By Alana Ramsay
My fellow FLC Students,
We’ve been through a lot this year, haven’t we?
From the unjust killing of Stephon Clark to the the antisemitism vandalizing our walls, and now the “pro-lifers” who set up their disturbing images in our Quad, we know what hate looks like.
I don’t know what the goal of the group who came onto our campus was.
If their goal was to make vulnerable students cry, congrats, they won.
If their goal was to stir up confusion and division, congrats, they won.
If their goal was to make the news, congrats, they won.
But if their goal was to change hearts and minds, they have lost terribly.
Today I stand stronger in my beliefs than when I arrived in the Quad Monday at 12:05.
Today I stand taller knowing that my friends and community have rallied to support each other.
When my friend told me this would be a great opportunity for an Op-Ed, I told her I didn’t have the energy. What I meant was that I don’t have the energy to write a sassy article calling out those who seek to disrupt our campus. They want us to be angry, and we are angry, and we have every right to be angry. I could write an entire book on why I believe in the right to choose or how the rhetoric we heard today is dangerous, or simply how the way in which those who “exercised their right to free speech” last week should have done things differently. If they were truly looking to further discussions around abortion, they could have reserved the community room and held an event. Instead they came with body-cams and shock-value propaganda.
But I know those articles would fall on deaf ears for those who disagree. And for those who do agree, I would simply be preaching to the choir. Rather, I want to take some time to affirm my fellow classmates who may have had a negative experience.
I want to show you what love looks like.
To those who spoke up for a women’s right to choose, thank you. Thank you for being a voice for yourself or for others who may not have felt like they had a voice. While I do not believe that last week’s events were much of a “conversation,” I’m glad you found the courage to be heard and to not let a few loud voices drown out the voices of thousands.
To those who were scared to say anything at all, it’s ok. Breathe. I don’t think any less of you. When these types of situations happen, we kick into fight or flight. For some of us, flight can be the better option at times and that’s alright. Whether you choose to speak tomorrow, next week, or somewhere in the distant future, just know that I stand behind you with many others.
To those who were personally affected by the messages on Monday and Tuesday: I’m sorry. I’m sorry that people who know nothing about you tried to make you feel less than. But please remember that you are loved. Do not listen to the messages of hate telling you that you are going to hell or that your actions are somehow equivalent to that of a slave owner’s. Pay no attention to those who scream “pro-life” at you with complete disregard for YOUR life.
And to those of you who were simply annoyed, I hope you channel that annoyance into helping improve our campus by getting involved. The voices of our community should always be louder than outsiders.
Well, we were.
As overheard from one of the demonstrators by a fellow student, they “came to the wrong campus.”