Culturas de las Razas Unidas (CRU) hosted the Latinx Students in Need of Solidarity Town Hall event Thursday evening to speak about micro-aggressions and the lack of Latinx representation on campus.
This event follows CRU protesting the treatment of Latinx students at an ASMSU meeting on Oct. 7. ASMSU posted on Facebook that they sent out four letters to each of the political parties inviting the presidential candidates to campus. Members of CRU were censored when they commented on ASMSU’s post about their disapproval of Republican Presidential Candidate Donald Trump coming to campus. The posts from CRU members have since been restored.
CRU Treasurer and political science senior Maisie Rodriguez got blocked by ASMSU after commenting on their post. Rodriguez said in the town hall, “It was not about Donald Trump. It was how we were censored.”
The event was originally organized after a James Madison College racial forum where, according to comparative culture & politics senior Lizbeth López-Bermúdez, López-Bermúdez asked the staff what are they doing to recruit Latinx students and students of color to James Madison, and then a staff member turned the question around and asked what is she and CRU are doing to recruit Latinx students.
“That's their jobs to recruit students and they pushed it back on us. That hasn't been addressed it has been cited as a mistake," said López-Bermúdez.
"Just because it is coming from your community, that is not ok."
Rodriguez said the event is needed following specific events that have taken place on campus.
“We formed this town hall after the James Madison incident. We already had a town hall in place when the ASMSU stuff went down. So it just is further is showing that it isn’t just one instance; this happens all the time,” said Rodriguez.
After a few members of CRU spoke about the event, they opened the floor to anyone in the room to share their stories.
Agribusiness management junior Alondra Alvizo spoke about an event that one of the members of the Black Poets Society witnessed. According to Alvizo, the member saw a group of white males writing “build a wall” in chalk in front of the Spartan Statue and sent a picture to the BPS group chat.
“What caught my attention wasn’t the fact on chalk on the pavement. What caught my attention was that it was in front of the Spartan Statue. Which to me was again a microaggression because now you're putting it in front of the entire school,” said Alvizo.
Three students from the Black Student Alliance came to say they stand in solidarity with CRU and the Latinx community. Tiffany Harris, OCAT Liaison for BSA, said, “There is power in numbers. So if we come together and stand in solidarity; we can make a change. We can make things happen so that people don’t have to have town halls to try to make a change.”
Other speakers included Assistant Professor in Philosophy and African American and African Studies Xhercis Mendez, who read a letter from Latinx staff to Latinx students at MSU. CRU historian and social work sophomore Maricela Rojas spoke about a professor who treated her with disrespect because of her heritage. Intercultural Aid and elementary education junior Selena Huapilla-Perez said that she and the other ICAs are all resources for people to use, and to consider becoming an ICA or RA.