August 21, 2008

LEWISBURG, Pa. — Bucknell University and the Lewisburg community will join forces for the annual Unity Jam: Stop the Hate Rally on Monday, Sept. 8.

Participants will gather in front of Bucknell's Bertrand Library at 6:30 p.m. to march to Hufnagle Park at 6:45 p.m. The rally in the park, which will begin at 7 p.m., will include remarks from local and university representatives and a keynote talk by Quay Hanna.

In 1993, a year after graduating from Bloomsburg University, Hanna left his small town of Strasburg, Pa., for a nine-week, 37-state journey through America. During his 12,000-mile tour, he confronted his own racist and prejudiced beliefs. After returning to Strasburg, he had a new objective: to reach out to his subculture – rural, white America – and to challenge racist beliefs as his were challenged on the trip.

"I found myself traveling around the country with people I thought I hated my whole life. I realized that I didn’t want to invest so much of my life in this hatred of others," he said.

In 1997, Hanna wrote Bus America: Revelation of a Redneck about his life-changing experience, and began speaking to audiences around the country that same year. He was featured as an expert in teenage race relations in the CNN documentary, "The Noose: An American Nightmare." Hanna also will visit the Lewisburg Middle School on Sept. 8. For more information, visit www.quayhanna.com.

Begun a decade ago
According to Jessica Hess, director of Multicultural Student Services at Bucknell, the Rally is part of a national effort calling for people of faith and good will to act nonviolently as agents of healing in their communities, to speak up for the victims of hatred and intimidation, and to raise a united voice against hate-inspired violence. The national rallies began the year after the hate crimes and killings of James Byrd and Matthew Shepard in 1998.

"The 'Stop the Hate' title for the event was originally adopted from a national event organized after murders and other hateful acts in the late 1990s. National religious leaders of different faiths participated in the first annual STOP the HATE: Interfaith Vigils Against Hate Violence, organized by The Interfaith Alliance and the Fellowship of Reconciliation. Endorsed by 223 national and local organizations, people of faith organized vigils in more than 350 communities in more than 30 states.

"The original focus of the Lewisburg/Bucknell Stop the Hate rally was on organized hate groups," said Hess. "The 'Unity Jam' part of the title was added in 2006 in order to highlight the focus on unity and partnering as local communities.

"Our local and university communities have been especially supportive of the annual rally, with numerous student groups joining people from local churches and other organizations. We invite everyone to be part of this year's rally."

For more information, contact the Office of Multicultural Student Services at 570-577-1095 or jessica.hess@bucknell.edu.

Contact: Division of Communications

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