Hateful actions, contrary to popular thought, are not protected by “free speech.” We have the right to speak up when we believe our communities are under attack. As student leaders, we are entrusted to find ways to correct that which we find unacceptable, and we are empowered by our peers to seek a better future for our spaces. As community members, we are obligated to mobilize and organize when one of our own is hurting, when support is needed, or when our leaders do not step forward. You are right in taking action.
I write this letter as a sister. That part of my very self attends your school is therefore enough to compel me to write. My older sister, who attends Oberlin currently, raised me to act when it is not easy, to speak when the opposition is loud, and to support when I am weak. Through literal sisterhood, I first learned the meaning of solidarity. My understanding of solidarity grew with my peers at Williams when we experienced the previously mentioned incidents. We all remember vividly when our most needed resource was an ally. We all remember the power that surged when hundreds of students convened to say in unison, “We have had enough.” It may seem to some that marching and loud declarations are useless in convincing bigots to unlearn their ways, but we at Williams have seen how important it is to set community standards. You at Oberlin are sending a message that hateful acts are intolerable. You at Oberlin are proving to the country that college students, so often disparaged for being apathetic and shallow, care enough about their community to speak out against a hidden enemy.
We offer you few resources, few success stories, few strategies for resolving hate-fueled conflicts, but we can offer you our solidarity. Please know that you are not alone in your struggle. Please know that you are not the first to march these paths. Please know you are paving the ways for others. You know too well that your actions are being watched and discussed by many, but please remember you have allies, too. Though we are scattered far and are often quiet, we hold you close in our hearts. We hope that you see this letter as an extension of our student-to-student kinship.
As a family, we are stronger than the demons that we face. In solidarity,
Emily Nuckols ‘15,
Miranda Cooper ’16, Irene Castillo ’16, Isy Abraham-Raveson ’15, Carrie Tribble ’13, Rachel Hagler ’13, Zoe Grueskin ’14, Michella Ore ’16, Alejandra Rosales ‘15, Monica Torres ’13, Matilda Feder ’13, Ranana Dine ’16, Nathan Schine ‘13, Rani Mukherjee ’15, Olivia Polk ‘16, Robert Carnes ’14, Emily Dzieciatko ’15, Gulya Radjapova ’14, Laura Calloway ’13, Clyde W. Engle, Jr. ’15, Samantha Teng ’13, Shannon Hsu ’15, Brandon Abasolo ’13, Rakdong Lim ’15, Nneka Dennie ’13, Erica Moszkowski ’15, Elise Baker ’13, April Jenkins ’14, Matt McNaughton ’16, Sam O’Donnell ’15, Malik Nashad Sharpe ’14, Claudia Corona ’13, Quinn Solfisburg ’14, Sally Waters ’15, Michael Girouard ’13, Ashley Meczywor ’13, Aidyn Osgood ’15, Maximiliano Magaña ’14, Kaya Gingras ‘16, Josh Morrison ’16, Deena Bak ’13, Tara Miller ’15, David Stevens ’14, Garrett Welson ’15, Liz Dietz ’15, Nakita VanBiene ’15, Meg O’Connor ’14, Marissa Lowe ’14, Long Dang ’15, Alex Jones ’14, Anna Ryba ’16, Amelia Ortiz ’15, Jessica