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OCat hosts anti-discrimination event

November 13, 2012

Students take a stand against ignorance by participating in the on-going Our MSU campaign. Each student made a sign describing their particular struggle with either ignorance, discrimination or intolerance.

Photo by Lindsay Spagnuolo | The State News

Criminal justice freshman Sherronia Dorsey-Walker is proud of where she comes from, and the reason she attends MSU.

“People believe I am less educated or I come from the ghetto, but I am an alumna of Pershing High School in (Detroit) and I received 11 scholarships to come here,” she said. “I wanted to express myself on paper to show others on the MSU campus that a black student from Detroit has the potential to succeed in the future.”

On Tuesday night, Dorsey-Walker was one of many students who gathered at the Brody Neighborhood Engagement Center to create signs, protesting against discrimination, ignorance and intimidation through the OUR MSU sign-making campaign. For about four hours, students made signs pertaining to their particular struggles and stated why MSU is the place for them.

“(The OUR MSU campaign) is a way to empower students challenged with negative comments, hostility and racial discrimination,” said Meaghan M. Kozar, coordinator for the Office of Cultural and Academic Transitions. “(It is) a stand against … the perception against a certain race. (We hope) to try and stop people from saying that there is too many of a particular race and they don’t belong here at MSU.”

The campaign began with a group of students determined to take a stand against what they felt was ignorance on MSU’s campus. According to Kozar, the signs originally were a promotional aspect for the campaign, but after they grew in popularity, the signs became a central part of the campaign.

“I never thought it would be this big when it started, but then it just blew up,” packaging sophomore Hayden Fennoy said. “The best part was getting to watch it grow and being one of the first people to hold a sign.”

Fennoy, marketing senior Kashif Bhatti and about 10 others were the first to be involved in the program.

“The best part is the individuality of each person,” Bhatti said. “You really get down to the core of a person with each sign. The campaign is individual, but collective because each sign is different, but united at the same time.”

Tuesday’s event was part two of the campaign. The October event generated about 74 signs, Kozar said. Although they have a long way to go, she said the group decided to establish a goal of creating 1,000 signs.

“It is really important to raise awareness about how diverse MSU is,” prenursing freshman Diana Bunag said. “We need to accept each and every student and maybe even learn a thing or two from one another.”

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