Anthony Branch is a political science senior. Letters to the editor do not reflect the opinion or editorial coverage of Mustang News.

Do you remember when you sat at the dinner table as a child and your mother or father encouraged you to try a new type of food? Some children are eager to try new food, others  resistant and are only comfortable with what they already have eaten. This same circumstance can be seen in response to the SLO Solidarity demands.

At this point in life, it would be safe to say that most of us love all different types of food from many different cultures. It is almost impossible to go an entire day without hearing someone speak about some wonderful food they had recently, seeing someone’s Instagram photo of food or even recipe videos on your Facebook feed. This gives me the the idea that the rejection of new foods as a youngster has long passed and has been embraced with age and maturity.

The demands SLO Solidarity has set seem, perhaps, unrealistic, outlandish and even “fascist” to some; but, if one takes a quick glimpse at history, many thought the same about women suffrage or segregation. If one looks back at those issues now, it seems ridiculous to have ever had any individual’s rights restricted. As a society, we are continuing to progress, such as the federal legalization of gay marriage, as well as many other much needed changes. As a cog in the wheel of this society, we must contribute to the progression of liberating the oppression of minorities (such as the LGBTQ community), and creating cultural awareness surrounding these important issues.

An academic institution, such as Cal Poly, is the breeding grounds for the future leaders of the United States. This is not just an establishment for career training, it is a center for free ideas, openness, dignity, acceptance and inclusion, without fear and oppression. If the future leaders of tomorrow are not educated on these important social and cultural norms and constructs, how can we guarantee a free and fair society for ourselves?

As a white, heterosexual male, I am very privileged to have grown up without discrimination, oppression or harassment because of my skin color, my gender or my sexual orientation. Considering Cal Poly’s demographics, many of us should recognize the privilege we have by fulfilling our obligation to enlighten ourselves on this salient subject.

Recently, I was at a gathering for a group that I am a part of, in which we all share a common interest. At this gathering, there was a significant amount of hate towards the LGBTQ community; and, out of fear of causing a schism within my own community, regrettably I failed to intervene during the promotion of discrimination and hate speech. I commend SLO Solidarity and will now pledge to stand with them in the face of hate and join them in the fight on the frontier of ignorance.

“We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light.” – Plato

Letters to the editor may be submitted to editor@mustangnews.net with the subject line “Letter to the editor” to be considered for publication. Submissions should not exceed 700 words, and should include a headline, and your year and major. 

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