Against Silencing Student Voices-Louis Farrakhan's Presence at UC Berkeley
Dear Campus Community, We completely support the annual Afrikan Black Coalition Conference as an indispensable contribution to the empowerment of black students across the state of California. However, Louis Farrakhan’s presence at UC Berkeley is an insult to the culture of diversity and inclusiveness on our campus. The Black Student Union’s mission and achievements are admirable but its decision to host Louis Farrakhan ostracizes countless minority communities. We respect the right to self-determination of the BSU and would never ask to dictate which speakers the group brings to campus. Although Minister Farrakhan has a First Amendment right to speak on our campus, his free speech has consistently included antisemitic, racist, sexist, and homophobic statements. We are in no way protesting the BSU’s right to bring Minister Farrakhan to Cal, but are opposing his hateful words and character. His presence creates a deep and unnecessary rift in our campus community. In reference to the LGBT community, Farrakhan declares, “God don't like men coming to men with lust in their hearts like you should go to a female. If you think that the kingdom of God is going to be filled up with that kind of degenerate crap, you're out of your damn mind”. Referring to Jewish people, Farrakhan proclaims, “The Jews don't like Farrakhan, so they call me Hitler. Well, that's a good name. Hitler was a very great man.” On Caucasians, he says, “White people are potential humans … they haven’t evolved yet." Denouncing the Revolution of the Libyan people, Minister Farrakhan explains, "I know something of the good of Moammar Gadhafi that made me to love him as a brother”. These words are more than controversial, they are discriminatory and they are resolutely hateful. Countless black leaders, such as Angela Davis who attended UC Berkeley just last week, could have provided empowerment without striking down our communities. While we value empowerment, empowerment at the expense of other communities’ pain is unacceptable and even dangerous. We ask that the entire campus join us in a demonstration of collective outrage. We commit that in the future we will build our own communities in an environment of inclusion that moves beyond simple tolerance to recognizing the richness in individual identities of people. We call on the entire campus community to nurture an atmosphere where students are safe, respected, and valued.