In a display of unity, Carson-Newman University’s students, faculty, staff and administration participated in an Eagles United March on campus Thursday.
Ephesians 2:14-16, verses which speak of peace, removing barriers and ending hostility, served as the guiding passage for the event.
Ashley Caradine, director for the Office of Multicultural services, referred to the march as a step toward repairing relationships.
“We have to start in our own backyard before we take on the world,” Caradine said. “Today, if you’re feeling a heavy burden, if you’re feeling overwhelmed, if you’re feeling grieved by injustice, I say, ‘Good. Good that you feel these things.’ As we strive to look more like Jesus, we have to allow our hearts to break for what breaks his.”
Several student leaders also spoke prior to the march, calling for unity, love and faith.
“If we come together as a campus and as a community at large, we can make a huge difference,” said Dinyah Israel, president of The Village. “With the love, care and compassion that is here at Carson-Newman University, we must simply do our part with spreading love as well as educating those around us to become truly a unified body.”
Kirstin Womack, a sophomore Bonner Scholar, urged students present to be a generation who brings growth and change.
“It’s time to start making a difference,” Womack said. “I encourage you to take your hurt, sadness and anger and use it move toward change. If not us, then who’s going to do it? It’s time to grow and come together.”
In June, the Carson-Newman University Community Relations Task Team, led by Gloria Walker, acting vice president for Student Services, announced plans to form the Office of Multicultural Services to promote a welcoming and supportive environment, offering programs, resources and guidance for the campus community in support of those goals. The office opened in September following Caradine’s appointment as director.
“We are standing united as the body of Christ in denouncing discrimination of all forms, racism and all prejudices that seek to divide our campus community,” Walker said prior to Thursday’s march. “We recognize our differences, but we stand together as one as we seek to love one another as Jesus Christ loves us. Our goal, in addition to uniting our campus community, is to remind us that we are all made in the likeness of the Father regardless of race, creed or color.”