Thursday, September 28, 2023

West Circle groups gather to 'smash' discrimination

November 1, 2011

On Tuesday, West Circle Intercultral Aides and RACE/Black Caucus hosted “Smash Hate: Grow Community,” an event bringing MSU community members together to discuss racism and to sign pledges to take action against discrimination. The event featured pumpkin smashing as a symbolic gesture of smashing intolerance. 

Photo by Julia Nagy | The State News

Dozens of pumpkins laid smashed on a black tarp on Mayo Hall’s basketball court as about 40 members of the MSU community gathered Tuesday to “smash” racism.

The West Circle Intercultural Aides and RACE/Black Caucus held “Smash Hate: Grow Community,” an event held in Campbell Hall to discuss and pledge against discrimination. The group later walked to Mayo Hall’s basketball court to smash pumpkins donated by Uncle John’s Cider Mill in St. Johns, Mich., as a symbol of smashing intolerance.

Spanish senior, intercultural aide and a coordinator of the event Cyntoya McCall said the event was a way to spur discussion about the racial incidents on campus this semester.

“We want to create an inclusive environment at West Circle and we want to spread this to campus,” McCall said. “Coming together and working towards a sense of unity is important.”

The event started with clips from “American History X,” “Crash” and “Higher Learning” depicting discrimination. People then were broken into groups and asked questions about the clips to spur discussion. Everyone then met as a whole to discuss what was said and sign pledges to take action against discrimination.

“Even though (the discrimination) is in movies, it has happened on campus,” McCall said. “(Discrimination) exists on campus. It exists in the world. It exists in society, period.”

Those at the event could write their own pledge or choose a prewritten pledge. The pledges were placed in a display case that will rotate among the halls in West Circle Neighborhood this week.

Then, people moved outside to smash pumpkins on Mayo Hall’s basketball court. The pumpkin remains will be taken to MSU Student Organic Farm for compost.

Interdisciplinary humanities junior Jasmine Robertson stepped up to the black tarp on Mayo Hall’s basketball court.

“I pledge to be an example for others,” Robertson said and turned to the tarp to smash her pumpkin.

Advisor of RACE/Black Caucus and graduate student Julianna Hernandez said the pumpkins represented the “negative actions and ideas” on campus.

“I think smashing of the pumpkins is a way to show that we want to put a stop to hate,” Hernandez said. “It’s a way to destroy something that’s been hurtful to the community.”

Robertson said she enjoyed smashing the pumpkin, which for her added more meaning to the event.

“It added a physical aspect to what we’re trying to do,” Robertson said. “It really embodied what we’re trying to do to end racism on this campus.”

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