The group is shouting chants and words of affirmation walking past Rams Football Stadium. Courtney Bell.

Rams Rally marching against Hate and Violence

Multicultural Student Affairs hosted a Rams Rally: A March to End Violence, the seventh annual event that helped unite people to stand up to oppression, discrimination, and violence, hosted last Monday. Director of Social Equity, Title IX, and Multicultural Student Affairs Annie Lewin had worked with a student group that is no longer active, called the event Rising LOVE (Leaders Objecting Violence and promoting Equity) in 2016.

Before the march, the group had shared a pledge of “respecting all voices” and “speaking up when we hear discriminatory language.” The pledge was to build up the confidence within the group to know what they were fighting for in the community. Afterward, the various student organizations introduced themselves; the groups attended were Affinity Group, Black Student Union (BSU), Gender-Sexuality Alliance (GSA), Shepherd Environmental Organization, Students for Reproductive Rights, and others.

Tanna Rakestraw (left), Annie Lewin (middle), and Fatim Diabate (right) are discussing the purpose of the Rams Rally march on Potomac Lawn last Monday. Courtney Bell. 

Graduate Assistant (GA) for Wellness, Equity, & Prevention Education Initiatives Tanna Rakestraw has participated for two years alongside Lewin. Still, her first year was helping to coordinate the event. She had heavily expressed how proud the turnout was on Monday with the attendees.

My reaction to the chants was a feeling of hope and solidarity. It was such an amazing experience to be surrounded by diversified perceptions of social justice,” Rakestraw said.

At the end of the march, the rally group had a seat in the Storer Ballroom and sat to engage with guest speaker Ebony Stewart. Stewart is an international touring interdisciplinary poet, writer, and performance artist. Many of the attendees called Stewart a breath of fresh air due to the relatable poems that she had shared.

The keynote from Ebony Stewart this year was phenomenal. I loved her energy, her wisdom, and the way she addressed letting go of shame and focused on healing,” Lewin said.

Ebony Stewart is performing one of her poems from ‘Seeking Red’ to the group in the Storer Ballroom. Courtney Bell.

Multicultural Student Affairs would like to host this event again; the passion for change and advocacy was apparent in the atmosphere.

We always hope for more, but it seemed to be a great group and a beautiful feeling of community,” Lewin said.

For more information, visit their organization on RamPulse and Instagram, along with future events that will be held on campus. To learn more about Stewart and her work, visit her website.

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