Unity rally seeks to bring groups together
Lauren Harned, The Oklahoma Daily
More than 60 organizations came together Wednesday night at the commonGround unity rally, organizers said.
Sam Scharff, co-chairman, said the purpose of the event was to create a feeling of inclusiveness at OU.
“Our intent is to make every person feel like they belong in the community,” said Scharff, zoology junior.
The inspiration for the unity rally came about a month ago when the Westboro Baptist Church staged a protest of OU Hillel’s celebration of Rosh Hashanah, Misheala Giddings, co-chair said.
At the protest, she said she noticed a huge outpouring of support for the Jewish organization. She wanted to build on that support and share the feeling with the rest of campus. So, she and Scharff began planning the rally.
“We couldn’t ignore the positive energy,” Scharff said. “It was something that we had to take and run with.”
Scharff said what was initially inspired by the Westboro protest has grown into something much bigger.
“This is not a response to Westboro because this has evolved into something more than that,” Scharff said. “We’ve come together to lift up the community.”
Speakers at the rally included David Ray, honors college dean; Marcia Chatelain, African and African-American studies professor and Katie Fox, UOSA President and international and area studies and communications senior.
The event also included performances by the hip-hop group S.O.S and the Society of Native American Gentlemen.
A large banner was displayed at the rally for attendees to sign. Giddings, international and area studies junior, said they are trying to get OU to permanently display it somewhere on campus after the rally.
Scharff said the various organizations provided a lot of help in getting the rally planned in such a short period of time.
“We had the assistance of every organization at our disposal,” he said.
Quayor said he thought the rally was a good way to spread diversity.
“If you don’t reach out to other cultures, you remain ignorant,” Quayor said. “Ignorance leads to fear, and fear leads to hatred.”