Freedom, Hate, and a Campus Divided


Protesters face off against Freedom Rally attendees. Photo by Kelsey Hamlin

Mahilet Mesfin stood front-and-center at a barricade, one of many spanning the University of Washington’s Red Square last Saturday. The 18-year-old protester and UW student felt she had to be there.

The UW College Republicans (UWCR) had invited Joey Gibson, conservative speaker and leader of Patriot Prayer, to campus for a Freedom Rally to further the argument surrounding free speech on campus. While some feel speech involving white supremacy or promoting racist views should be banned as hate speech, others, including the UWCR, feel that allowing such expression is essential to the idea of free speech. In part, this is why the UWCR invited ex-Breitbart editor and right-wing provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos to campus in January 2017, an event that sparked violence and a shooting. This time around, the UWCR attempted to address the same idea with the lesser known, and less controversial, Patriot Prayer. For the Freedom Rally, organizers said they wanted to invite others, even opposition, to take the mic. Patriot Prayer has ceded the mic and stage to opposition in the past. Due to safety concerns, though, it didn’t quite play out that way on Saturday.

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UW College Republicans use fake domain to reroute to their website

anti-antifa sign

After a slew of posters were put up  by the likes of neo-nazi groups like Evropa and Atomwaffen Division last year, the UW College Republicans (UWCR) are now plastering the Ave and the UW campus with their own posters for recruitment using a URL that misidentifies who they are.

Via The Daily

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UW Shooting Victim’s Partner Wants People to Engage Reality

When it comes to America’s legal system, it has a rather interesting history: Going from grotesque but nonetheless visible executions to traumatic and invisible navigation and punishment. Nearly everything about the judicial and legal system takes place outside of the public eye: legal financial obligations, sentencing, figuring out where to go and what time and if it’s even possible to make it to court while working and with kids, attempting to get an often unaffordable or otherwise overworked lawyer, reliving traumatic events for testimony, the list goes on.

Long story short, everyday systemic violence is often hidden. Partly due to the way the system is set up, the public rarely pauses and comprehends the ramifications of a single gunshot. In the case of the man shot at the University of Washington’s Red Square last January, there’s been limited reflection on the trauma endured by him, his friends, and his family.

“I’m tired of carrying this by myself. I want people to see. I want them to see what right-wing violence looks like. I want the College Republicans to see what happens at their event that they insisted upon having.”

via UW Shooting Victim’s Partner Wants People to Engage Reality — South Seattle Emerald