My name is Parker Bolstad and I was last year’s president of Hillel at Mines, the Jewish student organization on campus. I am writing today to talk about the events that occurred in Charlottesville, Virginia. I watched in horror as issues that have plighted our country for years — racism, anti-Semitism, radical nationalism — reared their ugly heads back into the main optics of the public sphere. And it was with great appallment that I watched our President struggle to condemn these beliefs.
We are all unique, we all have different upbringings, and we all hold different beliefs — that is what makes the Colorado School of Mines and the United States so remarkable. However, at times like these, we are not so different — all of our beliefs are under attack and our resolve in the sanctity of human decency is eroding as we continue to divide ourselves. It is now, more than ever, that we must be unified as one group; not as Jews, or blacks, or Democrats, or Republicans, but as students and human beings.
As we respond and react to events like the one that took place recently, it is easy to paint groups of people with large brush strokes. Evils like Nazism have no place in our society, but we destroy them by unifying, not by pushing each other apart.
We can argue about economic systems and styles of foreign policy. We can argue about sports teams and our classes. We can argue about religion and the Constitution. But, we cannot argue about one’s right to be treated as a human being. We cannot treat someone else differently because of their gender, or skin color, or heritage, or because of who they love. We can argue and disagree on one’s beliefs, but we cannot attack one’s identity.
This will not be the last time that our existence will be threatened, our friends’ identities will be under attack, and our families’ will be questioned. It does not matter if you are straight, gay, transgender, cisgender, white, black, Jewish, Christian, Atheist, or any other religion. It does not matter if you are a Republican or a Democrat, or if you hate politics because ultimately we are all a part of the Mines community. That identity is the one that unifies us, it is the one that reminds us of why we are here. It reminds us of what we believe in. It reminds us that we all came here for the same reasons and that we all have gone through the same struggles. It reminds us that we all love this school because of the people here. And it is the reason that we will all stand together.
Now is not a time for us to push others away, it is a time for us to fight back, to fight together, to fight for justice as Mines students.