Campus staff and University Health Services held “Campus Conversations” where students and faculty gathered to discuss the white supremacy rally at Charlottesville and other current events affecting students Thursday.
The conversations were held in a safe space and ranged from concerns of white supremacy to standing against bigotry.
Referencing Charlottesville, campus police officer William Brown explained the reasoning behind the spread of intolerant beliefs can be cited to social media.
The spread of these intolerant beliefs is cited to social media, William Brown said.
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“These groups are firmly ingrained on the internet, so they have their conversations all the time,” Brown said. “They’re constantly talking to people who are like themselves everywhere across the world. We need to find a way to combat that.”
Recent activity among white supremacist groups targeting minorities and those prevalent in Germany in the 1920s are also “related,” UW student Richard Li, said.
There is a connection between the time period leading up to the Holocaust and the current state of affairs in the United States, Li said.
“I am sad and I am horrified,” Li said. “Even if I go back to China, I won’t be safe.”
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More events that allow students to speak in a safe space like Campus Conversations are necessary for countering the growing presence of white supremacist groups, Brown said.
But, a key to preventing the rise of white supremacist groups is also standing up to bigotry, Lori DiPrete Brown, Global Health Institute associate director said.
“There was a hate group outside of my son’s high school. He went out there and spoke back,” DiPrete Brown said. “I think it’s very beautiful when young people want to do that.”