This is not a newspaper article. This is not a school report or any kind of media coverage about what's going on at my school. This is an address to Hampshire College's President, Jonathan Lash and how I feel about everything that has been happening. For those who do not understand what has been happening with my school, bascially, our institution made the decision to take down the U.S. American flag after it was burned overnight before veterans day as a response to the Trump Election. Since then, there have been many protests on campus, as well as threats to many faculty and people of color. Therefore, the president decided to put the flag back up. On the day he made that decision, and flew the flag again, I decided to write him an email about how I felt about this entire situation. Here it is below:
Dear President J. Lash,
I know how hard it must have felt to have a news reporter try to force his way into your house and pressure you to do something you didn't want to do. I understand how hard it must have been for a man of your color and age to experience such violent attacks. Last night, I went to sleep feeling very proud of the campus I am attending, whether or not it is being depicted in the media badly by delusional white supremacists and racists supporters of trump. I felt proud of the discussion and organizing that was going on around campus, within the people of color community and the progress being made with white people as allies. But today, I woke up to news that the flag put back up and I was disappointed. My first thought was that Lash had given in and let them win. He made their statement of: "Niggers will never prosper" come true. And that hurt me more than just putting the flag up. On Wednesday and maybe Thursday as well, you went around to classrooms asking people how they felt about the flag issue and what they think should be done about it. You were given several answers I presume and we already from the start knew what answer you were going to choose.
What frustrates ME, (and I say me because this is not a message for you to take into consideration that everyone came to a consensus upon, this is just the way I feel and wanted to let you know) the most about this entire thing is that not once did you ever really really support the people of color on this campus and the way we are being treated on this campus and in this community. For one, people of color have been experiencing what you only experience in one night and from that event, you GAVE UP instantly. Point black period, the moment that you as a white man of privilege experienced any type of harassment or threats or violent attacks that people of color have been experience FOREVER, you choose to give in to your privilege of choosing your race over your morals and doing the right thing (which is to stand behind us in the fight and be a true ally) and that is what breaks my heart the most. Me as a person of color, I cannot do that. I cannot just choose my race and use my privilege to make my problems go away and that is life for me. You get to be safe now, when from the start, before and even after this flag event, I never was. I will never be safe as a queer, black women of color in this society. Ever. But at least you get to be.
I as a student of this institution chose this college to attend because I believed that it was different from any other college I was thinking of applying to. The choice to attend this institution occurred to me in a dream because I really fell in the love with the idea of "disrupting education" and asking different questions about history and what it means to live in the United States as a person of color. I came here to build a vision of what the US SHOULD look like, and for a moment, I thought that that's what you would want to do to, but I guess I was wrong. I personally, as a individual and a student don't know what to do or where to go from here, but I know the fight will never stop. Just because you put the flag back up does not mean threats against people of color will cease to exist. Just because you put the flag back up doesn't mean these white supremacists and trump supporters will stop threatening and making fun of school. I AS A INDIVIDUAL feel like you have made matters worse. You have made those people who protested on Sunday and will protest this coming Sunday feel like its okay to treat people of color and others who do not conform to trump politics and ways of thinking unequal. You have made them believe that it is okay to threaten people and come on campus and intimidate people and make not just people of color feel unsafe, but everyone who is affected negatively by this trump presidency. That includes people of the LGBTQ community, the people of color community, the people who are undocumented immigrants, the people who identify as Muslim, the people who identify as Semitic, and everyone else who trump supporters feel like they can harm if they disagree. That's what I felt you have done with this decision. And I am just very disappointed.
You may respond to this email directly to me because again I want to reiterate that this message represents the way I feel about this situation. I do not want you to just go out and say this represents the entire community of people of color, lgbtq, etc. I just want you to take into consideration that the decision you made to stand by the flag which represents so much hate and violence and racism and homophobia and etc, I just want you know the implications of what you've done and think about the steps you should want to take from here. Talk to us, listen to us, and actually CARE. NO MORE BS. This trump presidency is real. People are already dying, and as much as you think conforming and giving in helps, IT DOESN'T. It just shows us where you stand. I will leave you with one of my favorite and most important quotes that I have discovered so far while being at Hampshire College. I read a graphic novel for leisure at the library by Jim Demonakos and Mark Long. It was called The Silence of Our Friends. At the end of the book, there is a quote by Martin Luther King Jr that says: "In the end, we will not remember the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends. You should read it. I'll even give you the call number: PN6727.L67 S55 2012. Thank you for your eyes and time.
Sincerely, Rejjia Camphor
P. S. I don't know if you remember me, but you sat in on Tinson's Freedom Dreams class. I am a Division I student and I was sitting right next to you that day. Do not hesitate to respond and talk to me.