Letter to the Editor: Racial threats are embarrassment to campus

By Alex Joseph Villanueva

I am embarrassed—

I grew up in Polk County, Florida. A community where my high school was not desegregated until 1964. A community where the racial divide could be felt when driving down Avenue T or through Florence Villa the so called “Black side of town.” When I left a part of the nation where the Klan thrived and where Confederate flags flew proudly, I thought I was coming to a new place … To be honest, there is more hate here at Illinois than there ever was deep in the South.

I came here to attend a university with future Nobel Laureates, Pulitzer Prize winners, billionaires, and maybe a president. I did not think I would come to a university split along the lines of race. I am embarrassed. I am embarrassed that my high school classmates in Florida, my family in New York and Puerto Rico, and my friends across the globe will see how torn my University, OUR University, is. In the Chicago Tribune, the Washington Post, and on the front page of MSN.com, the University of Illinois is put to shame.

As a student who is a white Hispanic, I am embarrassed. I am embarrassed because of the trials and troubles of my friends of color. I am embarrassed, and angered, that people who are the same color as me, white, are threatening others either as a joke or in true hate. I came here to do good things, to meet great people, and to graduate from one of the greatest universities in the world. I will always be a proud Illini, and will one day be a proud alumni; but today and tomorrow, and for the weeks and months ahead of us, I am embarrassed.

Thank you to the campus, the community, the faculty, the administration for standing up for free speech and equality for all. These issues may not be solved now, or next week, but one day. One day we shall overcome.

Yours,

Alex Joseph Villanueva, junior in the College of LAS