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Letter to the Editor: In response to the pro-life vandal, you can't silence us

Letter to the editor:

While I appreciated The Miami Student's article "Students for Life Anti-Abortion Displays Vandalized," I don't believe it drives at the heart of the matter and what makes this event important for the whole community.

Last Friday morning, our young Students for Life club put up a table and a tri-fold outside the seal, asking passersby to take a vote on when they think human rights should begin. Many people stopped, took a post-it note, and pasted it on a laminated slide outlining one of the stages of fetal development in pregnancy. This sparked a conversation and an exchange of opinions and ideas. People ascribing to both the pro-life and pro-choice cause shared their ideas and stopped to reflect on them.

In the middle of all this, our antagonist, with a calm fury, entered the scene. With surest hands, he swiped the sign. He tore it, stomped on it, and scattered the remains by the time someone got a camera out to try and record the act. The man turned and started off as if the whole ordeal made him mildly late for class. Unfortunately, this is not the only time one of our displays has been disrespected and it was not even too shocking that it had happened.

Barely anyone knows about these acts of vandalism and violence when they happen. They aren't treated like a big deal. But here's the thing. You don't want to live on a campus where a certain side or opinion is silenced. If there is a pro-choice presence on campus, then you want to be open to having a pro-life presence as well. Having multiple perspectives of one issue creates a space for dialogue, which is cultivated and maintained by organized events and a respectful attitude.

By not responding to such a clear display of narrow-mindedness, our whole community risks letting a few vocal, destructive people limit our narrative to a single story on abortion. As a challenge to the entire Miami community, I am asking that we outwardly condemn these acts of vandalism as incomprehensible and without base, in order to uphold our educational purposes as an institution and to support our code: Love and Honor.

So, to that young man, to the people who vandalized our recent display, the Cemetery of the Innocents, the person or persons who stole our sign: I'm not asking you to change your opinion. I'm just asking you to stop silencing mine.

You can do this by expressing your own beliefs in an organized, non-obstructive manner. This creates a dialogue which is the crux of campus life. We can share ideas freely and speak to those who disagree with respect.

Julia Demagall