By: Duane Paul Murphy
As another prolonged school year begins, we as the student community must display the upmost respect and tolerance towards one of our fellow pupils. No matter what ethnicity, class, race, religion, nationality, sexual orientation, size, shape, gender identity, or political identity, diversity matters not only on our campus, but university campuses all over the country and the world. Diversity fosters cooperation and compromise between one another in order to achieve our own collective and individual goals or destinies in life. We cannot allow ignorance or any other form of hatred stand in the way or separate us into tumultuous factions that seek to dominate over each other. Whether we are athletes, artists, student government officials, or public representatives of our own local community, we must look out for one another in order to generate societal or personal goodness. If you look beyond what is going on outside our fragile student community, in the real world, we need compassion for one another, not bullying tactics or offensiveness at ordinary people. Division leads to isolation and fear amongst ourselves and others that we work with or live with. Only justice and care can lead towards a more unified people. We are quite aware that words or actions of marginalization have occurred on our campus in both past and present. Recently, this has occurred again. Even though it was expressed in semi-private matter, it highlights the hidden issues gradually spreading across our campus. But there are ways to further deter such volatile actions. We cannot just be the bystander because remaining silent means you are justifying or normalizing their immoral actions towards a person or a group of people. We have to stand up for ourselves and others from hatred or injustice in our student community. We cannot let derogatory comments or motions just slip through the cracks. We need to call them out in a peaceful, civil manner. After the recent attacks over the summer, from Orlando to Turkey, we do not need any more suffering right now in our busy lives, but understanding and reverence for one another. Our diversity makes us unique. It stands out from the world we grew up in. So do not let a series of tweets, or other actual words or actions in real life bring you down. As First Lady of the United States Michelle Obama said at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia this past summer that our words and actions matter, and “when they go low, we go high.” When someone in this world is trying to bring you down in life because of some difference, you and others in your community must get back up and stand up for who you are as your own true character. Let us not allow anyone, whether they represent our community or live within its boundaries, spread hate. Instead, let us attempt at our greatest strengths: cooperation, stability, compassion, care, and speaking up for others, whether they be groups or individuals, who are being picked on.