The Temple University Purpose student group has withstood efforts to smear them, defund them, intimidate them, and silence them. The group was bullied pure and simple for standing up for promoting free speech outside of only accepted political correctness and for fostering the critical thinking of students in forming their social and political opinions.
Purpose’s opponents made up the rules as they went along to throw wrenches into its mission. Purpose members often stood alone as many who understood the wrongs did not speak out, for they did not want to chance becoming the next victims of public character assassination. Deliberate public damage to Purpose President Alvaro Watson’s good reputation, and to the truth of the group’s goals, were seen as simply collateral damage by those advancing their political agenda.
If you have ever been in the eye of a storm, you know there is often calm from within that carries you. In this calm you find your strength to withstand the storm, for you know who you are. You define yourself, and you do not take in others falsely defining you as a part of their strategy. Alvaro and many members of Purpose have displayed this strength.
How does Alvaro reflect on his experience? “I am surprised at how I have handled what I now realize is a Leftist Liberal Tsunami. I actually smile as I reflect on this question, because what I feel which best addresses this question is I feel I have realized I was born to be in the middle of and handle heated, high-pressured situations with super high-running emotions involved.”
“I understand being attacked, because I know the attacks are a response to amazingly great events that are intended to advance discourse past the perpetually barren status quo. Purpose made me realize that we tapped into an unfortunately neglected area of our collegiate experience and education.”
“Purpose has brought attention to the fact Temple, like many colleges do in America today, displayed itself to be an extremely biased school through their response to and actions toward Purpose. What else can you surmise when a school will do whatever possible through whatever means to attempt to silence and eliminate a student group that challenges their shameless indoctrinating curricula.”
Alvaro describes the affect on Purpose. “The main lasting backlash is our group membership has been difficult to maintain. While most of our members want to remain informed about everything we are doing, many are so concerned with the high level of controversy around our events, they are reluctant to participate in the events – and I don’t blame them. I wouldn’t want them to go through anything I’ve had to deal with.”
“I am very grateful to all of the members that have chosen to stay on board, because it takes a lot of guts to be part of Purpose. We have also attracted very strong new members who have become leaders on the eBoard. These members, now group officers, were attracted to our bold, fearless, politically incorrect approach.”
Alvaro summarized the student interest and engagement of politics and current topics on campus. “General interest is very high. Political discussions are generally monopolized by very few groups that seem to set the stage for what is important on campus. The Muslim Student Association and Students for Justice in Palestine are committed to supporting all matters favoring Palestine and both subtly and aggressively discrediting Israel. The Republicans and Libertarians are very active discussing Government and matters of the deficit and the economy as well as unemployment.”
“College tuition has recently become a campus-wide conversation through the Student Senate and our University President. There are organizations that are active on matters of jobs and unemployment; however, most have a Marxist and Social Justice spin.”
“Though it is highly likely that Planned Parenthood has been invited to campus at least once, I am personally unaware of any such events. Gay and same-sex rights topics have been discussed on a small scale by the LGBTQ and Pride in Social Work organizations. The Campus Socialists are the loudest advocates of ObamaCare on campus.”
Alvaro recounts Purpose upholding its original intent in their selections for event guests. “In the short year and a half life of Purpose, we have covered a varied range of events: Geert Wilders spoke on militant Islam; the Confederation of Iranian Students (CIS) spoke on a free, secular Iran; the President of Free Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) spoke on the dangers of Political Correctness; the Silent No More Campaign spoke about women who suffer in silence in the aftermath of abortion and how to heal from that; and Robert Spencer and Pamela Geller spoke on the nature and implications of the Ground Zero Mosque.”
Alvaro answers how guests are chosen by Purpose. “We select speakers based on them being relevant and able to speak to urgent debates that are important to have and understand all sides. If not for Purpose, many of their views would be omitted for student consideration due to a political correctness standard appeasement imposed on college campuses.”
He notes, “What strikes me the most is how the progressive left on campus picks and chooses whose human rights are more important to fight for. Do the feminists, Human Rights groups, or Islamic student organizations ever dare bring the rights of women, gays. or Infidels under Islam to the fore? No. Who does? Purpose does.”
