The Student News Site of Macalester College

The Mac Weekly

The Student News Site of Macalester College

The Mac Weekly

The Student News Site of Macalester College

The Mac Weekly

Hate crimes at Macalester

By Adelante!

On March 25 Adelante! put up 40 individually decorated crosses and numerous explanatory signs on the lawn in front of Bateman Plaza. The crosses and signs were part of a larger campaign designed by Adelante! to bring the issue of the ongoing femicide in Juarez, Mexico to light on campus. The mission statement, which was posted around the crosses, explained their purpose: For nearly 20 years, women have been the victims of femicide on the U.S. Mexican Border in Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua. The violent murders committed against women are the result of sexual torture. There is currently no system in place to protect these women, as the state has not taken any responsibility to account for this violence. Una Oracion por Juarez (A Prayer for Juarez) is an initiative of Activist art across the United States and Mexico that works to raise awareness of violence against women in Juarez. As Adelante!, we are using protest art to recognize the strength and courage of these women, past and present, to bring a voice to their silenced histories. In addition to the mission statement, multiple other signs were displayed to make clear that these crosses honored the memories of the Women in Juarez. We also published an article in the Mac Weekly where we stated our cause. We organized with Facilities to reserve the lawn, so the school was aware of what we were doing. We organized this process with great care and intent.

The next day, a Friday, an Adelante! member found that four crosses had been taken out of the ground stuck back in upside down. He immediately took them down and tried to place them right-side up but they would not stay up. Adelante! had spent over an hour the night before hammering the crosses into the ground. It was not easy. A surprising amount of energy was spent abusing what we had built, and desecrating what we had said. Incidents continued to occur that weekend. We found broken crosses, crosses whose horizontal beam had been removed and thrown across the lawn, and several broken signs. One evening another Adelante! member saw a group of students picking up signs and throwing them, and later saw two students kicking and breaking crosses.

Adelante! members, and, we must say, the whole Macalester community has been deeply hurt by these actions. At the end of the day, it wasn’t about the hours we had spent on the crosses, but that each one represented women who have been raped and murdered in Juarez. The destruction of individual crosses further violated their memories, voices, stories and bodies. The mothers who now live without their daughters are taking action and raising their voices to tell of the injustice in Juarez. These women have placed crosses in the desert there to commemorate their loved ones and as a symbol of their on-going struggle for justice – just as we have done here in St. Paul.

We have decided to respond proactively by using the space where the crosses had been overturned to further educate the Macalester community. We constructed and displayed a new sign that included information about the hate incidents, and spoke to the historical implications of turning a cross upside down: an anti-religious act, and an act with historical ties to the KKK.

On April 11 we discovered a photo posted on Facebook by a MACALESTER student depicting another student holding one of the crosses we had made with a condom on it and licking the condom. This speaks directly to the fact that hate crimes happen in our community. They are perpetrated by Macalester students against Macalester students. While we have the names of the students who committed this particular hate crime we need to remember that this was only one example of a slew of hate crimes which Adelante! experienced over a number of days and which were committed by a number of people.

Our first step is to make these incidents known to the wider Macalester community because we, as Adelante!, should not stand alone. What happened to the crosses affects everyone on this campus. Hate crimes have a profoundly negative campus wide effect. They impact the way we interact with one another by influencing how safe we feel on campus to express ourselves.

Adelante! can be reached at [email protected].


Active Minds

Amnesty International

Asian Student Alliance

Black History Month Committee

Black Liberation Affairs Committee

Feminists in Action (FIA) / Students Together Against Rape and Sexual Assault (STARSA)


Macalester Christian Fellowship

Macalester Jewish Association

Macalester Martial Arts Club

Muslim Student Association

Proud Indigenous People for Education

Queer Union


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