Coming together to Stop The Hate

Caroline Fassett, Staff Writer

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The Social Justice Residential College has partnered with Lewisburg’s Community Alliance for Respect and Equality (CARE) and CommUnity Zone to hold the 16th annual Stop the Hate Unity Rally on Oct. 7. The event will be held at Hufnagle Park and will begin at 6 p.m. Students have the opportunity to unite at 5:30 in the downhill side of the Elaine Langone Center and walk to the park as a group.

The program will be a 50-minute long event consisting of musical and spoken word performances by both staff and students. Afterward, the Campus Theatre is screening a showing of the independent film “Bully” at 7 p.m. for $2 per ticket.

Nationwide Stop the Hate Unity Rallies have been occurring since 1998, the year of the deaths of Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr., who were victims of hate crimes. In October of 2009 President Barack Obama signed into law the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, which expands the United States federal hate-crime law to include crimes motivated by a victim’s gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability.

“We’re hoping for over 100 people. That’d be a dream,” Jewish Chaplain and Rabbi Serena Fujita, coordinator of the event, said. “In the past, we’ve just said ‘stop the hate,’ or ‘stop any kind of hate.’ This year we’re hoping to really get our students much more into activism.”

Fujita noted that there have certainly been racial issues, religious issues, as well as issues regarding the treatment of female students on campus in the past. She said that a goal of the rally is not only to make the predominantly white University students aware of their privilege, but aware of those who lack privilege.

“We want the students to think about how they can make change–on campus, as well as in the community, perhaps the world,” Fujita said.

Fujita she is aware that regardless of the turnout, the cause will remain influential throughout the nation for years to come.

“The rally is not an end point. Just a beginning point,” Fujita said.

 

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