Thursday, March 15, 2012

When education's under attack, don't light a candle

At 8pm on March 13, 2012, members attending the 2012 NASPA - Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education annual conference in Phoenix, AZ, including leaders from ScholarshipsA-Z were asked to light candles at a Candlelight Vigil for Social Justice.  Meant to bring awareness about social injustices in AZ, specifically those that target LGBTQ and immigrant families, this event only attracted approximately 5% of the entire population attending the conference (250+ out of 4,700).  As a result, this "act of kindness" became a paternalistic and passive move in a community that primarily creates change through action, not vigils.  Fortunately for NASPA, there was at least one moment of inspiration when the chairs of the GLBT and Latino/a Knowledge Communities spoke out against Arizona's oppressive legislation.  Leaders like Dr. Michelle Espino (University of Georgia) and Dr. Juan Guardia (Florida State University),  brought TRUTH to the otherwise passive and politically correct event by impacting the hearts and minds of everyone in attendance with their words and promises for action.

When education's under attack, what do you do?  Fight back!  With candles? NO, with action.

Because while we were lighting candles, the Maricopa County Sheriff was organizing yet another workplace raid to detain and deport more hardworking members of our community who happen to be undocumented.  

Candles = silence = inaction = injustice 

- Matt
Director, ScholarshipsA-Z


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