Bahai News - Hate crime: Event can spark change
Hate crime: Event can spark change
"A hate crime occurred here March 15, 1997."
Freshly painted murals on the Memorial Union construction wall are the
only markers of a shameful act of vandalism that occurred on campus at
the start of finals week.
The defacing of the Delta Lambda Phi and the Young Black Scholars
murals are reminders of old, deeply inscribed hatreds that should be
erased, on murals meant to showcase our diversity.
The already completed mural by Delta Lambda Phi, the UC Davis gay
fraternity, and the one in progress by the Young Black Scholars will
constantly remind UCD students of the malicious epitaphs that marred them
with inexcusable hate language and swastikas.
A more painful reminder, however, is the deep mental and emotional scar
this hate crime etches into our campus consciousness. This crime tops off
a year of especially high racial tensions that have recently simmered just
under the surface. But the shocking nature of the event brings these
tensions to the forefront, forcing us to recognize that racial hatred and
homophobia do exist in our community.
With this realization, we must work harder than ever to eliminate such
hatred. Chancellor Vanderhoef has advanced toward this goal by condemning
the action and expressing his hope that the perpetrators will be caught
While the responses of Vanderhoef and the two student groups are a step
in the right direction, the campus must continue its work to educate
students about such hate crimes so they can be prevented.
In the future, campus officials should be sure that students have access
to photographs of vandalism that involves their groups. However,
administrators made the right decision to paint over the murals as soon
as possible. Students need to be aware that the hate crime occurred, but
vandals should not have the satisfaction of seeing their work stand
Just as the two groups have assembled to repaint their murals, the
campus community should work together to not only heal the wounds this
hate crime opened, but to mend the deeper societal ills that caused them.
Ironically, the new murals lie to the left and right of a mural by
the Baha'i club. It reads, "Uniting the world one heart at a time."
The three together serve their purpose, and tell us there is still
room for change, if we work for it.
©Copyright 1997, The California Aggie
Page last updated/revised 120300
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