Last year brought a great deal of commotion, chaos, and tragedy for people worldwide. As we embark on a new year, it is my hope that together, we can begin to dispel the hate and misunderstanding that lies at the root of the losses the human race has suffered. It is my sincerest desire that in the course of this new year, we may all begin to approach one another with an enhanced understanding, that we may demonstrate compassion and empathy for each other. These are the first steps to be taken as we pioneer towards a true national and global unity.
In simplest terms, my proposal is that we stop being mean to one another. Intolerance takes a toll on real people’s feelings and well-being.
I feel a particular necessity to address the plight of one young man on this very campus. He is a schoolmate, he is our peer, and he is in need of our support. In his Monday column, Jon Watkins was obviously crying out for the support and acceptance he lacks as a Panamo-Russo-Semitic-American on this campus.
I spent the latter part of last semester attempting to educate my readers about the experiences of various minority populations. Though I feel somewhat pleased that Mr. Watkins seems to have come to a personal understanding of the challenges faced by minorities in this country, I am disheartened by the injustices he now must come to terms with due to his newly realized Panamo-Russo-Semitic-American identity. He seems particularly bothered by the institutionalized discrimination he has recently realized will quite likely affect every facet of the rest of his life. Traveling through life along a road of discrimination and racism is rough.
Mr. Watkins, hang in there. Every instance stings, some a little more than others, but if you’re lucky, it becomes tolerable with time.
I must warn you about the experiences you will now face from the rest of society if the readers do not heed my call for compassion and I remain your only supporter. (You may already be familiar with some of these.) The legitimacy of your struggles will always be questioned. You will often be left to grapple with the loneliness and frustration of rejection. The challenges you face in overcoming obstacles you encounter will be used against you to invalidate your sheer determination. You will most likely have to fight to secure a meager arsenal of resources that at times will serve as your only lifeline.
It is because of my personal experience with this particular obstacle that I vow to serve as an ally in your efforts to secure the institution of a Panamo-Russo-Semitic-American Student Organization. I will demonstrate my commitment to social progress by committing myself to your cause.
I implore each of you, my fellow students, my campus-community and my fellow Fort Collins residents to join me in my efforts to promote respect for others and a renewed sense of understanding by taking the first small steps of what is sure to be a long and difficult journey. The journey towards a world of harmony, cooperation, and peace must start somewhere. By demonstrating our support for Jon Watkins, we send a loud message to the rest of the world.
Hate in the new world of the year 2002 will not be tolerated.
Veronica Garcia is a senior majoring in sociology.