October 05, 2017, BY Beth Kaszuba

Students, faculty and staff march from Bucknell's campus.
Students, faculty and staff marched from Bucknell's campus to Lewisburg's Hufnagle Park in a show of unity against injustice and violence. Left to right: John Quinn '18, Amarachi Ekekwe '18, Maha Kourikchi '18 and Effiem Obasi '20. Photo by Emily Paine, Division of Communications

The ideas were conveyed in speeches, on posters and even through rap, but the messages delivered at the 19th annual Solidarity March and rally had a common theme: Everyone has a responsibility to fight for social justice, environmental rights and an end to violence.

The Oct. 3 event, coordinated by Bucknell's Social Justice Residential College and Lewisburg's CommUnity Zone, brought together area residents and Bucknell students, faculty and staff, with the crowd totaling approximately 350. Members of the Bucknell community gathered on the Malesardi Quadrangle and marched to nearby Hufnagle Park, where they joined local citizens for performances and speeches calling for environmental protections, rights for individuals with disabilities, action to stop gun violence and healing of racial and ethnic divides.

Speakers from Bucknell included President John Bravman, Professor Amanda Wooden, environmental studies, and Professor Carmen GillespieEnglish, who directs the Griot Institute for Africana Studies. Amarachi Ekekwe '18 and Huthaifa Aladwan '20 also performed, using rap to express their frustrations with racial and ethnic profiling and discrimination.

Social Justice Residential College fellows Shirah Moffat-Darko ’18, Effiem Obasi ’20 and Sarah Rippel ’20 introduced speakers and performers at the joint University-community rally. Photo by Emily Paine, Division of Communications

Three residential college junior fellows were instrumental in coordinating Bucknell's role in the gathering. Sarah Rippel '20, a women's & gender studies and Africana studies major; Effiem Obasi '20, psychology and biology; and Shirah Moffat-Darko '18, early childhood education, led the march from campus and served as rally emcees.

Obasi said bringing together representatives of Bucknell and local communities is an important step toward achieving the goals set forth by speakers and performers. "In order for us to make changes, we need to come together," she said. "Having all of these separate groups is not as powerful as when we join together."

Rippel said she hopes the event will have a lasting impact on everyone who participated. "It's encouraging to see that we're all passionate about these issues," she said. "I hope people remember this, and the feeling it gave them, and think about it every day."