In the weeks following the results of the 2020 presidential election, the nation has been wracked with an influx of profane, and often racist, acts of violence that seem to be furthering division between people. While the most obvious and spoken of actions remains to be the insurrection in the U.S. Capital on January 6th, 2021, there have been many disturbing acts across the country. On the Ohio Northern Campus, the Martin Luther King Jr. statue has been desecrated again.
Two days before the insurrection, stickers belonging to the white nationalist hate group, Patriot Front were spotted on two light posts, the Spirit Rock and the MLK statue. The Spirit Rock, which was originally painted with the message: “Stronger Together”, had been deliberately defaced to deny this message of unity. However, the Spirit Rock is meant to be painted over; while the defacement is still profane, it is less so than the attack on the MLK statue.
To a certain extent, Chris Caldwell, International Services Advisor, it was expected but still saddening. “I suppose my initial response was kind of cynical. You’ll recall that the statue was vandalised in the lead up to the january 6th insurrection in the nation’s capital and then additional bits of violence around the United States… But, I suppose cynicism honestly, really thinking to myself, that mismanaged racial tensions in the United States were going to boil over at some point.” Caldwell links the defacement to another period of racial unrest in 2009, just after the election of Barack Obama, when the Wikipedia page for Martin Luther King Jr. was replaced with racial slurs.
The entire interview can be found at this link.
While the years under the previous administration have been rife with controversies and an uptick in open violence against minorities by citizens and authorities, it seems that some have even forgotten how to hide just how ignorant and racist they are. Even before the election results, white supremacists have been making their voices heard. Within the Bill of Rights, it states that people have the right to freedom of speech, however, we must remember that freedom of speech does not liberate people from consequences.
As a whole, the campus must remain strong and firm against these actions and ideals. It is our duty as people to stand up for one another, especially those who have historically and systematically been opposed. No one can tell individuals what to think or believe, but we can come together to address our differences and find our commonalities, especially during the celebration of Black History Month.
Dr. Dan Dibiasio encourages anyone, who witnesses any type of similar activities on campus grounds to contact Public Safety at 419-772-2222 or firstname.lastname@example.org.