Students Show Support to End Discrimination

Blue ribbons are appearing all over campus, and a wall of painted bricks stands on the Marriott Plaza, reminding passers-by of acts of oppression, discrimination and intolerance.

The Writing on the Wall Project Planning Committee, a group of University of Utah students, has designated this week as End Discrimination Week, and it planned daily events to accomplish that goal.

Students are wearing blue ribbons to demonstrate their support of ending discrimination. Students can also sign a blue slip of paper pledging to do their part to end the problem of discrimination. These slips of paper will be put together in a paper chain to be hung in the Union. Blue ribbon booths are in the Union and the Heritage Center.

“We think that if people see it, they’ll realize that people are working to end discrimination,” said U student Chad Dilley, explaining why he is putting together a paper chain representing student support.

The organizers already have 500 slips of paper to put into their chain, but they hope to have many more.

“We’re hoping to get a lot,” Dilley said. “We want to put the chain around the Union.”

As a part of End Discrimination Week, Lorna Vogt and Liz Mims from the Utah Progressive Network spoke to a small group of students on Wednesday about challenging oppression.

“It’s really hard to confront this stuff,” Vogt said. As she and Mims spoke, they told listeners how to deal with oppressive speech in others and in themselves.

Thursday has been designated as Anonymous Heroes Day. There will be tables set up around campus where students can fill out a card to acknowledge someone they think is a hero. The cards will then be delivered anonymously to the “heroes.”

“We want to focus on the people who are making a difference,” said Emily Justice, who served on the week’s planning committee. “It’s just an opportunity to let people know.”

The week will culminate at 11 a.m. Friday when students break down the Wall of Oppression, the cinderblock structure in front of the Marriott Library. The cinderblocks in the wall were painted by students and organizations to represent things that they view as acts of hatred or oppression. Breaking down the wall is meant to symbolize the collective effort to break down hatred and discrimination. U Sociology Professor Theresa Martinez and Rep. Jim Matheson will speak.

Other events this week have included movies addressing inequality issues and a diversity fair.

End Discrimination Week has been in the planning stages for a long time, according to Justice.

“It’s really bizarre, we planned it way before Sept. 11,” she said. “It turned out to be a good opportunity to address the things that people are feeling about it.”

End Discrimination Week is sponsored by 18 different campus groups.

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