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Video edited by: Michelle DeMartino

On Wednesday, Nov. 16 at 11 a.m., the Marist Unity Project was underway in the Murray Student Center. In response to last week’s election results, student activists Dylan Lopez, Ted Dolce, Riana Ramirez and Cameron Smith created an event to encourage communication and support within the Marist community.

“The point is to promote healing in the Marist community for those of us who feel threatened or hurt by the Trump presidency,” the students say. “[We want to] promote love, unity and solidarity.”unnamed-2

The event operated two-fold: one part involved writing messages on sticky notes and posting them on a wall. The second part comprised of a video component, depicting participants holding signs and sharing their individual messages verbally. The video will be broadcasted on the television screens outside the student activities office.

During the daylong event, students were encouraged to share their opinion or simply to read the positive messages written by their fellow classmates.

“Obviously there are a lot of strong feelings about the election,” says Lopez. “We want to create a safe place for people to voice their opinions and not get judged for it.”

Based on a recent statement from President David Yellen, the project was implemented at a crucial time. In an e-mail to the Marist community, Yellen writes of two disturbing incidences that have occurred on campus. He says that many colleges and universities have been reporting similar incidents since the election concluded.

“These actions clearly violate Marist’s shared values,” he writes. “More importantly, it demeans our efforts at civil discourse, causes harm to members of our community, and embarrasses the perpetrators.”

unnamed-3President Yellen encouraged student, faculty and staff to participate in the Marist Unity Project to engage in respectful conversation.

He continues, “I applaud the vast majority of our students for modeling exactly the type of open dialogue that will foster greater communication and understanding between people across all ideological perspectives.”

The project will continue with future events, including a Unity Walk beginning at 12 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 30. The demonstration is meant to be a peaceful march through Poughkeepsie to further emphasize the importance of unity and equality on campus and in society.  The walk will begin at the James A. Cannavino Library and end at Poughkeepsie City Hall.

The students included that walkers can participate in a “Mannequin Challenge” before departure and return to campus. The walk will be followed by a debriefing and art therapy session from 3-6 p.m. Students are encouraged to dress in black to express their unity.

“We want to promote a positive message through campus, and come together as one to say we all stand for solidarity,” says Lopez. “With the project, we want to start a progressive conversation to be carried into the future.”

Students can join the campus-wide conversation by using the hashtags #MaristStopsTheHate, #StopTheHate and #BeginTheHealing

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1 Comment

  1. Concerned Parent
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    “These actions clearly violate Marist’s shared values,” he writes. “More importantly, it demeans our efforts at civil discourse, causes harm to members of our community, and embarrasses the perpetrators.”

    Seriously? “Embarrasses the perpetrators”? What kind of language is this? How about some words for the victims? SMH

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