Anjali's Blog

FINALLY...PAH!!

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I’m not really a “blogger”, but some important things have happened today which I felt the need to reflect on, and decided to share. As of today, Chief Illiniwek will no longer perform at athletic events on the Urbana-Champaign campus after this season’s last men’s home basketball game in Assembly Hall on February 21. This is huge news. As a member of this University community, I felt the need to express my thoughts.

In my years as a student here, I feel those who I have worked with have always known my stance on the Chief, but I also worked to try and not make that be the focus of what I’m doing, but rather, one aspect in the larger campus issue of diversity education and sensitivity and awareness of those around us no matter what their background---Disabled, Latino/a, African American, Jewish, GLBT, Asian American, Muslim American, Native, what have you… (Can you tell that Boxes will forever be a part of me?)

As a long-time student leader actively involved in diversity issues on campus, I, for one, am very excited, and a little shocked that after so long the University FINALLY made a decision. This in and of itself surprised me initially, because as a student leader, I have often felt the University shies away from making controversial decisions and certainly does not have a strong tendency to follow through with related issues. They are a lot of talk, so I am relieved that they took some action, though it was much overdue.

However, as a student leader, I am also greatly concerned about the historic events of today… this “Chief issue” does not stop here. It is not over. This is not an end-all-be-all solution that was reached today. It is just one step in what is a much larger part of the social change needed here on this campus. The Chief still is the official mascot of this school. The Chief is still seen on apparel, paraphernalia and other such things that are seen all over this campus--- in academic buildings, offices, residence halls, stores etc. And so, I now make a plea to members of this community who support social change and want to help deter discrimination and hostility on this campus, to PLEASE not let this stop here. Keep at it; let your voices be heard. Pushing the envelope is what it’s all about, it’s the only way change will happen, and last.

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