Letter to the Editor


Christopher Hester,
CSUEB Student

In response to the article “Campus Sees Rising Tension in 2017:”

I was there for the whole protest. I was with the DISC staff when they decided to protest, when they wanted to make signs, and I walked out there with them when they were the first students to protest. I was there, messaging my fellow Queer-Straight Alliance members, who joined us in the protest, bringing the signs we held for homecoming. I held the Lin-Manuel Miranda sign, and I spoke after the hate mongers left.

I call them this, and not some other name, because that’s exactly what they are. They came to our campus to spread hatred and fear. Last year, at the same time, as a first year student, I encountered them and ignored them other than one reaction, and they stayed longer. And this year, I decided to protest.

I am a second year student here at the school. I am transgender and disabled, a low-income first generation college student whose life mission is to help people. I have seen my fair share of oppression, and I fight back against it every single day. I fight against hate speech as I see my community beaten and murdered in the name of “free speech” and “religious freedom”.

The comment that there were “two sides shouting at each other, but not listening” infuriated me, for quite a few reasons. Those of us that were protesting were, for the most part, proclaiming our love for everyone, whether they are queer, or people of color, or have had an abortion, or many, many other things that were condemned by the hate mongers on campus.

It is not up to the marginalized to “listen to other people’s opinions” when those opinions literally invalidate the existence of marginalized people and condemn them for existing. Just as well, there is no shame in the oppressed and marginalized voicing their anger and upset against those who continue to hurt them. It is not the responsibility of those who are systematically dehumanized and oppressed by the systems currently in place to listen to and comfort those who perpetuate that oppression.

What the hate mongers were spreading was indeed hate speech, which should NOT be protected under the “freedom of speech” that those who like to spew hate speech often tout. The hate mongers were protected on campus, due to freedom of speech, but even then, “freedom of speech” means freedom to say something without being taken in under the law. It is not a freedom to say whatever one wants without any backlash or consequences.

There was a real unity expressed between students on campus that day, including students that may never have had contact with each other otherwise. We, as students, spread our love for each other while the hate mongers spread their hatred towards us. There was a beauty to our unity as a campus and as a student body against what was truly, honestly, hate speech.

That should not be thrown aside as “not listening to the other side”.


Christopher Hester, CSUEB Student