Meet the Candidate: Marquis Mason
Running for vice president for diversity
Major: environmental health through Fairhaven
Below are excerpts from an interview with The Western Front.
Why do you want to run for the AS?
“I had always wanted to run for office, but it seemed like a scary process. One of my best friends, who is the elections coordinator, knows how I’m very active in the [Western Amnesty] club. She told me I would be perfect for this [position] and told me to run. I come from a pretty diverse background, I represent a couple of my minority groups. I think that I could fit this very well.”
What issues do you want to tackle?
“In the job description, one of the lines is to ‘promote empowerment.’ I think this is a really important issue, especially after the election. Students want to feel empowered. Inclusion, diversity, equity and respect are very important, but I think that empowering our student body to take matters into their own hands, to be vocal, and to be change-makers. I work with a human rights group, so that’s a recurring theme: preparing people to be advocates.”
How would you address these specifically?
“In terms of diversity, obviously there is ethnic and cultural diversity, but we also need to address diversity in mental health, diversity in physical ability and body size. I also want to create a lot of cooperation and collaboration between the social advocacy groups on campus, because we are stronger together.”
What are your qualifications?
“I’m pretty outgoing, I’m the type to get the ball rolling and lead the charge. I also like to hear a lot of opinions, because diversity in opinions is really important. I’m a chair for Western Amnesty, so I’m currently leading over one of the project groups, called “Freedom from Fear.” We tackle hateful rhetoric and negative stereotypes being spread about targeted groups. That has been a huge leadership position for me, I’ve been running full credits and running point on a lot of the club issues and projects. That has prepared me for being Vice President of Diversity.
“I was also the head of the safety committee for my local Fred Meyer, as well as a member of the cultural council at Fred Meyer. And in high school I was part of ASB.”
In your biography for the AS website, you refer to yourself as an intersectional feminist. What are some specific ways that you plan to advocate for the female-identifying students on this campus?
“One way I want to advocate for the female-identifying students is to promote body autonomy. This is a huge issue. Another thing that has come to my notice a lot lately is the dichotomy that we supply free condoms but we can’t get women basic hygiene supplies like tampons and pads? Recently, there’s been an encroachment of female’s bodies being politicized. This is something we need to address as a community and as a nation, but we can start as a grassroots movement here through Western students. I also want to advocate for feminine identities and respecting that men don’t have to be masculine, a male doesn’t have to identify as a man. Things that are related to femininity definitely need a lot of support as well.”
How has your leadership position at Western Amnesty prepared you for this role? What are some of the specific experiences you’ve had with this group that you feel have prepared you for this position?
“Something that I feel qualifies me for AS is take everything that is working for me now as a chair at [Western Amnesty] into my position as the Vice President of Diversity.”
What specific instances have you seen on Western’s campus of minority voices being silenced, and how will you work to prevent this in the future?
“I’ve realized that in so many social advocacy groups, indigenous populations don’t get paid attention to. I also do not think we get enough exposure to positive Islamic images. I haven’t heard much about Muslim advocacy [on campus]. I think we need the leaders of the university itself to be more vocal about this issue.
“We really are stronger together. Intersectionality is the way that we are going to pave the way for minority groups and targeted group’s rights. [AS] needs to bring together all of our resources to pave a better future.”
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