Lantern file photo
One year after the words “Long Live Zimmerman” were painted on the walls of Hale Hall, Ohio State’s black cultural center, some student groups are acknowledging the week with a campaign against racism on campus.
The OSU student organization The Network will host its first “No Place for Hate Week” beginning Monday to raise student awareness about racism on campus. The week will consist of various events designed by a handful of student organizations collaborating with The Network to facilitate an end to discrimination at OSU.
Suparna Reddy, The Network’s director of diversity and president of the South Asian Student Association, came up with the idea for a “No Place for Hate Week” after hate crimes occurred on campus last April. These hate crimes followed the Feb. 26, 2012, shooting of Florida teen Trayvon Martin by neighborhood watchman, George Zimmerman.
The walls of Hale Hall, which is home to the Frank W. Hale Jr. Black Cultural Center, part of the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, were vandalized with the words “Long Live Zimmerman” late April 4 or early in the morning April 5. The incident drew national attention and highlighted race relations on OSU’s campus.
Reddy, a third-year in political science and economics, said the goal of the week is to raise awareness of “hidden” discrimination on campus and get the OSU community to pledge to fight hate and racism.
“It’s not just about standing up for yourself,” Reddy said. “It’s our job to make Ohio State’s environment a welcoming one and make people feel safe about who they are.”
An electronic “No Hate Pledge” can be found at The Network’s website, but students can also sign pledges all week at the Ohio Union.
She said she wants people to recognize that while it is human nature to have biases, the ability to analyze and assess these biases is also human nature.
One event going on this week will be a fashion show organized by the student group Better Together Movement.
Balpreet Kaur, a second-year in neuroscience and international development studies and secretary of Better Together Movement, said the purpose of the show is to educate students about the various styles of dress that appear across different cultures and faiths.
“We’re having a lot of people from faith backgrounds or non-faith backgrounds show us what they would wear to a service, or if they don’t believe in any religion, what they would wear on a normal basis,” Kaur said. “We can talk about how a belief system affects the way you present yourself to people.”
Kaur, who regularly wears a turban, said many people lack the courage to ask her why she wears it, and said she hopes the show will provide a forum to voice questions people have about religious identities.
“People shouldn’t come into it afraid to ask any question,” Kaur said. “The participants … will be very open and very raw, so people should come into it with an open mind.”
Kaur was one of two students given OSU’s Undergraduate Peace Award earlier this year, a new award that honors undergraduate students actively working on peace and justice in the Columbus community.
In September, a Reddit user under the username “european_douchebag” posted a picture of Kaur on Reddit.com without her knowledge. The caption read, “I’m not sure what to conclude from this,” in reference to Kaur’s facial hair and turban.
Kaur’s forgiving response garnered international attention, and her story was picked up by various news outlets, including Jezebel, Huffington Post, Yahoo!News and CNN.
The show, to be held Thursday at 7:30 p.m. in the Great Hall Meeting Room of the Ohio Union, is free. Some religions set to be represented include Wiccan, Christian and Hindu.
Other events include a screening of “Philadelphia,” a 1993 film which centers on a man, played by Tom Hanks, who is fired from a conservative law firm upon its discovery that he is infected with AIDS. The man goes on to hire a homophobic but willing attorney, played by Denzel Washington, in a wrongful dismissal lawsuit – one of the first of its kind.
“Philadelphia Cream Cheese: Movie Night” is scheduled for Wednesday at 8:30 p.m. in Cartoon Room 2 of the Ohio Union. There is no entry fee, and cream cheese and bagels will be provided on a first-come, first-served basis.
The events include a benefit concert Friday evening in the Browning Amphitheater, featuring local acts like Snakes or Swords and The Ritual Tones but also international rapper Khaled Ahmed, known as Khaled M.
Amanda Siroskey, a third-year in communication helping organize the concert, said in an email the proceeds will be divided among groups to benefit underprivileged children.
“The donations received … will be split between the Buckeye Clinic and UNICEF, with the funds from UNICEF going towards Syrian refugees,” Siroskey said.
The suggested donation is $5, but attendees may give more if they wish. The concert is set to start at 6:30 p.m.
Reddy said she hopes “No Place for Hate Week” will continue in the future.
“This is something that hopefully will continue to remind people every year that this is something Ohio State values, and that Ohio State is no place for hate,” Reddy said.
“No Place for Hate Week” is set to kick off with a freedom rally Monday at 6 p.m. in the Performance Hall of the Ohio Union.