On my campus, there’s a big ruckus about the free speech chalk zone we now have on campus.
The zone was created as a response to offensive messages chalked out on campus (I would link to an article about the messages, but it’s incredibly biased towards those who chalked the messages). I can understand why some people feel as though their free speech is being restricted, but at the same time I’m glad this zone was created. In response to hateful messages, others have been pouring out messages of love and respect and equality.
It’s incredibly uplifting to see people coming together to protest hate speech.
To quote one of my Facebook posts from earlier:
As I walked through Augustana’s new free speech chalk zone, it began to rain and I came to the realization that I was in the middle of a moment I will remember for a long time.
There were words of hate and ignorance chalked in the space, but there were so many more words of love chalked out that I felt welcomed with open arms into a loving community.
The rain will wash it all away, regardless of if it’s loving or hateful. But that moment standing by all the chalk, rain starting to come down, I knew the loving words will stick in my mind as if they were painted there.
And that’s what I find incredible about kind words.
Politics are dividing some of us here at Augie, but others are trying to build bridges made of respect, understanding, and compassion.
To quote one of the chalked expressions I saw: “Build bridges, not walls.”
Photo Credit: Emma Nordmeyer