An executive board member of the Diversity Support Coalition (DSC) since May 2016, senior Italian and international affairs major Quincy Abramson originally represented Alliance, an LGBTQIAP+ organization, until the end of April 2017, when she was called upon to represent the entire DSC. There, her position aims to hold the University of New Hampshire (UNH) responsible for the way it is advertised, especially in terms of its diversity and sustainability. After 2017’s Cinco de Mayo, when the university found itself in the midst of racial tensions that made regional headlines, Abramson sought to spearhead the issue of mending the university.
“You see all these photos in the UNH brochures of gay students and students of color smiling but that isn’t necessarily the reality we live in,” Abramson said. “Everyone remembers a few years ago when the whole Cinco thing went viral. Well that was my first week as co-chair of the DSC.”
“I remember how crazy it was,” she said. “Before then, I worked for the UNH Alliance, which is a member organization of the DSC. But then I got called up to be co-chair of the whole DSC and, coincidentally, a few days later all hell broke loose. There were people attacking the partiers saying they were racist. There were people defending them saying it was harmless nonsense. There were people wearing blackface and people I know got spat on and had rocks thrown at them. People felt emboldened to be bigoted a*******.”
Laying down the law, Abramson used her newfound position in the DSC to organize peaceful and strategic protests. There was a sit-in held at one of the dorms of a student seen in a video wearing a sombrero. Following the arrival of the university’s provost to the dorm, there was a march to Thompson Hall Lawn, where hundreds of students gathered. Abramson and the rest of the DSC had gotten the attention of the university.
Abramson’s desire for social justice started as a young girl. As a child, she lived in the South American country of Chile for about two years. She was seven at the time of the move. Her father was a Chilean native and an immigration lawyer – he had been invited back to work and teach at local universities. Being a resounding success, what was supposed to be a six-month endeavor turned into two years abroad.
“Sure I missed New Hampshire at times but that little corner of Chile became home too,” she said. “I’m absolutely grateful for it. Seeing people on the corner for weeks at a time, begging and starving, gave me a lot of perspective. I saw what my parents meant when they told me ‘eat everything on your plate, there are starving kids out there.’ I didn’t like seeing people suffer and I brought everything I learned home to New Hampshire with me.”
Abramson also said how this translated into her later life.
“When I got older and discovered more about my sexuality and both my religious and genetic ancestry, I realized that it’s not just starving children on another continent that need help. All kinds of people face discrimination and poverty. Nobody should be forced to suffer,” she said.
As a co-chair of the DSC, Abramson has plenty of people and organizations under her influence. One organization in particular is UNH Hillel, a Jewish organization. Being under the greater DSC umbrella, Hillel leaders report to Abramson. One Hillel member, senior political science major Jordan Leikin, is the organizations treasurer and having worked closely with the DSC, Leikin and Abramson end up in the same circles.
“There are few people that are as dedicated to everyone as she is. It’s inspiring to see the way she looks at problems that affect underrepresented people, and she not only wants to make their voices heard but also solve those problems. Following the Christchurch Mosque shooting, I remember she was the only non-Muslim to speak at this one event and she did a great job representing non-Muslim support without overshadowing those whose voices were there to be highlighted,” Leikin said.
In her time at the university, Abramson has been a part of countless support groups around campus. Her most prominent position is a co-chair of the DSC, however she did not just fall into this position. Rather, she earned it by working with the UNH Alliance, through her extensive time with NextGen Rising, a youth voting organization, as well as the Bernie Sanders campaign. Despite these previous positions, being in charge of the DSC is still Abramson’s most proud responsibility.
“It’s so much effing work and I’m always tired but I wouldn’t have it any other way,” she said.