By Jillian Baker
On August 31, 2017, KU held its first Unity Day during the free hour at 11 a.m.
The celebration began with the KU cheerleading team performing cheers welcoming the community and university staff members.
Dean of Students, Donovan McCargo led the celebration. He said, “Today we come together in unity, to bond together as individuals and to build community. Unity is not about our actions, but along and about being one.”
“In unity we block out our differences, our issues, our individuality and exchange for a single purpose to work together, bridge gaps and move forward ideas that improve the places we live, work and play,” said McCargo.
President Kenneth Hawkinson was welcomed to the stage for his speech. He referred back to the poster incidents in the spring semester and said “There have been many groups in our country that are trying to tear us apart. We had some groups that showed up in the dark of night last semester to try to tear us apart, but it didn’t happen.”
He said, “We’re going to show that our strength lies in our diversity and in our unity.” Hawkinson continued by stating that KU rejects all forms of discrimination, racism and bigotry.
Christine Price, director of the women’s center and the GLBTQ resource center said, “I hope that no matter where your journey takes you in this semester, that you will remember today, the beautiful day, but also the individuals that stand up to bring a message of unity.”
“We strive to create a culture of respect at Kutztown.”
Rachael Wolfe, KU student said, “To me, KU is a place where peace and acceptance cultivates. The student body at Kutztown has taught me very valuable lessons on acceptance and has truly exposed me to the perspective of those around me. I challenge everyone here to go out of their way to show consideration, love and kindness to all.”
Amanda Morris, “We may disagree on how our campus should be run, like specifics, like curriculum, timelines, calendars and responses to hateful posters, but I can now say with absolute confidence, that we all want the same thing.” “We want our campus community to be healthy, safe and vibrant.”
Nykolai Blichar, graduate student, “I found a university that cherished and celebrated diversity and inclusion. And most importantly I found a place where people didn’t see differences as dividers, but unifiers.”
“To the class of 2021 and all of the new incoming students, I hope that, like me, you’ll find Kutztown to be a place of acceptance, a place where you can be yourself and a place that you can learn, grow and cherish one another.”
Molly Gallagher, KU student body president showed her support for all students on campus regardless of race, religion, gender, sexual orientation and beliefs.
She said, “I encourage you to embrace the diversity that our campus offers. You never know what someone may be going through while walking on this campus, nor have you walked in their shoes. A smile or simple recognition could be all the difference in someone’s life.”
“We are the ones that have the power to create unity,” said Gallagher.
The Unity Day celebration ended with about 200 people of the KU community pledging hand in hand. The crowd repeated the pledge from McCargo saying, “I will work with my fellow man to combat things that compromise our spaces. I will remember humanity in the choices that could be offensive and harmful to others.”