The chair of the Associated Students of Madison is a powerful position tasked with representing the student body to the University of Wisconsin administration and improving our campus community. And while all students on campus get to vote on who represents them, it’s no secret not all of our peers have been represented in our government.
We have seen progress over the last year as more students of color have assumed leadership positions, but we have much work to do before our institutions truly represent our most marginalized communities. But this Monday, our representatives have the chance to vote for someone who has proven time and again she will fight for those who have been silenced by our predominantly white, classist university — and that person is ASM Rep. Katrina Morrison.
Morrison has been a tireless advocate since she began her time with ASM during her sophomore year. As an ASM intern, she spearheaded her first project, “Our Wisconsin,” which has taken the campus by storm and successfully achieved the goal of improving UW’s climate through dialogue and civil discourse. Since then, she has collaborated with the university administration, faculty, staff and students to strengthen this groundbreaking initiative so it better serves our entire community.
In her time as a representative, Morrison has worked on legislation that expanded ASM’s nondiscrimination policy to include immigration status, class and gender identity, and co-sponsored legislation that demanded our administration recognize our campus sits on stolen Ho-Chunk land and honors our indigenous community on Indigenous People’s Day. I have no doubt she will continue to be a constant voice for people of all backgrounds, despite pressures from all sides to maintain the status quo of oppression.
The recent attacks on Morrison’s character attempt to erase the years of service she has provided to our entire community, but it’s not the first time an unapologetic black woman hasn’t been credited for her work. It’s not the first time an unapologetic black woman has been characterized as having a “poor demeanor” when advocating for oppressed groups. And it’s not the first time an unapologetic black woman has been threatened with opposition for speaking her truth.
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Morrison was recently described as “toxic,” but students of color know it’s the white supremacy on this campus that’s poisoning us, not the women of color fighting against it. We as a community must do better.
I’ve worked with Morrison for almost two years now, and she has demonstrated an unwavering commitment to bettering the lives of every student on this campus. I have full faith in Morrison’s abilities to work with all students, despite differences in opinion and experience. To elect someone other than Morrison as ASM chair would be a tremendous disservice, not just to the marginalized communities on our campus who are consistently silenced and undervalued, but also to the greater student body.
I urge everyone on campus to ensure their Student Council representative will support Morrison because she is the only candidate for chair who has proven she will never back down when fighting for what’s right.
Chet Agni ([email protected]) is a senior studying political science and biology with a certificate in global health.