For the first time ever a transgender Asian American candidate has won an election to become the student president at a major east coast university. Abel Liu made his hometown of San Anselmo in Marin County proud as he won with 80% of the vote to become the University of Virginia student council President.
Liu said that while he didn’t make his gender identity or Asian heritage central to the race there were some who tried to turn it into a wedge issue.
“It was used to mobilize portions of the student body against me, but I was heartened to see that so many other students really rejected that narrative and rallied around a message of acceptance and inclusivity,” said Liu from the Charlottesville campus.
Least we forget how our liberation began when on a 2017 night torch-carrying white supremacists marched on the University of Virginia Campus to Unite the Reich.
Abel Liu’s victory comes on the heels of a February 15th student council zoom meeting that was disrupted by hate messages from ‘unaffiliated’ attendies that attacked the minorities present.
“There has always been at least one conservative voice in Student Council since I’ve been a first-year at U.Va.,” Liu said two days later at a student forum. “What’s changed is the unacceptable conduct by certain members that alienate members who are more marginalized than them [who] are really just trying to share their lived experience but now cannot because they fear death threats or national organizations with millions of dollars targeting them online.”
Student Council’s 2020-2021 representative body was the first majority-minority body in the organization’s history. Liu said that this was accomplished through focusing on diverse recruitment channels, and he hopes to continue advocating for marginalized students — a core part of his platform.
“We will be ensuring accountability for any instigators of instances of biased and targeted harassment as well as threats,” Liu said. “We will be implementing anti-racism training, and then furthermore, we’ll actually be trying to remove traditional barriers to officer-level positions in Student Council by paying first-generation low-income students, hopefully in the future, to take on those roles.”
“What matters most is solidarity across racial lines, class lines, gender lines in a fight against a common enemy of white supremacy,” he said.