News

Students remember those lost to hate crimes

Students gathered at SpectrUM’s anti-hate candlelight vigil Wednesday night at the Rock as part of the organization’s Coming Out Week activities meant to commemorate all those who have lost their lives to hate crimes.

A hate crime is defined as an aggressive or violent act taken against a person on the basis of his or her religion, race, gender, sexual orientation or nationality. While the vigil was organized by SpectrUM, its aim was to address hatred as it applies to various groups of people and not just the gay community.

The vigil also meant to unite students from different cultural, social and political backgrounds. Students in attendance included members of vastly different campus groups such as SpectrUM, Best Buddies, United Black Students, Greenpeace and Sigma Phi Epsilon, among many others.

Each student was given a white rose, a candle and a nametag bearing the name of a victim of a violent hate crime. Students then listened to a diverse panel of speakers discuss the issues of hatred and bigotry.

In her speech to the crowd, Pat Whitely, vice president for student affairs, recalled a UM far different from the one students know today.

“Fifteen years ago there wasn’t a group like SpectrUM,” Whitely said. “It started underground because people were scared something would happen to them on campus.”

The vigil also marked the seventh anniversary of the death of Mathew Shepard, a 21-year-old University of Wyoming student who was brutally beaten and left for dead on account of his sexual orientation. News of Shepard’s death rocked the nation, bringing the ugly truth about hate crimes into every living room in America.

“We must never forget what happened to Matthew Shepard as we work towards creating an environment where people can embrace and respect each others’ differences,” Whitely said.

Also in attendance at the vigil was Best Buddies president Anya Edun, whose organization works to promote one-on-one relationships with individuals with intellectual disabilities. Edun pointed out the fact that the disabled also suffer the effects of discrimination and prejudice because they are in a wheelchair, or have Down syndrome or other disabilities that label them as not being “normal.”

“I’m grateful for an event like this because so often disabled people are overlooked when you think about prejudice and discrimination,” Edun said.

In addition to speaking out against hatred and its destructive effects, the vigil also empowered students to believe in their abilities to make changes in the world by doing their part to eliminate it.

“I thought it was a very good vigil,” John Constantinide, junior, said. “Even though it’s yearly and repeats the same theme, it’s good to remind people of what’s going on because if they’re not, it brings about ignorance, which in turn brings about disregard.”

Marina Nazir can be contacted at m.nazir@umiami.edu.

October 18, 2005

Reporters

The Miami Hurricane

Student newspaper at the University of Miami


Around the Web
  • Miami Herald
  • UM News
  • HurricaneSports

Hurricanes fans, get out your pencils, calendars and a list of your favorite hotels. The Atlantic Co ...

Three former Miami Hurricanes — defensive lineman Chad Thomas, offensive lineman KC McDermott and de ...

In all technicality, the Orange Bowl is a postseason, neutral-site bowl game that includes a top tea ...

When it comes to recruiting, the scariest sentence for Miami Hurricanes fans is this one: Nesta Silv ...

This time, there was no miracle Miami win over Duke. The fifth-ranked Blue Devils rallied from a 13- ...

Global and local efforts needed to respond to biological threats, UM President Julio Frenk warned at ...

As artificial Intelligence takes hold, tech visionary David Kenny stresses keeping human values in t ...

UM’s First Black Graduates Project committee visits an iconic D.C. museum for inspiration to create ...

The Beaux Arts Festival of Art debuts at a new site with picture-perfect weather and a panoply of or ...

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s vision for a “Beloved Community” has inspired a number of University of ...

Following a promising performance during the fall portion of the 2017-18 campaign, the University of ...

The University of Miami track and field program travels to Texas this week to compete at the Texas T ...

The Miami women's tennis team will begin its 2018 spring season this weekend on its home court. ...

The University of Miami released its 2018 football schedule Wednesday, highlighted by a nationally t ...

Notes from Miami's 2018 Football schedule. ...

TMH Twitter Feed
About TMH

The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published weekly in print on Tuesdays during the regular academic year.