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Students Celebrate Unity

“No justice, no peace,” chanted the students, faculty, and guests of Berea College at the 12th annual Unity Banquet. A select group of student speakers lined up to quote famous activists, leaders, and important people in history and pled for justice and equality among all people. President Shinn opened the banquet with a rousing message that it is “our duty to be the champions of change in this world.”

The banquet afforded time for students to reflect together about unity and equality for all people.

The tables draped in white cloth were set with quotes by those who had pressed for change in years past. Student CeDarian Crawford lent his talents as host for the evening, and introduced each speaker and performer with vigor, including Erica Jackson who sang “Lift Every Voice and Sing.”

Student Kendrick Burris read his personal poetry which voiced his right to be his own man and to be who he wants to be, as well as the need for intelligence and change in society. E.Y.C.E. , the Berea College step team, also performed showcasing their talents. Students Tia Davis and Anna Hoone also contributed to the evening by displaying their artistic abilities in poetry and music.

Finally, Attica Scott took the stage as the night’s keynote speaker. Leading the audience in a chant at the beginning of her speech, she said, “When I say ‘jobs with’ you say ‘justice.’” Scott spoke with passion about the champions of change and the struggle for social justice through activism. Voicing her view on social justice, she stated, “Social justice is organizing that is led by people who are working to control their own lives and redistribute power, wealth, and resources.”

Scott also spoke of how it is our job to be champions and to be great by quoting Marianne Williamson: “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

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