We Stand Together
To our friends and family in the Oberlin community:
We want to express our support for the community and our admiration for the way the administration, the students, our fellow alumni and the residents of the area have stood together in recent days to express our collective rejection of intolerance and hate. We could not all be together in Finney Chapel or on Wilder Bowl or at the Afrikan Heritage House on Monday, but 1500 remote Obies/Oberlinians participated in the on-campus events by watching or listening to the live streams. Ironically, members of the Alumni Association’s Executive Board had gathered on campus last weekend and, as part of our meetings, had reaffirmed the values of tolerance, activism, passion and the pursuit of excellence that have been at the core of Oberlin’s existence since its founding in 1833. As the current campus community finds itself facing new challenges and experiencing in real time the insurgence of intolerance and hate that have seen too much support in our culture in recent years, the alumni community stands together and holds everyone in our hearts and thoughts as they stand courageously together to overcome intolerance and fear.
For ways alumni can participate in the discussion and support of Oberlin College, click here.
Think one person? one institution? one action? can save the world? Yes, we do.
Jackie Hughes ‘76, President
Chuck Spitulnik ‘73, President-elect
Steve Watter ‘74, Secretary
Oberlin Alumni Association
You are stronger than anger. You are stronger than hate. Most of all, you, together are STRONGER THAN FEAR! Keep bringing yourselves together to cultivate a life of unity, a culture of inclusion, and an attitude that validates the worth of every individual IN AND OUTSIDE OF OUR COMMUNITY.
We all still believe that one person can change the world. And if two or more of those people join together, the world changes faster.
WE ARE OBERLIN. UNITED.
Tiffanie Luckett ’99
Dear students, staff, faculty, administration and all of the Oberlin Familia,
I know that when events keep occurring, after awhile they become a pattern. It is unfortunate that the recent disparaging incidents on campus have been happening frequently enough to feel as such. Since I am not on campus and because I trust in the commitment, leadership and spirit of those impacted I believe that solutions/responses need to come from within. Having said that, I do wish and expect that the College was more responsive and proactive in informing alumni and addressing the anxieties of the communities that are being targeted by these incidents. As class president and chair of the Oberlin Latino Alumni Association (OLAA), I am eager to see a plan of action that not only addresses the current incidents but also becomes a compass for steering Oberlin to become a leading institution to be representative of the demographic composition of 21st century U.S. society. Yes, we should be proud of our historic past in being a beacon of diversity and inclusion, but only when Oberlin looks like our present diverse society, will our past be proud of how indeed it did help change the world.
José W. Melendez
Class President ‘01
Oberlin Latino Alumni Association (OLAA) Chair
To the Oberlin community, on-campus and beyond:
As an open and visible member of the trans* community, I know intimately how it feels to be subjected to micro- and macroaggressions on a regular basis, even in historically and notoriously liberal pockets of the country. My whiteness, however, affords me the unearned privilege of moving through society with relative ease, despite the other ways in which I am marginalized. I do not, and anyone who shares in my white privilege cannot ever, truly know the anger, pain, frustration, and fear expressed by students of color during Monday's convocation.
We can, however, stand with communities of color. Not just by making a poster, marching around a square, or tweeting about our #solidarity. Real progress happens when everyone educates themselves on being a good ally, which is equal parts knowing when to speak up, and when to shut up. Real progress happens when everyone sows the radical seeds of mutual dignity, kindness, and respect. Real progress happens when everyone listens, really listens to one another, because words hurt -- but they also heal.
To learning and labor,
Ryan Brazell '05
An Open Letter to the Oberlin College Community:
As members of the Oberlin Asian/Pacific American Alumni Association (OA/PAAA) spanning the past four decades, we join other alumni in expressing shock, disappointment and outrage over the events of bigotry and prejudice that have plagued the campus over the past several weeks. Not only do these abhorrent acts of hate lie in stark contrast with the community standards, mission, and history of Oberlin, but they threaten the collective safety and wellbeing of a diverse community, which continues to be committed to creating a just world.
First, we write to express our solidarity with the students who spoke out and held the institution to account: continue to be bold, we stand with you. Seek comfort in the fact that you will emerge from these experiences stronger and more resilient. We empathize with your struggles and heartache in the wake of recent events and applaud your sustained efforts to actively and swiftly combat the racism, homophobia, xenophobia, gender-based violence and other forms of oppression as they continue to plague our society. This fight continues not only in the microcosm of Oberlin, but in many of the communities where we, as alumni, currently live, work, and struggle. Your struggle is ours.
To the faculty and staff, especially the Multicultural Resource Center, we are grateful for your presence. Your contributions, in conjunction with those of others who came before, have sustained us and will be an enduring legacy for all those who pass through Oberlin. We recognize the many challenges you face, especially at moments like these, and reach out to you with love and solidarity.
To the administration, we commend your efforts to engage in open dialogue regarding recent events, but challenge you to consider the conditions at Oberlin that allowed such incidents to manifest. We ask that you address not only overt expressions of oppression, but also its myriad of implicit forms. We urge you to continue to actively seek out the voices of students, faculty, staff, and alumni in addressing institutional and other subtle forms of discrimination by mobilizing all necessary resources and actions to do so. Finally, we hope that you work with continued vigor towards giving truth to the language of social justice and fostering a community empowered to carry out its promise.
Since the administration looks to alumni for continued involvement and support, we request the same from Oberlin. We call upon the administration to explicitly communicate the processes and policies undertaken, in coordination with the campus community, in establishing robust and sustainable change.
Members of the Oberlin Asian/Pacific American Alumni Association
Paul Uyehara ‘77 - Jon Jang ‘78 - Deeana Jang ‘79
Thomas E. Lim ‘79 - Wendy Lim ‘79 - Deborah Wei ‘79
Amy Chen ‘79 - Karen Chin ‘86 - Jill Medina ‘88
Naeem Mohaiemen ‘93 - Jeff Arellano Cabusao ‘97 - Johanna Almiron '00
Jeffrey Parkming Chan ‘02 - Tracy Ng '02 - Jane Lee ‘03
Freedom Nguyen ‘03 - Purvi Pinakin Patel ‘03 - Sung-Mun Choi '04
Vivian Liao ‘04 - Gina George ‘05 - Rashné Limki ‘05
Melissa B. Francisco ‘05 - Nancy Dung Nguyen ‘05 - Aishe (Ashley) R. Suarez Chan ‘06
Daniel Domaguin ‘06 - Marianne Tassone ‘06 - Noel Zapata ‘06
Megan Tabag ‘07 - Maya Walton ‘07 - Minh Nguyen ‘08
Peter Kim ‘09 - Daniel Tam-Claiborne ‘09 - Cheska Tolentino '09
Tuyet Ngo ‘10 - Sien Rivera '12