Liberal Studies first-year student Bincheng Mao is passionate and vocal when it comes to non-discrimination and equality, and since October of last year, he has boldly advocated for inclusion with his nonprofit, the East Coast Coalition for Tolerance and Non-Discrimination. Mao exemplifies the values of LS and is committed to social justice as he fights on behalf of others for what he believes is right. His curiosity leads him to recognize and solve problems around the world with the underlying hope to bring understanding and unity. We spoke to Bincheng about his bold actions in response to the challenges that COVID-19 presents to minority communities and what motivated him to get involved.
“ECC was established in October 2019, after witnessing the rise in xenophobic sentiments in New York through the experience of one of my close friends who had his room vandalized because he spoke Arabic in public. This nonprofit is dedicated to promoting social inclusion and equity for marginalized minorities. When we noticed the widespread mispronunciation and the consequent sense of cultural alienation felt by minorities, I led ECC in launching the Name Equality for Minorities Project, where we collected, categorized, recorded the correct pronunciation of 595 non-western names, and also explained the profound cultural meanings behind each and every one of these names. ECC and I are tremendously grateful for the Social Impact Grant awarded by NYU Liberal Studies while we were carrying out this project.
Today, ECC includes over 3,000 members from 15 universities; together, we organize and execute a series of social projects, devoting so many sleepless nights planning and working towards a more inclusive and just society for disadvantaged people.
Recently, with COVID-19, ECC noticed the dire need for medical supplies at hospitals—particularly those in underprivileged communities most affected by this disease. Therefore, we organized and executed the Emergency Relief Initiative, which has since fundraised over $30,000. We then purchased and donated 47 cartons of urgently needed personal protective equipment (PPE) from areas already recovered from COVID-19 and sent them to frontline medical workers at institutions like the Yale-New Haven Hospital and the Italian Red Cross Society.
I genuinely hope that one day, we can see our society as an extended metaphor for inclusion and equity. The ECC represents my and so many young students’ endeavors toward this goal.”