No Place For Hate Program Kicks Off at Rocky, AAPI Support Protest Planned

RMHS+Peers+Adilyn+Prutch+and+Camille+Long-Shore+help+students+decorate+rocks+for+the+Peers+Kindness+Rock+Garden+at+the+No+Place+For+Hate+event.+

Annabelle Lasher

RMHS Peers Adilyn Prutch and Camille Long-Shore help students decorate rocks for the Peers Kindness Rock Garden at the No Place For Hate event.

Payton Perkins, Editor

The national anti-bias program No Place For Hate has made its way to Rocky Mountain High School. This student-led initiative held a kickoff event Friday April 2, and Cultural Arms has organized a protest outside Rocky April 10 in support of the Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) community is scheduled. 

 

No Place For Hate is a national program designed to help students recognize, explore, and celebrate diversity within their schools. They have programs implemented all over the country to address problems within school cultures. No Place For Hate’s website says that their programs empower students to “become change agents in one’s community and society” and “bring about a more equitable and just society.”

 

“No Place For Hate is a club that works hard to celebrate diversity and show Rocky that we are such an amazing, diverse group of students,” member Layla Mahmoud said about the program. 

 

“Especially after what happened this summer with George Floyd and how he was so blatantly murdered, all the protests that happened really inspired me to want to get up and do something about it,” Mahmoud said.

 

The kickoff pledge signing and protest come after a recent surge in attacks against AAPI people, the most recent being the deaths of eight people in an Atlanta spa shooting. Six of the victims were Asian women. The implementation of this program comes after a PSA in Rocky video announcements early 2020 encouraging students to stop using derogatory language in the halls and classrooms following complaints.

 

No Place For Hate also sent out a video and reading materials to homerooms to encourage reflection on students’ own identities and how they can support others. Students were asked how their own identities influenced their ideas, how it influenced their inclusion and exclusion in their community, and what they could do to include others. 

 

Similar protests like the one on April 10 have occurred around the country and the hashtag #StopAsianHate has been trending as calls for action have been increasing after hate crimes surged. The COVID-19 pandemic is being cited by activists as the catalyst to the rise of hate crimes. Asian Americans were the subject of racist attacks blaming them for the virus, prompting the proposal of the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act last May. 

 

The bill would require a review by the Dept. of Justice of how the COVID-19 pandemic affected hate crimes. The bill defines these crimes as being motivated by “the actual or perceived characteristic (e.g., race) of any person, and the actual or perceived relationship to the spread of COVID-19 of any person because of that characteristic.”

 

“I’ve always wanted to make a difference and help those who don’t get to share their voice or they don’t get their voices heard,” member Kaylee Askew said. 

 

According to US News, Rocky is 23% students of color, 3% of students are of Asian or Pacific Islander descent. Fort Collins is about 12% people of color compared to around 40% nationally, and 4% of residents are of Asian or Pacific Islander descent.

 

The group aims to improve the culture of Rocky and support students in the next quarter. “Even if it’s just a small difference, people know that they are there to care and help each other. There’s someone out there that cares.” 

 

To kick off the program, a pledge to respect, listen, and learn from diversity in school was available to all students to sign on the Rocks April 2 during lunch. Everyone is also encouraged to attend the protest on April 10 at 11:00 am to show their support for the AAPI community within Rocky and the larger Fort Collins community. They will meet in the east parking lot and participants will stand on the sidewalk along Swallow and Shields.