By David Zuniga, Special to the Chronicle
As students, we are continuously exposed to various cultures, lifestyles, opinions and issues. These issues require attention and discussion, and through these, solutions. Today, the news is dominated by many stories of suffering, deception, and mistrust, but the fatal shooting of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Florida, has launched a nationwide movement. Hofstra's Chapter of the NAACP, the Black Student Union and the Pride Network have organized a candlelight memorial for Trayvon on March 29 in front of Hofstra Hall, calling attention to the negative impact of profiling. This is a controversial incident, and as such, our opinions on this issue will vary greatly.
Here at Hofstra, where I am proud to say I have come to know people of many walks of life, an unfortunate expression of this disagreement has reared its ugly head. On or around March 28, one of the posters advertising the memorial was vandalized in an unjust act that served no purpose. Regardless of one's views on the tragedy, the beauty of our campus lies in our ability to engage in discussion, agree to disagree, and walk away harboring no ill feelings with a sense of mutual respect. The important takeaway from this is our obligation as students to arm ourselves with the knowledge to combat ignorance. I applaud the efforts of Hofstra Intervarsity Christian Fellowship to shed light on human trafficking; I am enthused at the willingness of the Hofstra Libertarians, the Hofstra Democrats, and the Hofstra Republics to engage in a public debate; and I enjoy the "Real Talk" sessions hosted by organizations such as the NAACP, Black Student Union, African-Caribbean Society, and the Pride Network, where highly controversial conversations are held in an open forum. Ignorance may always be an issue, but that should not discourage us from fostering open minds with differing opinions.
It is also vital to note that the way one expresses their opinion has as much of an impact as the opinion that they are sharing. I ask all members of the Hofstra community to embrace discourse, condemn ignorance, and never forget that we have the ability to make a difference and when the opportunity arises, we should. Despite our differing opinions, we should never resort to defiling our campus and the works of our peers and fellow members of the Hofstra Community.