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On Heels of Racist Incident on Campus, UMass Takes a Stand Against Racism with New Art Exhibit

Screen Shot 2014-11-18 at 1.02.57 PMThe University of Massachusetts Center for Multicultural Advancement and Student Success has sponsored a new campus exhibit on racism, coming just a month after a racist incident of vandalism on campus.

Entitled “Stand Against Racism Exhibit: Representations of Oppression and Liberation,” the exhibit comes in the wake of a vandalism incident in Coolidge Hall in October, when sophomore Josh Odam returned to his dorm room to the words “Kill this Ni**er” splayed across his door. Since then, racial tensions on the campus have become more apparent and many members of the University of Massachusetts community have spoken out on the issues and the negative impact it had on their community.

“(The purpose of the exhibit) is to shift paradigms by creating a space where individuals can express their liberation freely and positively,” said Wilma Crespo, associate director of student development for the Center for Multicultural Advancement and Student Success. “Conscious or unconscious, oppression is running rampant. Agents of social change are constantly challenging, advocating, educating and empowering others. This output of energy depletes their emotional, physical and spiritual state.”

The exhibit is housed in the Student Union Art Gallery and is made up of items from the community that represent racism and oppression paired with pieces that express ways to heal from oppression.

“Through this exhibit, we wanted to create an outlet to replenish much needed energy and envision liberation,” Crespo added.

The committee will meet during the spring semester to plan for Stand Against Racism Day in addition to planning more exhibits for the fall. This exhibit, Crespo said, is the third that was planned for the fall semester, but it is not the original that was planned to be on display.
“The original exhibit was still in developmental stages so we postponed it until the spring semester and quickly started working on the current exhibit,” Crespo said. “The time and length of the exhibit is determined by the director of the gallery. It was timely (due to recent events).”

The exhibit opened on Nov. 3. and is open from 10 p.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, and admission is free. The run of the Stand Against Racism exhibit will be extended until Friday due to the positive response from the UMass community.

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