Historically, student movements have had impacts in the fight against intolerance, and they are still making their voices heard today.
There is a negative vibe in the U.S. today, one that is focused on hate, fear and intolerance. Groups that have stayed in the shadows and under the radar of normal society are making their voices heard — and those voices are angry and scary.
Recent events have shined a light on how brazen many of these groups have become, and now that they have some momentum, there’s no sign of them stopping their discriminatory campaign. However, despite the negative emotions and hate-filled displays, groups across campuses in the U.S. are banding together and forming initiatives to fight intolerance. The list below highlights a few.
- Campus Pride
Student leaders created Campus Pride to work toward the goal of more LGBTQ-friendly campuses. They take donations to develop services, resources and programs to support LGBTQ students and their allies. They also promote programs to denounce racism and work to stop it from occurring on college campuses.
- Stop the Hate
Founded by Shane L. Windmeyer, this organization helps colleges and campuses combat and prevent hate through educational initiatives. The program takes a comprehensive look at the hate crime issue on college campuses and encourages conversations between the college and the campus community to initiate an effective change. They have a grassroots outreach program that targets campuses and college communities to help them find ways to enact change.
- The Southern Poverty Law Center
The Southern Poverty Law Center is an organization that works largely to fight bigotry and hate. This group realizes and celebrates the contributions students have made throughout history to change society, so they have a whole section of their site devoted to collegiate anti-hate initiatives. They are willing and ready to help students fight the good fight and offer resources and advice so everyone can experience opportunity and justice.
- The Hate-Free Campus Initiative at UC Davis
Developed in 2010, the mission of this initiative is to engage the entire UC Davis campus in activities, training and programs to stop hate. In addition, they want to increase awareness and foster appreciation of diversity. Their goal is to build a more inclusive community on campus and to promote respect and civility in human interactions. They also offer $200 to student organizations that promote hate-free, safe and inclusive events.
- Ithaca College and Others
In early 2017, Ithaca College made it possible for students to change their gender identity without needing to show personal identification. They are one of the 53 colleges that allow this. Letting students self-identify gender makes it easier for trans and binary students to live the way they want without setting up boundaries and barriers that impact class, race or other factors.
- Zeta Beta Tau Foundation
This program works with other fraternities across the U.S. to stop discrimination, bigotry and hatred on college campuses. They developed the Words to Action program with the Anti-Defamation League in 2015 to provide individualized coaching to fraternities across the country.
Even if your college or campus doesn’t have a program in place to fight hate or intolerance, there are things you can do to overcome them on your own or in groups, including:
- Advocate for intolerance prevention
- Be able to identify and assess intolerance to find ways to counter it
- Be supportive of the victims of intolerance and hate — this can change the community by promoting health and well-being and preventing escalations in hate-filled and intolerant behavior
- React and respond to hate and intolerance in a legal, nonviolent, proactive way to prevent the incidents from increasing in violence
- Work with campus leaders to create and promote an inclusive college atmosphere.
College students have the will and the power to change the world, and history is on their side. And many of the people behind these initiatives don’t just work to stop hate when they see it — they are also donating money, services and time to other larger programs and causes that are progressive-minded and tolerance-focused. Get involved on your campus or in your community to see how you can make a difference. You can start with your small section of the world — and hopefully expand outward!