Alvaro addresses the charge he is anti-Muslim, “I am not anti-Muslim. I am, however, against the intentions of and supplications from Muslims to establish Sharia Law in the United States. This is whether it is the most extreme claims of replacing the U.S. Constitution with it, or the smaller of ways like giving legal authority to Muslims to implement Sharia Judicial Courts within their own Muslims communities. I think it is important that we all be equal under the U.S. Constitutions and that no exceptions are given to any one factor whether ethnic, political, religious, or social group over another.
He also speaks to the criticism he is anti-Socialist, “I am not anti-Socialists, but I am adamantly anti-Socialism. The accessibility to the evidence of its reckless nature and aftermath is there for everyone to see. In a Socialist system dissent is not tolerated. Real Socialists accept that under Socialism a significant amount of personal freedoms are given up, so that all can be equal.”
“While the latter may be considered noble, when considering the beauty behind the Utopian society, the former affects every aspect of life, that is, other than the life of someone with no aspirations or hopes for something better. I don’t want the Government to be Big Brother in everything my family, friends, or I choose to do. Socialism is, simply, fools’ gold. It does eventually lower the standard of living and hope in the lives of all.”
Moving forward, “On April 12, Purpose is hosting Nonie Darwish who is an Egyptian-born American human rights activist, and founder of Arabs For Israel, and is Director of Former Muslims United. We have invited her to speak on, among several other items, women’s right under Sharia. March 23, we are co-hosting and screening Hiding. It is a documentary that sheds light unto the life-threatening hardships that North Korean refugees in China must undergo as they live in hiding within a modern day underground.”
“To close out our semester, Purpose is hosting Tigre Hill and screening his film The Barrel of a Gun, which offers a comprehensive examination of the murder of white Philadelphia police officer Daniel Faulkner and the conviction of black journalist turned cabdriver Mumia Abu-Jamal. The case has ignited worldwide controversy, with Abu-Jamal’s arrest and trial becoming a cause célèbre for celebrities, foreign dignitaries and human rights campaigners. For Faulkner supporters, however, the controversy serves as smoke and mirrors to obscure the truth behind a heinous crime. “
Alvaro offers, “It’s exciting to think about the future of Purpose. Several other students from other universities want there to be a Purpose Chapter at their school. The next step is finding help on how to go about establishing a parent Purpose establishment, so that it can operate as a national organization that is open to every campus in the country.”
“I believe Purpose is more than a student organization; it is a movement. It is a movement for all liberty-minded students who reject the notion of political correctness, yet embrace the reality that in order to advance progress, the difficult, sometimes controversial issues have to be faced head on.”
“While it takes brave students to perpetuate our unique mission, if a movement like Purpose is to take to flight, financial donors and business partners must also take the initiative to reach out to us at TemplePurpose@gmail.edu or directly to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Alvaro shares his hope for America going forward. “Often we become overwhelmed when we think of what we hope for America, but it’s usually not complicated. My hope is simple. Just as I hope for the members, friends and - more importantly - opponents of Purpose, I hope that America is willing to discover how easy it is to inform itself with information not stemming solely from the playbook of the Progressive Agenda or the Ultra Right.”
“I hope America explores all views simply to be informed, though I personally don’t recommend either political extreme. I suggest a comfortable middle ground not too close to the center so that you can no longer see where you stand; but just close enough so that you still know where you are, but you can also see what the ground looks like on the other side.”
He reflects on his personal American Dream. “I lost my first country but gained the most exceptional country as my home. My ‘American Dream’ honestly is to continue the fight for this country in whatever intellectual way that I can so that no American ever has to feel what it’s like to lose his or her country.”
Alvaro Watson concludes, “Dreams are associated with a sense of a grand fulfillment of something great. Well, that is what I get from contributing as I do now at school, whether academically or through Purpose, because this was something I never got to do in El Salvador. I’m grateful for this. If I can help students and non-students find purpose, in some way, through Purpose, then what an American Dream that would be for me.”
Part 1 – Free Speech & Critical Thinking
Part 2 – Being Labeled Racist
Part 3 – Socialist & Muslim Student Outrage