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From Hate to Hope: Workshop Shows the Value of Embracing Our Differences

On Thursday, February 11, students and members of the WVU Tech community will meet in Old Main for “From Hate to Hope,” a presentation on the destructive nature of harboring hatred for someone based on their gender, race, sexuality or religion.

Scott Robertson, director of WVU Tech’s Student Support Services program, is leading the presentation.

“It deals with how people have used, and still use, hate or ignorance about others to justify their actions, and how that creates a negative legacy that they leave behind,” he said.

The workshop will discuss victims of hatred and the devastating violence it can breed – victims such as James Byrd Jr., Matthew Shepard, Emmett Till, and others. It will also cover modern hate groups and racially motivated police violence.

“A lot of people don’t know these stories, but they all have impacted how we live now and, in some ways, how we have progressed as a country. Things are still volatile for certain people because of their religion, who they are or who they love, but we’re going to continue to progress and be a more diverse population. This is designed to get attendees to understand that reality and to think about their actions,” said Robertson.

Robertson said the open-ended presentation is half lecture, half discussion panel. The event starts with a short pre-presentation test designed to find out what attendees already know, then the discussion will move through the stories of how people have used concepts such as skin color or sexual orientation to justify hate.

“It’s not going to be an easy discussion because it’s very honest, but the mission of this workshop is not to incite anger. The mission is to incite understanding and compassion,” he said.

At the end of the discussion, Robertson will ask attendees to reflect on what they’ve learned and to critically think about the kind of legacy they want to leave behind.

“We have students from all over the country and from all over the world. We have a lot of diversity at Tech for a school this size. I want them to think about what they want their legacy to be; to think about the positive impact they can have on the world” said Robertson. “They also have to understand that we are in a global setting where information is available at our fingertips and can be uploaded instantly. Their legacy could be a ten-second clip on YouTube.”

“From Hate to Hope” is open to anyone within the WVU Tech community. The presentation begins at 5 p.m. on Thursday, February 11, in Old Main 310.