Representation may not seem like a pressing issue, but in the grand scheme of things, it will trickle through generations to come and will eventually become an afterthought if allowed to continue.
Given the current state of America, representing ourselves as a people foreign to the United States makes an impactful statement and is more important than ever. America is a melting pot, and omitting our footprints will be denying all the blood, sweat and tears shed for our country, the “land of the free”.
When I first came to Plattsburgh as a Freshman in 2015, I walked into the ballroom in the ACC building where a plethora of flags are displayed. After viewing it several times, I noticed that many countries, including mine (Puerto Rico), were not amongst the countries that were shown. I reached out to a faculty member involved with the display, and I was told that there was simply no space left on the wall for any remaining flags. This, however, was completely false because there was clearly enough space. I even went as far as taking pictures and emailing them to the Student Association.
Hopeful that contacting someone via email would shake things into action, I received an email stating that they were aware that some flags were not exhibited. They also stated that every fall semester, a host of new flags are put up due to that limited space. I took their word for it, but remained skeptical. I spoke with a faculty member who has been at Plattsburgh for around 30 years, and they attested to the fact that the flags are never changed and have been the same since starting here all those years ago.
After bringing this to their attention multiple times, my voice seemed to be silenced by the inaction and carelessness of the Student Association. The wall still remains the same till this very day.
It’s never about the face value of a thing, but rather, what a thing represents, and everyone should be represented because we are all people. We all coexist on the same planet and we all benefit from each other in different ways – directly or indirectly. Some students may be dealing with serious separation anxiety due to being so far away from their families, and by simply seeing their country represented on foreign land may bring them solace and a peace of mind.
I’m from the Bronx, and it’s bad enough that I can’t even buy platanos at any grocery store or supermarket because Plattsburgh is a predominantly white area. A college campus should be filled with diversity and be an environment that fosters academic and personal growth by lessening the isolation students feel by not being represented. When we are all on an even playing-field, everyone wins. It’s already scary enough being in Trump’s America as a person of color, therefore, steps should be taken to ensure that every single body on this campus feels like they are in a welcoming and accepting community.
Email Victoria Torres at firstname.lastname@example.org