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Debunking anti-SAS myths

By Valerie Swan
Arizona Daily Wildcat
May 4, 1999
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To the editor,

I am compelled to respond to some of the comments and perceptions that have been circulating in this paper regarding the SAS sit-in. First, I need to commend Tom Collins for his insightful commentary, and those of you who continue to show your support for human rights, both through letters and more subtle means. It takes courage to voice views and concerns and I feel hopeful that the mere existence of this type of dialogue is a step in the right direction toward greater understanding and awareness of these issues.

This protest embodies a unique expression of energy and departure from what may be considered "typical" collegiate activities. Consequently, our desperately needed challenges to the status quo inevitably invoke controversy, resentment and widespread misunderstanding.

In her letter to the editor last Thursday, Ms. Stollar wrote that Students Against Sweatshops is a laughable group, and her attempt to psychoanalyze people's involvement in this movement with some sort of misfit explanation reveals a common sentiment among people who feel insecure and threatened by any significant break from the norm.

When critically analyzing something, we must first have a firm grasp on the entire story and the underlying facts and evidence that found it. Our society's method of educating itself is largely reliant upon the media, which unfortunately, consistently and systematically paints us a grossly distorted picture of reality.

So you can see why I simply don't understand why folks like Brad Wallace are so arrogantly sure of themselves and their opinion when they've gotten their information from purely secondhand, at best, sources.

I wonder what behavior it is you're criticizing of ours, Brad, that you call "unscrupulous." What, smoking on a designated SMOKING porch where Likins' staff smokes every day? Sixty people joining hands and singing for hours songs like "This Little Light of Mine"? Claiming Peter Likins' board room table as a spot for doing homework? Again, instances of you being ignorant to the facts. If you had went up there and witnessed a minute of the sit-in for yourself, you would have known that the sit-in was certainly not fun and games or an alternative to school.

To reiterate a point I have reminded people of endlessly, the harrowing negotiations of last week certainly weren't for us, but spoke for the workers who don't have a voice. So while many of you are sick of this issue and think we were beating a dead horse, so to speak, if you were in the shoes of one of the many women or men working for pennies a day, trust me, you would feel differently.

The sit-in may be over, but the fight has just begun.

Valerie Swan
Sociology senior