NIOKC gears up for its second year

Jason Morales, Staff Reporter

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Dr. Bobbi Cummings, english lecturer and member of NIOKC, brings up a point during their first meeting.

 

Not in Our Kittitas County (NIOKC) is gearing up for their second year. The group is planning to continue to promote themselves and unite CWU and the community in the fight against discrimination, especially with all the incoming students.

Their mission is to get rid of discrimination, harassment and bullying, starting in Kittitas County. They do not expect it to happen within the year, but more awareness of their group will help. NIOKC’s mission “…crosses all political lines, ethnic groups, sexual orientations, cultures, abilities, and religions” according to their mission statement.

“We want people to know that Ellensburg, for the most part, is a very welcoming place,” Marte Fallshore, a psychology professor at CWU, said.

One of the biggest concerns is people recruiting students to join hate groups. In response to those rumors, workshops are being put together and will inform people of recruitment of hate groups and how to properly act around them. More workshop, guest speakers and a march for this year are also in the works, according to Fallshore.

“The rumors are that there [have] been recruiters. College campuses are the biggest recruitment places for extremist groups,” Fallshore said.

While they want to do more to combat discrimination, there is a fine line that the committee has to stay on. Fallshore would like to let the public know that NIOKC is a non-political group. Even though the committee was formed around the time of the election, the committee wanted to make it clear that they were not for a particular “party.”

“We are not necessarily out there responding directly to everything that is going on.,” Fallshore said.

The group does care about people’s rights, but they cannot go as a group to attend events, such as the repeal of the DACA program, Fallshore said.

For the members of NIOKC, if they would like to attend such an event, they would have to go as individuals. Even in their meetings, they would argue whether or not the event they are asked to be a part of is political or not.

There is no set date yet for the upcoming march, but it is happening. When asked if they are worried for their safety, Fallshore said that they are not worried about people harassing them for their future marches. In fact, they are prepared and have police officers with them.

“You never know what will happen, like, what happened in Charlotte, we are on our toes,” Fallshore said.

So far, it has been peaceful, but they have taken precautions and are ready for the negative responses. In their last march, there was one truck driver who was spewing words at them, but he wound up being arrested at the end; nothing too strenuous that the police could not handle.

NIOKC is still a new committee and are working on obtaining more merchandise to promote their group. If people want t-shirts, they can go to Shirtworks and order a t-shirt from them. Jerrol’s is also supporting the group by having bumper stickers and shopping bags.

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NIOKC gears up for its second year