Awareness Through Art

Awareness Through Art

UC Berkeley students call for the renaming of Barrows Hall.
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“David Prescott Barrows colonized the Philippines, he depicted my people as savages, and he also invalidated my people’s way of living.” (Bradley Afroilan)

Last week, I had the pleasure of meeting with Bradley Fabro Afroilan and Anthony J. Williams after viewing the artwork that they had displayed in Barrows Hall. This installation — which included a large printed mural, a quote from David Prescott Barrows’ book, and a written statement about why the hall should be renamed — drew my attention as I took my daily walk through the Barrows Hall wind tunnel. As members of the Pilipinx and Black communities on UC Berkeley’s campus as well as the Sociology department that is housed in Barrows Hall, Afroilan and Williams have become passionate about renaming the hall.

Bradley Afroilan is a member of a group called Art for Social Change and believed that such an installation would encourage education and awareness on campus about who David Prescott Barrows really was. “I wanted to create a piece that shows that coalition can be created through art and that activism doesn’t just take place in the streets, but can also take place through creative actions such as Art,” said Afroilan.

Anthony Williams also revealed that the installation was placed in the wind tunnel because they wanted a more “visible piece that would turn heads and get people thinking about the sordid legacy of Barrows as well as the rich history of the revolutionaries we choose for our art installation.”

Through this installation, they publicly displayed who Barrows was. There was a posted quote from Barrows’ work, A History of the Philippines, which states that, “the White or European, Race is, above all others, the great historical race.” A document titled “Who was David Prescott Barrows?” was also included. Here, it was explained that Barrows was directly responsible for establishing colonial education in the Philippines and referred to the Pilipinxs as “the little brown brothers/savages” of the Philippines. They also noted that prior to colonization by the U.S., Spain, and Japan, people of the Philippines had their own “systems of living as evident by the writing system, baybayan.” The quote and the mural of the art installation are pictured below.

When asked about Barrows himself and the idea of having his name on a building of a public university, Anthony Williams stated that “Barrows is not the first and he will not be the last to perpetuate white supremacy or anti-Blackness, but that does not justify glorifying his contributions while ignoring his contempt for people of color.”

Barrows Hall is home to departments such as Ethnic Studies, Asian American Studies, African American Studies, Near Eastern Studies, Native American Studies, Chicano Studies, Gender & Women’s Studies, and Sociology. Many students from other disciplines also have classes in this building. However, despite the familiarity of Barrows Hall to the student body, many don’t think to assess who the building was named after. Before the art installation made by Afroilan and Williams, I did not know anything about who David Prescott Barrows was. Many others still do not know what Barrows’ full name even is. Thus, this calling for the renaming of the hall is not just an effort to remove Barrows’ name, but also to open dialogue amongst students and suggest a critical analysis of things that are simply accepted and ignored.

To groups such as the Pilipinx community and the Black community, having a hall named after a man with such ideologies impedes on the comfort that one feels in the public space. The suggested renaming of the hall would give these students a more welcoming atmosphere to engage with academia.

Cover Image Credit: Ashley Torres

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The Coach That Killed My Passion

An open letter to the coach that made me hate a sport I once loved.
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I fell in love with the game in second grade. I lived for every practice and every game. I lived for the countless hours in the gym or my driveway perfecting every shot, every pass and every move I could think of. Every night after dinner, I would go shoot and would not allow myself to go inside until I hit a hundred shots. I had a desire to play, to get better and to be the best basketball player I could possibly be.

I had many coaches between church leagues, rec leagues, personal coaches, basketball camps, middle school and high school. Most of the coaches I had the opportunity to play for had a passion for the game like I did. They inspired me to never stop working. They would tell me I had a natural ability. I took pride in knowing that I worked hard and I took pride in the compliments that I got from my coaches and other parents. I always looked forward to the drills and, believe it or not, I even looked forward to the running. These coaches had a desire to teach, and I had a desire to learn through every good and bad thing that happened during many seasons. Thank you to the coaches that coached and supported me through the years.

SEE ALSO: My Regrets From My Time As A College Softball Player

Along with the good coaches, are a few bad coaches. These are the coaches that focused on favorites instead of the good of the entire team. I had coaches that no matter how hard I worked, it would never be good enough for them. I had coaches that would take insults too far on the court and in the classroom.

I had coaches that killed my passion and love for the game of basketball.

When a passion dies, it is quite possibly the most heartbreaking thing ever. A desire you once had to play every second of the day is gone; it turns into dreading every practice and game. It turns into leaving every game with earphones in so other parents don't talk to you about it. It meant dreading school the next day due to everyone talking about the previous game. My passion was destroyed when a coach looked at me in the eyes and said, "You could go to any other school and start varsity, but you just can't play for me."

SEE ALSO: Should College Athletes Be Limited To One Sport?

Looking back now at the amount of tears shed after practices and games, I just want to say to this coach: Making me feel bad about myself doesn't make me want to play and work hard for you, whether in the classroom or on the court. Telling me that, "Hard work always pays off" and not keeping that word doesn't make me want to work hard either. I spent every minute of the day focusing on making sure you didn't see the pain that I felt, and all of my energy was put towards that fake smile when I said I was OK with how you treated me. There are not words for the feeling I got when parents of teammates asked why I didn't play more or why I got pulled after one mistake; I simply didn't have an answer. The way you made me feel about myself and my ability to play ball made me hate myself; not only did you make me doubt my ability to play, you turned my teammates against me to where they didn't trust my abilities. I would not wish the pain you caused me on my greatest enemy. I pray that one day, eventually, when all of your players quit coming back that you realize that it isn't all about winning records. It’s about the players. You can have winning records without a good coach if you have a good team, but you won’t have a team if you can't treat players with the respect they deserve.

SEE ALSO: To The Little Girl Picking Up A Basketball For The First Time


Cover Image Credit: Equality Charter School

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Towson Swimming And Diving's Relationship With The Special Olympics Is So Important

Supporting such a great foundation has been an incredible experience.

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It is evident that people with an intellectual disability face a difficult, uphill battle to achieve acceptance and other benefits of society that most people take for granted. The Special Olympics is such an important tool for these people, which I have recently had the privilege to learn first hand.

Each year, the Towson swim and dive team helps coach and work personally with a Special Olympics program. We set aside a Saturday morning after practice each month to work with local Special Olympians in the pool. This consists of providing them with practice and helping them complete it to the best of their ability.

Through doing this, I have met so many lovely, genuine people.

Our team coming together to support such an important foundation is truly the best feeling. It is incredibly moving to not only meet the athletes, but actually get to know them. We spend so much time talking and working with these Special Olympic athletes on how to get better, and it makes the meet hosted for them at the end of their season even more heartwarming for us to witness.

This past weekend, our team hosted and competed against Drexel University's swim and dive team. We had a break during the meet to bring in all of our Special Olympians to each race in one event of their choice. From the moment all of them walked onto the pool deck, the joy they brought was naturally contagious. There is just something so sincere about each of these Special Olympians' smiles that when all of them were together sharing the spotlight, the place was radiating positivity. It made me realize that everyone was there to simply celebrate the ability of these people, instead of focus on disability.

The opportunity to help Special Olympians become better at the sport I love made me realize so much. After high school, most Special Olympic athletes do not get the opportunity to compete anymore on teams or individually as I do, which is why unified sports events are so crucial. Teaching these Special Olympic athletes how to compete and seeing how excited they could be reminded me to enjoy the competition I am so lucky to be surrounded with.

The image of our home pool exploding with joy and energy for these Special Olympians who were so proud to be competing in a race is forever engrained in my mind.

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