With finals week quickly approaching, I am more on edge than ever, which is not surprising, and therefore I am more emotional than usual. By now, I am sure everyone has heard of or even attended the demonstration that happened on November thirtieth outside of South Dining Hall. If not, let me explain. A group came, that was not affiliated with Kutztown, and preached hate speech to over one hundred students. An email was sent out to students earlier that day warning them that this group would be on campus, but as my email was not working properly, I did not receive the warning. I found out through another student in one of my classes.
I was let out of class and began walking back to my dorm when I saw the demonstration. I walked closer and debated whether or not I should get a closer look. I decided it would be best to go back to my dorm and talk to my roommate. When I got back, she was not in her room, and I figured she would be down at the demonstration. I stood at my window, staring out at the madness going on before me for about fifteen minutes, tossing back and forth the positives and negatives of going down. At this point, the shouting and the large crowd was giving me anxiety, and I decided to stay in my room and get work done. I felt completely beside myself.
The window was open. I could hear shouting, and all I wanted to do was cry. I called my mom explaining what was happening, and I broke down, embarrassed that it was getting to me but realizing that I should be furious and upset by this incident. I could not take it much longer. I closed the window, pulled the shades down, and put in my earbuds as I tried to collect myself. This continued for three more hours.
I am proud of the students that took part in the protest and stood up for what they believe in. I am so grateful that I can be part of a community that is so loving and stands by one another when hate tries to divide us. I hate that I was brought to tears by individuals that believe it is okay to tell someone to kill themselves or that they are going to hell for believing in something, but I know that this should infuriate me. I wish I would have done more, and I wish the school could do more. Even though I was not there in person, this still had a significant impact on me as this is the first time I have ever experienced hate to this extent before. College has exposed me to so many things, good and bad, and I am finally seeing the negative parts that are unfortunately becoming more and more common as I get older. I hope this gives me the drive I need to educate myself and others about the effects of hate speech and other acts of hate.