BENEFITING: CAMPAIGN FOR SOUTHERN EQUALITY
“Look, it’s a stupid thing. If I was president or governor I’d get rid of it.”- Coach K.
Like many fellow Duke alumni, I spent the wee hours of last night and the early part of today quite distressed. We, the Duke University Blue Devils of Durham, North Carolina, the NCAA basketball tournament favorite, one of the last bastions of hope in these dark times of questionable officiating and still alive Tar Heels, lost our second-round game to the University of South Carolina in front of what was essentially a sold out South Carolina home arena in Greenville. The elimination of our men’s basketball team from the NCAA Tournament (when it actually happens) is never fun, and we revel in being the villain others root against, but this was different.
For those who might not know, Greensboro, North Carolina was intended as the original site of games in this part of the bracket- about an hour's driving from the friendly confines of Cameron Indoor Stadium. Then the state of North Carolina passed HB2, the infamous law that singles out the LGBTQ community, specifically requiring transgender people to use the bathrooms corresponding to the sex on their birth certificates.
The NCAA, rightfully, took their events out of the state, hoping all the revenue that comes with the events would effectuate a change. And so these tournament games were moved to South Carolina, which became the closest site to our campus. But then the Gamecocks had their best season in years, were rewarded with a #7 seed and 2 games played less than 100 miles from THEIR campus, and, well… you know the rest.
I woke up this morning a Duke stereotype- whining about things not going our way, blaming the refs, blaming South Carolina, North Carolina, and, of course, Roy Williams. (It’s always somewhat Roy’s fault). But instead of throwing a tantrum, I decided to channel that energy into something useful.
HB2 is a bad look for the state of Carolina and extremely harmful, especially to the young LGBTQ community either currently attending DUKE or seeking matriculation to the best institute of higher learning North Carolina has to offer. So I’m asking you- DUKE Alumni, DUKE fans, human beings, and anyone opposed to injustice in all forms- from the serious and scary real world prejudice based on sexual orientation to the escapist utopia that is March Madness- to do some good meet this challenge: I’m looking to raise $10,000 for the Campaign for Southern Equality via CrowdRise:
Duke For Southern Equality: GTQBLue Devils Against #HB2.
Many of you, like me, had plans to see our squad next week in the Sports Mecca that is Madison Square Garden. Instead, I’m taking the money I would have spent on tickets and drinks and giving it to a good cause. Because who really needs to see Wisconsin, Florida, Baylor or South Carolina play for 4th place?
One last thing:
Because I know how amazing you all are gonna be, I’m looking to raise ANOTHER $10k for Equality Texas, which advocates for LGBTQ rights in the state of Texas, which was the most prominent state to support NC’s HB2, and which also happens to be the site of NEXT YEAR’s Final Four.
We WILL be back, & We WILL effectuate change.
We Are Duke.
Tal Hirshberg, Duke ‘04