In January, the Asian/Pacific/American Institute at NYU launched a story collection project of hate incidents experienced by students at NYU within the first 100 days of President Donald Trump’s administration.
As tomorrow marks the 100th day after President Trump’s inauguration, the project is in full swing. On April 11, the A/P/A Institute released its first video of students testifying to hate incidents they experienced near or on NYU’s Manhattan and Brooklyn campuses.
Director of Public Programs and Communications at the A/P/A Institute Amita Manghnani said that students have been responding positively and interacting with the project since its conception.
“People that have shared their stories with us and have been willing to share their stories on camera have felt encouraged that someone at NYU is listening to them and taking their concerns seriously,” Manghnani said. “They have felt that the opportunity to get their story out has been really important.”
Manghnani said that she hopes these projects will bolster the call from NYU Sanctuary for the Trump administration to take a clear stance against hate speech and for NYU to become a sanctuary campus. She also said that the A/P/A Institute has a number of projects organized for the future.
“Of the featured stories that we’ve documented through our project, we’re also planning to release the full list of stories that we have received,” Manghnani said. “It will be a list — kind of just a very brief description of the various incidents that we’ve learned about through our Google Form and through word-of-mouth and through the press.”
GLS freshman Khalid Abudawas is from Palestine and is featured in the A/P/A Institute’s video. He said that being both Muslim and Palestinian-American often draws negative reactions from people around him both online and in public.
“My experience with hate crime is most often in an online setting,” Abudawas said. “However, I have had people respond negatively in person to my own identity or religion. Usually it is just an inappropriate comment while walking by. But online hate crime is a different story.”
Abudawas is also a member of the NYU Students for Justice for Palestine — an organization that has been the victim of several hate attacks. SJP received a threatening email just this past week, the third one that the organization has received this academic year. These incidents eventually led the A/P/A Institute to contact SJP about their experiences, asking victims to step forward, and Abudawas did.
He said that the reality of the existence and activism of Palestinians and anti-Zionists is inherently political, which means that these groups are going to get some negative responses regardless of the awareness created.
“By putting my face up in a video, we make SJP undeniably human and others can begin to really understand that we are NYU students, like anyone else here,” Abudawas said. “We’re looking for justice for a community that has been systematically oppressed for decades.”
The A/P/A Institute said that they will publish two more videos. One video will be released this week, and the other next week.
NYU Spokesperson John Beckman commented on NYU’s stance towards the A/P/A Institute attempts to raise awareness for individuals and groups like SJP that have been victims of recent hate attacks. Beckman said that building a diverse and inclusive culture requires the university and NYU community members to be clear about what behavior is unacceptable.
“Giving [a] voice to those who have been the victims of hate and bigotry is an important and worthy undertaking,” Beckman said. “NYU has condemned the vile, bigoted and threatening emails sent to [NYUSJP], reached out to [NYUSJP] to offer support and reported the emails to law enforcement.”
Email Lorenzo Gazzola at [email protected]