On December 6, 2017, Hampshire College in Amherst, Massachusetts cancelled a planned speech by NRA spokesperson Antonia Okafor. The college claims that was because their faculty “did not follow its own procedures in sufficiently reviewing [Okafor’s] application,” but it was likely also because Okafor openly fetishizes firearms designed to take human life and is affiliated with an organization that has encouraged violence against journalists and Donald Trump’s detractors.
Okafor spoke at the NRA annual meeting this year in Atlanta and has appeared in a number of promotional ads for the organization, including its “I Am the NRA” series. She appears regularly in the NRA’s America’s 1st Freedom magazine and is a frequent guest on NRA-TV. Okafor has described the NRA as one of the greatest civil rights organizations in history. She is best known as an ardent proponent of forcing colleges to allow firearms on their campuses.
During a time when shootings on college campuses has become a regular feature of American life, there is a legitimate safety risk in hosting speakers such as Antonia Okafor who encourage students to resolve confrontations through armed violence. It is also deeply disturbing that Okafor has voiced no criticism of an ongoing series of NRA videos that promote violence.
Americans have first amendment rights, but we also have a right to be safe in the places where we work, play, learn, and worship.
Please contact Hampshire College Director of Campus Leadership Carolyn Strycharz through one of the channels below and give her the following message:
I want to thank you for canceling the planned speech of NRA spokesperson Antonia Okafor. It is true that Americans have free speech rights and college campuses should be bastions of academic freedom where a wide range of views and voices are welcomed. But when those voices glamorize weapons designed to take human life and encourage students to resolve confrontations through armed violence, other important rights are implicated. Your most fundamental duty is to provide a safe environment for your students and faculty. Speakers who engage in the idolatry of firearms threaten such an environment and make violence more likely during a time when campus shootings are becoming a regular feature of American life. Do not bend to pro-gun bullies and NRA lobbyists. Stand by your principles and core commitment to nonviolent resolution of all issues. I and many others are with you.
Director of Campus Leadership Carolyn Strycharz
Phone: (413) 559-6005
Once you have contacted Carolyn Strycharz, click the orange banner above to report your action!
Thank you for standing for safe campuses and against those who glamorize firearms and killing in a nation wracked by shooting horrors.