This letter to the editor was written by student Sam Wershow.
I woke up this morning to the news that all classes had been suspended due to threats against students of color at Western Washington University. The fact that these threats were deemed credible enough to disrupt an entire university’s education says a lot about the state of our society today. Hate, fear, and intolerance are not merely fringe expressions of the paranoid or extreme. They are mainstream values in our society. They are preached and defended by major media outlets, congressmen and presidential candidates.
It is incumbent upon all of us, regardless of our politics, to reject hate speech, to demand tolerance and inclusion and to stand united against fear. Our voices must be louder, and our action must be stronger, than the merchants of hate. We need to expose every person, every institution, every organization that uses hate and fear to intimidate. We need to demand accountability from our political leaders. Tell them that their constituents do not endorse bigotry, and will not tolerate the use of hateful rhetoric to win votes or score political points. We cannot allow the national conversation to be dominated by those who incite fear and sow division in our society for political or financial gain.
Above all, we need to send a message to everybody that feels persecuted, afraid and unwelcome. We stand with them. We support them. We want their voices to be heard. I know the values of tolerance, love and justice are stronger than fear and hate. I know that we are in the majority. But we cannot be a silent majority. We must come together as a campus community and proclaim that Western Washington University values diversity, demands justice and promotes peace.