The Unity Rally, an event to promote tolerance and acceptance of all people, regardless of race, religion and gender, will occur Wednesday, September 6, at the Ravine from 12 to 1 p.m. The event is free for anyone to attend.
“We want to add power to the things we love,” said Ogechi Anyanwu, one of the organizers of the event and director of the African/African American Studies program.
“I believe that it is what we have in common that you should celebrate,” Anyanwu said.
Anyanwu first immigrated to the U.S. from Nigeria in 2003.
“I’m very happy to be an American,” Anyanwu said. “[Immigrants] are bringing things to the table and taking things back with them. That’s what makes America unique.”
He was approached by the director of social work program, Stephanie Adams to organize the event after the protests in Charlottesville, Virginia. However, Anyanwu said the event isn’t calling out bigotry.
“We don’t want [the rally] to be against anything,” he said, citing that the media giving white supremacists and Nazis attention is what gives them power.
Alix Heintzman, who began teaching African studies in 2012, also worked to promote the event along with Kelly Smith, Crabbe Library’s coordinator of collection services.
“Me and Kelly Smith did invitations,” Heintzman said. They invited speakers and reserved the Ravine for the event.
The rally is sponsored by 12 EKU organizations: the AFA Club, EKU African and African-American Studies, EKU Appalachian Studies, EKU Asian Studies, Department of Languages, Cultures and Humanities, EKU Honors, Latino Student Association, EKU Libraries, Office of Multicultural Student Affairs, EKU Social Work Program, Students for Social Justice and EKU Women & Gender Studies.
“Everyone immediately wanted to help,” Heintzman said.
The Unity Rally will have 11 guest speakers: Anyanwu, Minh Nguyen, the director of Asian Studies and another collaborator on the event; Socorro Zaragoza, the associate professor of Spanish; President Benson; Eugene Palka, vice president for student success; Tim Forde, vice provost for diversity and diversity officer; Alice Jones, coordinator of Appalachian Studies; Anthony Jones, director of the Office of Multicultural Student Affairs; Becca Geiger, Green Dot coordinator and program specialist; Lisa Day, director of the Women and Gender Studies program; and Abigail Gardella, founding member of Students for Social Justice.