The IUSB Vision Weblog

The way to crush the middle class is to grind them between the millstones of taxation and inflation. – Vladimir Lenin

“Erase the Hate”

Posted by iusbvision on November 6, 2006

Candle Light Vigil 2006, organized by the Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA) and the Office of Campus Diversity, was held October 29, and was designed to spotlight hate crimes and the discrimination that cause them. It attracted some 40 people of all ages, as well as of all sexual orientations, including married heterosexual couples with their children, and at least one canine companion. Half a dozen speakers from various segments of the campus population – student, faculty and administration – began the event. Participants holding lit candles then proceeded to a walk through a designated area where smaller candles lit up the pavement.

GSA President Teresa Santos began the evening noting that, “Having differences is beautiful, they are defining, they are normal, it gives us uniqueness, and they are worth celebrating.”

Half of the invited speakers did focus on discrimination of sexual orientation. Of these, the prominent seemed to be a freshman student introduced as Ryan who spoke of the murder of his partner earlier this year by a Nazi-supremacist who went home bragging that he had “killed another fag.” Said Ryan, “Most of us have heard of the more publicized crimes such as the murder of Matthew Shepherd but this is a crime that touches us right here in South Bend. The murder could have been your friend, your son or daughter, your brother and sister… Joe had a sister and a brother who had heard those same, well-publicized stories but never thought it would happen to them.”

Other speakers engaged in widening the scope of discrimination that lead to hate crimes. Director of the Office of Campus Diversity Charlotte Pfeiffer drew parallels to the plight of women and the black community through history. When interviewed after the event, she noted that the challenge faced on a campus was the transition of a high-school culture with its evident discriminations to the adult world of a university environment where greater understanding is expected. “We are either all God’s children or we’re not”, said Pfeiffer.

Other speakers, while spotlighting discrimination based on sexual orientation, noted its wider implications of attitudes in society. Martha Carroll, who is Minister of Southside Church, observed that people are “scared into believing that certain people don’t have rights”, and that “this world is for all of us”.

Daniel Ford, a sophomore in Mass Communication who attended the event noted the need to work against subtler forms of discrimination such as the right to being able to walk around campus without offensive jokes. She emphasized that it was not as much about gay rights as it was a unity of gay and straight people. Her hopes for the rest of the course of her university education? That people would go above and beyond the issue of sexual orientation and defining people on that basis.

Andrew Filmer
Graphics Editor

One Response to ““Erase the Hate””

  1. Jarrod Brigham said

    A slight correction in the article
    Per the GSA President, Ryan was speaking on behalf of a friend whose partner was killed. It was not Ryan’s partner.

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