Event promotes increased awareness of diversity
THE SANTA CLARA
April 24, 2014
The Multicultural Center hosted a rally Wednesday afternoon in response to an off-campus incident that involved discrimination against three African-American males, one of whom is a current Santa Clara student.
On Thursday, April 3, a white male student filmed three African-American males as they were getting into their car, which was parked at the University Villas, to go to Safeway. The three African-American males approached the white male student, asking him if there was a problem, only to receive the response, “I don’t know yet.”
When they got out of their car in the Safeway parking lot, the three were met with multiple police officers who had responded to a call that profiled the young men as suspicious and threatening.
At the event, Diversity Rally: Wake Up SCU, A Call to Action, students shared their personal experiences with exclusion to heighten awareness of discrimination around campus.
“We are just trying to make these things come to the surface because it’s a problem on this campus that we’re not talking about,” said sophomore Marissa Martinez, public relations coordinator for the MCC. “Whoever made the call was being prejudiced and judgmental, and that’s not the type of thing that we want prospective high school students to think about our school.”
MCC members wore teal armbands to symbolize their solidarity. Some students of Igwebuike wore a “3” to represent the 3 percent of African-Americans that make up Santa Clara’s student body. Students of MEChA wore “1 in 3” shirts, which represented the 1 in 3 Americans who believe that more than half of Latinos are undocumented.
At about 1 p.m., four students spoke in the middle of the walkway about how racial or sexual orientation exclusion impacted their lives.
Freshman Isaac Nieblas, a Mexican-American student, said that at his freshman orientation, his peers commented on how he did not sound like a Mexican because he spoke English well.
“I took that as a sign where they really don’t know who I am,” said Nieblas. “They don’t know my own passions. They don’t know the power that I have as a United States citizen. For me, that just showcased the ignorance and hate that happens here on campus. But at the same time, it’s about finding that inclusiveness and showcasing that there is love on campus.”
At the rally, students who were passing by could sign a petition, pledging to be more active responders to issues of injustice. These actions include attending the weekly Difficult Dialogues series and other MCC events, speaking out to prevent potentially offensive theme parties and taking an ethnic studies or women’s and gender studies class.
“We are the students here,” said Denise Castillo Chavez, director of MCC. “We have the power to make this a more compassionate, more inclusive community.”
Contact Eryn Olson at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (408) 554-4852.