During this past weekend’s Students of Color Conference (S.o.C.C.), held at UC Davis, “Use this as a noose” was found written on one of the yellow ribbons tied around the trees in the Quad in honor of Veterans Day.
“Students of color experience racist microaggression daily, and the manifestation of that at S.o.C.C, during such an empowering event, could have turned the conference into a sad, depressing and marked experience,” said Miguel Espinoza, ASUCD senator and member of the S.o.C.C. planning committee, in an e-mail interview.
“Instead, we facilitated intense dialog that involved students sharing their personal experiences of racism, systemic oppression, but also how to work together as a community to fight against these systems,” Espinoza said.
While this is not the first hate crime to occur on Davis’s campus, organizers said this message was one that affected students of many different universities, as the conference hosted guests from a wide range of UC campuses.
“This kind of racist intolerance is so frustrating and I condemn it as strong as I possibly can,” Alfredo Mireles, UC Student Regent, said in an e-mail interview. “It is precisely why we need events like the Students of Color Conference to educate and empower all students and show these bigoted perpetrators that students or color are an integral part of the UC community and proud of who we are.”
According to Deonna Anderson, member of the S.o.C.C. planning committee, there were several other hate crimes during the conference, including people yelling “white power” to participants.
“The planning committee of the conference had three graffiti cubes, located on the Olson lawn, Wellman lawn and the MU Patio, available for participants to spray on. One of them ended up having a swastika and “white power” sprayed on it with paint that we did not provide,” Anderson said.
Although participants said these crimes attempted to hinder the event, some believe that its impact had as many positive effects as it did negative.
“It did show us why these spaces are important, why we need to stand in solidarity together, and how important it is for students of color to continue to advocate to empower our communities,” Espinoza said.
CHARLOTTE YOUNG can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. XXX