Many conversations have been sparked by one question since the first presidential debate was held: “Who won?” This is too open of a question, and too big of an assumption, to respond, but I believe the real winners were those who did not even make it to the debate hall. Hofstra University granted an immense opportunity to the dozens of students that came together looking for one thing, their voice.
All eyes were on the Hofstra campus this monday, and those eyes come with thousands of dollars spent in equipment that would transmit anything going on to the thousands and thousands of households tuning in to the first presidential debate. A group of college activists took advantage of this amazing opportunity. Activist groups such as Peace Fellows, the Campus Feminist Collective, Black Lives Matter, among others joined forces to voice their opinions and urge people to start a conversation regarding human rights.
A “peace zone” was created outside Monroe Hall, where students and members of the Nassau County community alike could walk in front of a crowd and demand their voices to be heard. The protest gained more and more attention quickly; from the signs being in the background of MSNBC to CNN interviewing the people involved in the Black Lives Matter movement. These students managed to start a conversation about police brutality, women’s rights, nuclear weapons and peace, etc. all around campus, and arguably all over the country.
Although Lester Holt managed to talk about race for a couple of minutes during the debate, that is still a conversation that many people (wrongly) think unnecessary. Women’s health was not even mentioned in the debate other than Trump’s remarks on former Miss Universe, and peace is not something in either of the candidates minds. The country needs to have this conversations. We need to talk about issues until the point of exhaustion, that is the way people will begin taking a different stand on things.
We need to keep talking about feminism until no candidate has the need to interrupt and have the need to “mansplain.” We need to talk about the importance of peace until refugees stop having the need of looking for a home that respects their basic rights as human beings. We need to talk about improving the justice system until jails are no longer overpopulated and privatized. We need to talk about implicit racism and “Black Lives Matter” until no more innocent men are killed. These are all conversations this country needs to have time and time again no matter how “awkward” some people may consider them, and activists are taking the first step towards that.