Berry Stands in Solidarity 

Students from all walks of life, backgrounds and ethnicities participated in the second Solidarity Week program at Berry College this past week.

Solidarity Week is a student driven initiative created to acknowledge, educate and celebrate the differences that contribute to the Berry community. Junior Diamond Newsome of Deerfield Beach, Fla. created Solidarity Week after the deadly white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Va. around this time last year.

“I wanted Berry to do something that promoted love, acceptance and inclusivity after that huge event that promoted so much hate,” Newsome said. “I’ve noticed that conversations have been sparked by the Berry community since Solidarity Week was created and that those who normally wouldn’t speak up, have felt comfortable sharing their stories and opinions.”

The week kicked off with an “Iden-Tie-Tee” event hosted by the Student Government Association on the Krannert Lawn Monday afternoon. Students were invited to tie dye a shirt in colors that identify with different topics that they support and stand in solidarity with. Students, faculty and staff wore their tie-dyed clothing to Saturday’s home football game as a celebration to conclude the week.

“My favorite part of the week was the solidarity circle on Tuesday night because the message was so powerful,” Newsome said. “To give people the opportunity and a safe space to share their stories is one of the most beautiful things ever.”

On Wednesday evening, the committee hosted “Flippin’ Out,” a dinner and discussion around the idea of respecting dialogue and how we can engage in conversations even when the topic is one that causes us to disagree or flip out while consuming pancakes and other breakfast food items.

Berry’s own John Hickman, professor of government and international studies, along with alumnus Jessie Reed spoke on Thursday evening on the “Turn Your Back on Hate” movement that they were a part of in 2016. They spoke about how to take an awful situation and deal with it in a peaceful way.

Wrapping up the week, the Solidarity Week committee hosted “Link Together in Solidarity” on the Krannert lawn Friday afternoon to encourage students to think about who and what they stand in solidarity with.

“This week is so important to me and I am so pleased with the response that it received this year. I hope that Berry continues this traditions for many years and that the initiative continues to grow,” Newsome said.

Written by Public Relations Student Supervisor Alexi Bell and photos by Staff Photographer Brant Sanderlin and Student Photographer Matthew McConnell.