Sat. Dec 3rd, 2022

What has been done on our campus and campuses around the Pennsylvania area is no less than a plague. I’ll not reiterate the event in too much detail, as this piece is more geared to what we should be doing in response.

If you need full details, Sunny Morgan (with some assistance from Kinjal Shah) has a breaking news article on the subject. It can be found in the news section on page 3.

I was originally uncertain about responding to what happened on Thursday so soon—I’m more used to following other’s examples. After speaking with my seminar professor, Tim Dougherty, I believe it’s necessary to get the word out and act both quickly and intelligently. Complacency is not an option. Even on the off chance that keeping quiet and ignoring them would cause these supposed “Christians” of the Mathew 24 group to leave our own campus, that won’t stop them from doing this at other colleges to get a rise out of students. They want to look like the victims and make public colleges seem like they have no control over their students.

We all need to come together and find more peaceful and proactive ways to drag attention away from groups like these. Sean Skulski and members of the Writing Center gave us a good start by redirecting attention through making a demonstration banner. Another good example is the Orlando “Angels.” Instead of engaging with the Westboro Baptist Church’s protest after the horrific nightclub shooting in Orlando, Fla., the American Theatre group chose to wear angel costumes to block them out, according to NPR. Mourners were then able to “grieve in peace.”

In the past, social movements have been successful through peaceful means. We just had our MLK Day of Service on Thursday, Jan. 26, and we can’t just learn about what King and other activists did in the past. Even just starting this week, I’ve been learning about social activist Bayard Rustin, who advocated for equal rights regardless of race, while also trying to open up conversation about the LGBT community.

We face a continuation of the very social issues that they fought for, and going backwards is not an option. Millions, like myself, congregated in New York City, Philadelphia and Washington along with other cities within America to peacefully march in the hopes of having their voices heard after Trump’s inauguration. We cannot lose that momentum. Lashing out at oppressors through egging might feel good at the time, but it doesn’t actually resolve the issue. It can even inflame it. Peaceful methods have a more lasting effect and don’t cause a loss of credibility on our part.

If we can distract from this hate speech in a big enough way, then other colleges will see what we’ve done and follow suit. We need to cause trouble, but peacefully and in a fun, entertaining way. The more attention we drag away from these people, the better. They don’t deserve the platform that they’re given, but we cannot simply ignore what they say.

This will require communication and all of us at this university to band together. As of now, I don’t know what the best course of action is, and my seminar class is also still formulating potential tactics. If you have ideas, please send me an e-mail. Let’s be nothing short of angelic while we cause trouble for these hateful groups that slander religion to further their own harmful ideas. We will not be victims of oppression, nor will we allow these people to have a platform for their hateful rhetoric.

We need to rise up, together. This is our community, and we can’t allow for this. Expect a follow-up article in the coming weeks with further ideas and information.

Alex DiPeri is a third-year student majoring in English with a minor in women and gender studies. They can be reached at AD831966@wcupa.edu.

One thought on “Angelic troublemakers”
  1. Good stuff. Try to learn as much as possible about Bayard Rustin – he was an interesting man, a civil rights leader.

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