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In celebration of “Speak Up Against Hate Day,” the UCSB Office of Judicial Affairs will host a series of events today discussing the precautions and dangers that surround acts of hate based on race, gender and other differences.
The campus-wide event will address hateful acts due to intolerance of racial, ethnic, religious, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, citizenship status, age or disability differences. Featuring speeches by Associated Students Assistant Director for Community Affairs Aaron Jones and Suzanne Perkin, assistant director and hate incident response coordinator of Judicial Affairs, the event will also include a performance by Polynesian Dance Group Iaorana Te Otea and other activities.
Following the dance group’s performance at Storke Plaza around noon, Speak Up Against Hate Day will continue with a special Women’s Self-Defense Workshop later in the day at the Loma Pelona Center. UC Police Department Officer and Coordinator of Rape, Aggression Defense Dawn Arviso will team up with the Campus Advocacy Resources & Education Program to present the event and its offering of self-defense classes.
Second-year political science major Nikki Calderon said while it is unfortunate such skills are necessary, the self-defense classes would be valuable to students of any background.
“We should live in a world where you don’t have to need to defend yourself, but we don’t live in that world yet, so I think that it’s important that you know how to defend yourself, no matter how you identify,” Calderon said.
Gold Okafor, second-year biology major, said she looks forward to watching Jones speak, as she finds him “very inspiring,” and said she plans on attending the events to gain more knowledge about the challenges faced by minorities.
“It is important, as a student — not just as a student of color, but as a student — to be informed of the issues that face students of color,” Okafor said. “It’s the best way to work to be a better leader and better organizer.”
While she identifies as a person of color, Okafor said she has much to learn by attending the event.
“Even though I am a person of color, there are struggles that I still don’t identify with and struggles that I will continue to need to learn about,” Okafor said.
The UCSB Police Department, Isla Vista Foot Patrol, Resource Center for Sexual Gender Diversity and Campus Advocacy Resources & Education all provide assistance or counselling to victims, which will be shown at today’s event.
Calderon said she hopes students will benefit from being exposed to the experiences of those who speak at the event.
“I think students should educate themselves about what their peers go through,” Calderon said. “I really hope there’s student participation, both in active listening as well as about their experiences on campus.”
A version of this article appeared in the Monday, May 12, 2014 edition of the Daily Nexus.