By | The Lumberjack Editorial Board
It should not have taken the murder of David Josiah Lawson for the City of Arcata and the HSU community to take the threats of safety to our students of color seriously.
City of Arcata, HSU, Lawson is not your only failure. For every year students of color are denied simple amenities like housing based on their skin tone, for every semester a minority student feels ostracized and forced out by the community, and for every day a minority student is afraid to walk down certain streets, the City of Arcata, and Humboldt County, and HSU have all failed.
The community has a tendency to ignore concerns deemed uncomfortable, like discussing racial tension. Sure, we talk. At HSU we have many race talks, annual social justice summits, and quarterly forums addressing racial discrimination. But talking is not enough.
The Lumberjack is calling upon HSU to institute new offices devoted to community integration and student safety within the community. It is time to act, not again wait to react.
Talking, alone, doesn’t address the problem. It does little more than create a short-term unresolved conversation about an issue that continues from one generation to the next.
Racial discrimination in our community is recorded, protested, and still left unchanged. We have been conversing for years now. It is time for HSU and the community to stop shying away from the real struggles people of color in the community face. We must call out discrimination when we witness it and make a firm stance against discrimination.
Despite eye-witness testimonials, Josiah’s killer Kyle Zoellner is not charged with a hate crime. Zoellner does not need to be crucified as a radical white supremacist, but we can at least stop ignoring the systematic racisms that corrupts police departments and communities.This was no simple assault. This was a racially motivated attack.
Too often change follows tragedy, instead of the other way around. Murder shouldn’t have been the cause that made the community pause and realize the harsh reality of living as a minority in an isolated region, low in diversity. The bubble HSU has long fought to exist in has been irrevocably popped.