The Wisconsin primary saw many young voters finding ways to ignite conversations about issues they feel are most important. For students at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, a series of racially charged incidents have inspired them to create a special hashtag: #TheRealUW.
The hashtag was first seen when a Black student was reportedly spat on and called poor by a white student. After that, a group of students participating in a rally for Bernie Sanders held up a banner that depicted the school’s mascot dressed up as a member of the KKK. After the image began to circulate, several students reported incidents of racial discrimination.
One student, Launa Owens, came home one night to a note under their door that read, “UW Madison does not deserve its students of color.”
After Owens received the note, the university claimed that it was going to open an investigation surrounding the incident. Owens, as well as other members holding the sign, took to Facebook in order to speak on their experience.
“Tashi Lipscomb, another student who posted about the incident on Facebook, said it contained a threat to the four students, including herself and Owens, who were photographed carrying the banner to create awareness of racism on campus.”
After the series of events became more publicly known, the vice provost for diversity and climate, Patrick Sims, created a nine-minute-long video called “Enough Is Enough.” In the video, he apologizes to the recipients of the note and speaks directly to the senders.
This sparked enough traction for the hashtag to come out full force, and be used as a way for students to recount some of their own racist experiences.
Hopefully this will bring more attention to the incidents happening at UW and other schools, and move our presidential candidates to seriously address these issues beyond campaign speeches.
(Photo: REUTERS/Mark Kauzlarich)