Dear President Barron,
During these contentious times, I’m going to ask you to do something that requires courage. We need you to show us that “We are…all in” by taking a stronger stance for love and against division and hatred. I know you have it in you as you stood with your hands up to stand for the lives of our black brothers and sisters. Will you do it again?
The election of Donald Trump has unleashed powerful forces of bigotry in our country and the adulation of ignorance. Already at our campus, students are being threatened and harassed. A young Muslim woman was found curled up in a stall. A young man donning a Donald Trump mask entered a class and shouted racial epithets at students. One of my students is dropping out of school because of worries for her family. Across the nation the Swastika is being openly used and beatings are on the rise.
One of my best friends grew up in a house whose family was directly affected by the Ku Klux Klan. Her father, Michael Nathan (say his name) was killed in Greensboro, North Carolina for standing up for the rights of black workers. My friend was an infant. Today, we have a president in office who has been endorsed by The Daily Stormer, the paper and web media page of the KKK. The rise in violence, the threats, the fact that Steve Bannon is being positioned to be in the White House and the harassment our students—and likely faculty and staff too—make this real. It is not abstract.
In 1963, Martin Luther King, Jr. visited Penn State. He called on all of us to stand up against the forces of bigotry. He said, “God is not interested merely in the freedom of brown men and yellow men and black men [women too of course!]; God is interested in the freedom of the whole human race and the creation of a society where all men will live together as brothers [and sisters] and every man will respect the dignity and the worth of human personality.” We must be that love that King said creates understanding, creativity and redemptive good will. If “We are…All in!” then we must stand on that side of love.
I look forward to seeing you stand up and leading us. We need courage. We need you.
With hope and respect,