Mount Pleasant Woman Advocates for Inclusion, Awareness after Hate Crime

“The more that people educate themselves it’s going to make everything a lot safer."

A Mount Pleasant woman became the victim of what police are calling a hate crime.

She wants everyone to know what happened.

Last week Mari Poindexter was enjoying a night out with friends when she says a man punched her in the face.

She says he also used slurs about her appearance and sexuality.

It happened Wednesday night in the parking lot of the Cabin, a bar in Mount Pleasant.

Despite a nasty black eye, Mary wants everyone to realize this happens a lot more than people think.

“I opened up the door and I was looking under the seat, I felt a tap on my shoulder and I just turned to see who it was and that’s when I was punched,” says Poindexter.

Mari Poindexter is an accomplished young woman, already having a master’s degree and hired on to teach business at Central Michigan University

But last Wednesday a complete stranger punched her in the face because of how she looks.

“At first I was planning on saying it was a sports injury or something like that because I couldn’t fathom that that kind of thing could happen and I didn’t want to be known as somebody who went through that,” says Poindexter.

After talking to a close friend, Poindexter decided to file a police report. Mount Pleasant police says it’s being investigated as a hate crime.

She also had the courage to post her experience on Facebook to raise awareness.

“A lot of people are afraid of what they don’t know and what they don’t understand. Things like gender expression, gender identity, sexuality, those are things that are sometimes uncomfortable topics to talk about,” says Poindexter.

But it’s a topic she says can’t be ignored.

“People need to think about the way they treat people and the words that they use and how we perceive people who are different from what society perceives as normal. I think if there’s a positive that can come from this situation its raising awareness for that,” says Poindexter.

As of 6 p.m., the public Facebook post now has close to 3,000 comments and more than 1,800 shares.

Poindexter says the circulation started a much needed conversation about inclusion.

If you’re looking for resources, Central Michigan University offers many programs and help on campus. Follow this link for more information.