Students, faculty and staff met at Tempel Green in a show of solidarity.
A.T. Thomas ’20 held up a sign with a simple message: “Spread the Love.”
Thomas was one of more than 100 campus and local community members who gathered on Tempel Green Wednesday for the “Stand of Collective Resistance and Solidarity,” an event to show solidarity for various causes, such as opposition to President Trump’s travel ban and the building of a border wall, as well as showing support for Black Lives Matter, #NoDAPL, LGBTQ rights and women’s rights.
For Thomas, sharing a message of love was a way to show support for his friends and family in Chicago who have been impacted by the executive order temporarily banning travel from seven Muslim-majority countries.
“Spread whatever type of love you can pour out onto anyone, whether it be someone affected by the ban or any other executive order, or any other form of oppression that is happening in this country,” he said.
“Just spread the love. Give them a hug. Give them a smile. Let them know they are welcome here and that you accept them.”
The stand in was coordinated by members of the Student Government Association as a collective stance against hate and injustice, and to provide a platform for community members impacted by recent and proposed executive actions to speak up.
Ramzi Kaiss ’17, president of SGA, said the event was also an opportunity to shape the direction the College should take in response to the critical needs of students, staff and faculty.
“We’re here not just to stand in solidarity with those who are affected, but to also hear how the affected feel about these actions, and where to move on from here,” he said.
Displaying a rainbow-colored banner that read “No Ban, No Wall, No DAPL on Stolen Land,” Lauren Anderson, associate professor of education, said she was inspired and motivated to participate because of the event’s “intentionally intersectional” nature.
“Right now, there’s so much going on that’s pulling people to activism in really important ways,” Anderson said. “The danger in that is you get a bunch of fragmented or siloed efforts. This is a great way of helping people to see the connection between these issues and to build relationships across groups whose interests are really mutual in a lot of ways.”
The stand in brought together students, staff and faculty of all backgrounds, as well as administrators, including President Katherine Bergeron and Dean of Institutional Equity and Inclusion John McKnight, who spoke about being a young, black man who is a human being above all else.
“My humanity is what I would ask you to see. That is what I see when I see you,” he said. He also called for continued education on the history of these causes to draw even more members of the community into the conversation.