OLAS Empowers Students to “Stop the Ignorance”

Carmen Ballon, Social Media Manager

The room went silent while students discussed being discriminated in daily life. Monday, The Organization of Latin American Studies (OLAS) hosted “Stop the Ignorance” to discuss pre-judgements and support each other under these circumstances.

“We want to come together as a community, to talk about different oppressions that the Latino community faces and different discriminations,” said OLAS Vice President, Chrystal Fermin.

In a presentation, OLAS educated attendees on workplace discrimination, biases in the Criminal Justice System, and common pre-judgments.

“Latino children are 3 times more likely to have a parent in prison compared to whites,” said Secretary Ashley Escobar.

According to the meeting, Latinos are more likely to receive a prison sentence for drug related offenses. While, Latinos are less likely to have a criminal history.

These pre-judgements are relevant to the Pace community today. Graduate student Tiffany Ocampo described recently being cat-called and racially profiled in New York City.

“We were going for a walk…and were getting cat-called. That’s already annoying, that’s making us feel unsafe. We proceeded to keep walking to not cause tension. We were then called hood-rats,” said Ocampo.

Graduate Student Ashley Alahakoon described being age-discriminated in her job.

“I am 23…I am here for a reason…but my age is held against me a lot of times in my profession…which is kind of scary because once I graduate…which is not too long from now…I’ll be 25 and that’s what they will see…”

These judgments did not stop students from supporting each other.

“Discrimination is very much personal. At the moment, you may feel like it’s stupid. But, it really hurts you. Just acknowledge that it’s okay to feel this way. Just talk to other people about it and find a support system. So that you know it’s not your fault. You have the resources to overcome that and educate people,” said Ocampo.

OLAS Vice President, Chrystal Fermin does not allow pre-judgements to stop her.

“I do have to work harder when it comes to my own studies…but I definitely build my own brand…who I am…I do not let people discriminate who I am…or how they think about me,” said Fermin.