MEMSSA community launches whiteboard campaign on Sproul Plaza

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As a part of United Against Hate Week, the Offices of ASUC Senator Imran Khan and representatives of the UC Berkeley Middle Eastern Muslim Sikh and South Asian, or MEMSSA, community organized a whiteboard social media campaign on Sproul Plaza on Wednesday.

Co-sponsored by the Office of the External Affairs Vice President, the campaign is a part of “United Against Hate Week,” a national movement founded last year in response to the white supremacist marches in Charlottesville. The whiteboard campaign is part of a series of activities occurring this week intended to promote a safe and inclusive environment around campus.

“I think a whiteboard campaign is best because we can see other people’s thoughts,” said Hira Idrees, a campus junior and Director of MEMSSA Affairs in Khan’s office. “If you show an actual message, it shows a bold statement.”

Idrees said she believes the MEMSSA community is “one of the most marginalized on campus,” and because of that, those who belong to it should be standing up for everyone. She added that the campaign is open to everyone.

Dalia Elkhalifa, a campus junior who also works in Khan’s office, said that since the MEMSSA community is composed of different groups that are “innately marginalized,” she wants to make sure that everyone feels validated and supported on campus.

Various students approached the table on Sproul, expressing words of support.

“People are angry, and there’s a lot of hate and that’s dividing different people,” said campus junior Ryan Simpkins, who attended the event. “Now’s the time to come together and fight for intersectional rights and be willing to have conversations to support communities of people rather than just feeding into angry fragmentation.”

Eli Kaplan, a campus freshman who attended the event, said he believes that meeting hate with love and compassion makes it easier to combat.

Idrees said the most important thing is making sure their voices “get out there.”

Campus freshman Esther Suh took a photo with the phrase “I stand against bigotry” because she believes it is relevant in today’s political climate.

“I believe that this is an issue that we all need to combat in order to make the world a better place,” Suh said.

Contact Ronit Sholkoff at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @RonitSholkoff.