended the event and spoke about combating hate crimes as apart of their campaign platforms. Senators and and candidates apart of ASCSU should still continue to do more, even after the spotlight is off of them. They should do more to break out of the trend of simply claiming they stand against hate, and actually do more to combat it. 

Even though these hate crimes and incidents have been happening for a long time, and saw an increase recently on a national level, ASCSU has just addressed the issues for the first time a few weeks ago in time for elections.  They have not made combating hate a priority, and need to show that they will make a bigger effort after CSUnite. 

CSUnite was created out of good intentions, and many of the speakers spoke their truths and were brave. That is not to be discredited. This event should serve as a stepping stone and be followed up with more events and conversations, not just serve as a one-time demonstration. It takes action, it take starting panels and other discussions. More needs to be done.

Standing against hate takes more than just standing. It take genuine work and effort. It takes speaking out. It’s been barely more than a week and there are already more hate crimes on campus.

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Good intentions are not enough to help students who do not feel safe at CSU. Good intentions do not help the students who are still called racial slurs, are excluded in classes from their peers, and have to see white supremacist propaganda in a place they pay to learn at. 

CSUnite was a good start, but there is more work to be done. Join groups like Students Against White Supremacy, report bias motivated incidents or even that kid in class that drops the n-word. More importantly don’t become complacent: we must continuously work everyday to eliminate hate on our campus and in our world. 

Jayla Hodge can be reached at letters@collegian.com or online at @Jaylahodge.