Letter to the Editor

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Christchurch shooting in New Zealand reminds the WGSS program of U.S. shooting

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Letter to the Editor

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(Editor’s note: Letters to the editor can be submitted via The Spectator’s website. The Spectator reserves the right to edit letters for grammar and style. The views and comments expressed are those of the writer and not necessarily those of The Spectator or its staff.)

The women’s, gender and sexuality studies program acknowledges the pain and suffering

that the recent white supremacist shooting in Christchurch, New Zealand has caused for our communities. We are a program committed to social justice for people of all backgrounds and identities, but we especially uplift the voices and experiences of people who come from marginalized backgrounds related to race, ethnicity, class, gender, sexuality, disability and religion.

When we think about the shooting in New Zealand, we are also reminded of the shooting at the Pulse nightclub in 2016 that took the lives of 49 mostly black and Latino queer individuals. We are reminded of the shooting at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston in 2015 that took the lives of nine African Americans. We cannot help but also think of the Charlottesville rally in 2017 where white nationalists publicly protested in defense of white supremacy.

White supremacy is intimately interwoven with anti-black racism, Islamophobia, homophobia and transphobia. We believe that ending gender and sexual oppression ultimately means we must also work to end racial oppression.

Our students are hurting. There is pain as well as fear and anxiety. Our students who come from different religious backgrounds, who have different socioeconomic statuses, who are immigrants and children of immigrants, who have different racial, gender and sexual identities are all hurting. White supremacy is a global phenomenon that hits close to home for many of us. Our program affirms the lived experiences of our students who are made to feel that they do not belong at this university or in this country. We elevate the experiences of students who do not exist in what may be considered the “norm.” We hold space for our students who often have to live in the cracks of invisibility or hypervisibility.

We are feminists who are devoted to transnational and intersectional activism and advocacy. The shooting in New Zealand is another instance of hate, fear and destruction that seeks to alienate the most vulnerable members of our community. Our program hopes to offer the tools for our students to link these events together in order to fight against racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, Islamophobia, and xenophobia. Our program hopes to also offer the environment for students to intentionally hold space for one another. Our program is a place where all students should feel safe.

Sincerely,

Dr. Rose-Marie Avin, WGSS Program Director and Professor of Economics

Dr. Sandibel Borges, WGSS Assistant Professor

Dr. Kong Pheng Pha, WGSS and CHS Assistant Professor

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