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Campus & Community

Spinning a Message of Love and Tolerance

Hanukkah Event, Featuring Mother of 1st Lt. Richard Collins III, Condemns Bigotry

By Sala Levin ’10

large group of students spinning dreidels on basketball court

Students spun dreidels last night at Ritchie Coliseum to celebrate the final evening of Hanukkah at "Spin Love, Not Hate," an event to raise awareness about antisemitism and other forms of bigotry. In her remarks, Dawn Collins (below), mother of slain Lt. Richard Collins III, urged students to "see the humanity in others."

Photos by John T. Consoli

On the final night of Hanukkah, University of Maryland students put a serious spin on a popular holiday game to raise awareness about antisemitism and other forms of hatred.

At “Spin Love, Not Hate,” held last night at Ritchie Coliseum, some 150 students and other members of the UMD community twirled dreidels and heard from university President Darryll J. Pines and Dawn Collins, mother of the late 1st Lt. Richard Collins III, on the importance of fighting bigotry in all its forms on campus and in the wider world.

Mrs. Collins speaks at "Spin Love, Not Hate" event

Collins, a Bowie State University senior who was killed on campus in 2017 by a UMD student with links to white supremacist organizations, “was prepared to give his life for this country on the battlefield, but we did not know that the battlefield was not going to be overseas,” said Dawn Collins as her voice choked. “He died in this country’s battle for racial justice.”

Meredith Weisel, the Anti-Defamation League’s deputy regional director for the Washington, D.C., area, noted that surveys have found that one-third of Jewish college students in the United States had experienced anti-Semitism in the last year, often in the form of offensive comments or defaced property.

Collins encouraged the students in attendance to take advantage of the opportunities that college presents to befriend people of disparate backgrounds and take in new ideas. “Expand your mind with a passion to see the humanity in others,” she said.

Pines echoed the message of Ari Israel, director of Maryland Hillel, which sponsored the event along with some 60 cosponsors, to find inspiration in the story of Hanukkah, in which Jews resisted religious oppression. He also reiterated his commitment to an inclusive campus for all, saying that “we cannot turn a blind eye” to any incident of hate on campus.

students spin dreidels at "Spin Love, Not Hate" event

Though an attempt to break the world record for most people spinning a dreidel—the classic Hanukkah top-like toy—fell short, the students sat on the basketball court to play with the dreidels, followed by the traditional Hanukkah potato latkes and sufganiyot, jelly doughnuts.

“It’s very important to raise awareness about minorities,” said Adam Speiser ’25. “It’s important to talk about these things to make sure nothing like (Collins’ murder) ever happens again.”

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