Samuel Poplack’s wholesome mission to reassure students

By Kristen Finley
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Sam, with one of his posters. Photo by Sam Poplack.

Samuel Poplack, a senior here at California State University, Monterey Bay (CSUMB), began a wholesome mission across campus to spread comfort to students by politely asking staff, administration and places of service to display posters or banners with the phrase, “Hate Has No Home Here.”

Deeply affected by the synagogue shooting in Pittsburgh this past October, as a Jewish student, his goals weren’t just for other Jewish students sharing the campus, but, “…for all students.” His respectful wishes to our newspaper read, “Even though I am in anger and sadness of what anti-semites have done to hurt the Jewish community in Pittsburg, I believe that the most positive way to destroy hate is to come together and show to ourselves and the students you accommodate, and the community you all build at CSUMB that racism, and bigotry do not belong on this campus.”

Poplack expressed in a very emotional interview that though he’s dealt with anti-semitism in the past from people he considered his friends, he has embraced his heritage and feels proud to be who he is. His goal with these posters is to allow students to feel that way about themselves, and give them a place where they can feel supported by those who display the posters.

“When the shooting in Pittsburgh happened, I had a lot of support from my friends and family, especially from my friends in the water polo club. They let me know I could talk to them about anything, they were there for me. I want other students to have that, too,” said Poplack.

He says confidently that while he does feel safe on our campus, he doesn’t want to assume that every student feels that way. These posters, he says, show these students that staff, students and other facility stand beside them, no matter what.

“I want students to feel safe when they see the posters. When a student sees them, they should know that within these four walls, they will not face any kind of bigotry, hate or judgement for who they are,” said Poplack passionately.

Several of his professors were more than happy to accomodate his request, as well as a considerable number of administrative staff. He doesn’t see as many posters hung up around campus as he’d like, but he becomes more hopeful as more attention is brought to his pursuit.

“This little mission of mine is getting a lot more positive attention and reactions than I originally thought there’d be, it makes me really happy to see that,” he said. He mentioned, too, that his father was especially proud of the effort that Samuel’s putting into providing a haven for shaken students.

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