'Wall of Hate' project shows how words keep people down, housing staff says
January 21, 2011
Tammy Rea, MSU Billings Diversity Center, 896-5902
By Heather Wilson
MSU BILLINGS NEWS SERVICES — One of the dark sides of celebrating diversity is remembering the hateful actions that brought the community to this point.
To help raise address that negativity head-on, resident assistants at Montana State University Billings constructed a “Wall of Hate” in the Student Union Building Tuesday afternoon. It was one of the scheduled events for the “Power of One Week” that honors the actions and legacy of Martin Luther King Jr.
Other events of the week included the annual community bell ringing ceremony, special presentations and guest speakers.
The “Wall of Hate” is intended to represent different types of oppression that happen in society, both in the past and in the present. Students were asked to write words on sheets of paper that they have heard or have been called in the past that offend them, or other kinds of injustices they witness in their world today. These words were then placed together to represent a wall that keeps people apart.
Whether intentionally or unintentionally constructed, walls built with words or actions perpetuate stereotypes, organizers said.
Crystal Svoboda, Rimrock Hall Director, said “In order to create a new path for the future, we have to tear down the wall.”
Students are set to rip down the paper wall in the Student Union Atrium at noon on Friday, Jan. 21.
The “Power of One” week activities continue Saturday with a community service project led by MSU Billings students and staff. Those who want to participate are encouraged to meet at 9:30 a.m. in the SUB to organize for the project.
For more information on “The Power of 1” events at MSU Billings, contact Tammy Rea at the MSU Billings Diversity Center at 896-5902 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.