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Several student groups, academic departments, and the Chaplain’s Office have joined together to organize events for Lafayette’s first Anti-hate Week: The Human Appreciation Movement, April 23-27. Brown bag discussions, a candlelight vigil, and a speech by slam poet Alix Olson are among the events scheduled.

The goal of Anti-Hate Week is to increase cultural awareness and respect on the campus and in the greater community. Events are designed to celebrate human diversity and raise awareness about prejudice and hate crime.

A prominent performer in the New York City and national spoken word scenes, Olson is a member of the 1998 Nuyorican National Championship Poetry Slam Team and the 1999 OutWrite National Poetry Slam Champion. Olson has been featured at numerous New York City venues, including Harlem’s Apollo Theatre, Symphony Space with Pete Seeger and Michael Moore, and the HERE Performing Arts Festival. She has traveled throughout the nation, performing at clubs, theaters, colleges, universities, and events, such as the Lambda Literary Conference 2000, the National Organization of Women’s 1999 National Conference, and the 1999 National Lesbian Summit. Olson was featured as a cultural artist at Amsterdam’s 1998 Gay Games, at the 1999 FalaDura Poetry Festival in Portugal, and at the 2000 International Poetry Festival in Holland.

Olson is a 1999 New York Foundation for the Arts Fellow, and has received the 1998 Barbara Deming “Women in the Arts” grant and the 1998 In Our Own Write award. Her poetry has been published in The Lesbian Review of Books and two anthologies: Revolutionary Voices (Alyson Publications) and Will Work for Peace: New Political Poems (Zero Panik Press). She is the co-editor of Vagina Verses (Zero Panik Press), as well as an upcoming Queer Slam Poetry anthology. Additionally, Alix and the Nuyorican Team have co-authored a collection of their work, Burnin’ Down The House (Soft Skull Press). They are also featured on “Unbound,” a hip hop compilation benefiting political prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal’s Legal Defense Fund.

Olson has been highlighted by local and national media, including CNN, Fox News Online, WBAI, Ms. Magazine, The Advocate, The Village Voice, and Elle Magazine. She has shared the stage with a number of noted artists, including Ntozake Shange, The Last Poets, Meryl Streep, Minnie Bruce Pratt, Nikki Giovanni, Michael Moore, and musicians Pete Seeger, Catie Curtis, Alix Dobkin, Christine Lavin, and Queen Latifah.

Food will be provided at the brown bag discussions. Here is the full schedule of events:
Friday, April 20, noon – Brown bag talk on the Holocaust, Interfaith Chapel, Hogg Hall.
Monday, April 23, noon – Kickoff event: Brown bag talk on “What is Hate?” Interfaith Chapel, Hogg Hall.
Monday, April 23, 1-3 p.m. – Kite flying on the Quad.
Monday, April 23, 8-9 p.m. – Candlelight vigil throughout the campus.
Tuesday, April 24, noon — Brown bag talk on “Is Rape a Hate Crime?” Interfaith Chapel, Hogg Hall.
Wednesday, April 25, 6-7 p.m. – Diversity Dinner on the Quad.
Wednesday, April 25, 7 p.m. – Speech by Alix Olson, lesbian slam poet, in the Farinon Center snack bar.
Thursday, April 26, noon – Brown bag on gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender social movements.
Friday, April 27, 7-8 p.m. – Roundtable discussion on “Religion and Hate,” Interfaith Chapel, Hogg Hall.

Anti-Hate Week is sponsored by the Chaplain’s Office, the English department, the government and law department, and the following student groups: Lafayette Intercultural Networking Council, QuEST (Questioning Established Sexual Taboos), Association of Lafayette Women, Association of Black Collegians, Hillel Society, Newman Association, McKelvy House, and C.H.I.L.L. (Creating a Harmonious, Interesting, and Livable Lafayette).

For more information, contact Michael Lestingi ’03, 610-330-4394, or Carrie Spell, assistant dean of students and director of intercultural development, 610-330-5556.

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