Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Vol. CLIV, Issue 5
Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Coalition honors LGBTQ murder victims in exhibit

Even on a liberal campus like Whitman, hate crimes and discrimination still occur, which is why the Coalition Against Homophobia (CAH) created an exhibit in the Olin breezeway called “Relating to Silence” as a tribute to 36 members of the LGBTQ community who were murdered in 2008.  

“Our goal is to raise awareness of the issue of violence against LGBTQ people, and we want to let people know of ways that they can reduce heterosexism in their own lives,” said sophomore Liam Mina, who is also co-president of CAH.  

The exhibit was a tribute to the 36 victims of hate crimes, with hand prints and photos to represent each person. In accordance with the exhibit in Olin, two discussions were held in Reid Campus Center on Feb. 12 and Feb. 19.  

“It went really well and a lot of people shared,” said Mina. “Some of the discussion was more tailored towards the LGBTQ community and some tailored to everyone who might have experienced discrimination, so everyone was able to participate.”

The discussions focused on hate crimes, and what students could do to change attitudes of discrimination in their own lives.  

“For me, one of the most important things we ended up addressing was the nature of hate crimes and the fact that they are still rampant –– even in a place where we pride ourselves on being very accepting and tolerating and not bringing up these issues,” said first-year Mehera Nori.  

Hate crimes are defined on the Whitman web site as “a criminal offense committed against a person or property which is motivated, in whole or in part, by the offender’s bias against a race, religion, disability, sexual orientation, or ethnicity/national origin.”  

Hate crimes can be reported anonymously on the Whitman student page.

“Even though we pride ourselves on being a very open and accepting campus, with Safe Zone posters everywhere, things still happen,” said Nori. “With the art exhibit, we tried to physically represent each person, and what that means, especially being murdered for expressing themselves.”

Future events coming up for the Coalition Against Homophobia include a film series, a same-sex hand holding day, a Day of Silence and Dragfest.  

“We found that this exhibit and discussion have been more successful than anything we did last year,” said Mina. “We will probably do it again next year but with a different theme.”

The Coalition Against Homophobia meets every Thursday at 5 p.m. in Reid G02.  

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