Wheaton College Norton, Massachusetts
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Peace rally

Wheaton community gathers to take a stand against hate

Take a Stand Against Hate and Rally for Peace

Students, faculty and staff joined together Wednesday night outside of Cole Memorial Chapel to reaffirm their commitment to create an inclusive society and stand in solidarity with marginalized groups.

The event, “Take a Stand Against Hate and Rally for Peace,” was organized by the Office of Service, Spirituality and Social Responsibility, the Council on Inclusion and Diversity, and the Student Government Association.

“The event was not about [President-elect] Donald Trump but rather, the set of values that our community upholds, as well as the behavior such as racism, xenophobia, homophobia and sexism that our community does not condone or tolerate,” said Olivia Benissan '19, who helped organize the event.

Attendees lit candles arranged in the shape of a peace sign and joined together in a moment of silence for marginalized groups who have been the recent target of hateful acts and overt racism.

SGA President Katie Elliott '17 and Wheaton College Conservatives President Michael Lethin '17 both spoke at the event, expressing a commitment not to tolerate hateful and prejudicial behavior. Reverend Bernie Hinkley delivered the final remarks, calling on the community to show more compassion in a divided world.

The rally also included a performance of “Lean on Me” by members of Voices United to Jam, and the Feminist Association of Wheaton collected money for the American Civil Liberties Union.

"The event was beautiful, and I was proud to see a number of students, as well as faculty and staff, including Dean Kate Kenny and President Hanno. I hope that the conversation around community building and how we can be a safe and inclusive community continues, because our differences are what enrich a community like Wheaton," Benissan said.

(Photos by Nicki Pardo)