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StaND Against Hate Week aims to promote inclusivity

| Wednesday, September 9, 2020

At a time when many people are addressing intolerance and discrimination within their own communities, the Gender Relations Center (GRC) is hosting its annual StaND Against Hate Week, which focuses on educating students on what it means to be an active ally fighting hate both on and off-campus.

The annual event –– which normally takes place in early November –– was moved up because the GRC wanted students to engage with the week’s message earlier in the school year, Deborah Bineza, program coordinator for identity intersectionality and inclusion in the GRC, said.

Bineza said strong calls for racial equality over the course of the summer by the Black Lives Matter movement influenced the decision to move StaND Against Hate Week up to earlier in the year.

“We’ve always been committed to intersectionality specifically and combating discrimination of all kinds, whether that’s racial, gender based or based on sexuality.” Bineza said. “I think this year, it’s even more important to have this conversation.”

Layton Hall | The Observer
GRC volunteers hand out t-shirts Monday for the annual StaND Against Hate Week.

Intersectionality refers to the idea that all parts of an individual’s identity are interconnected and can each affect the day-to-day experience of the individual. By working to educate the student body on the different types of discrimination that can take place, the GRC’s goal is to create a more welcoming and loving community for individuals of all backgrounds and identities.

Senior and program assistant at the GRC Odalis Gonzalez explained how intersectionality affects students at Notre Dame.

“Our gender intersects with our race, with our culture, with our religion, with our socioeconomic status, and that impacts how we experience Notre Dame and how we come to express ourselves,” Gonzalez said.

The week’s events are aimed at providing an education on inclusivity to all of the Notre Dame community and include panels on gender and race and active allyship, a pledge signing social and an introduction to mindfulness.

While the COVID-19 pandemic has affected the logistics of these events, the message of inclusivity has stayed the same.

“Even though you think it doesn’t impact you, it does in one way or another,” Gonzalez said. “Whether it’s to you directly, to your friend, to your family members –– you never know what anyone is going through, and they don’t know what you’re going through. So if you want people to understand you, you have to be able to understand other people.”

While StaND Against Hate Week is hosted by the GRC, the Center is not alone in this effort of inclusion. StaND Against Hate Week is sponsored by Student Government, the Diversity Council, PrismND and several other student clubs and organizations trying to amplify the message of inclusion, love and community.

Gonzalez called on Notre Dame students to take this week as an opportunity to learn about the experiences of their fellow students.

“I think now is the time to learn, to explore, to put yourself out there –– because if it’s not you. then who?” Gonzalez said.

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