Rise Up Rally celebrates diversity of student body

By JASON NGUYEN | April 19, 2018

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Courtesy of Alyssa Wooden Students gathered on The Beach on Saturday to support causes they are passionate about.

Students gathered on the Beach for the Rise Up rally on Saturday to promote and celebrate diversity in the Hopkins community. The rally was organized by sophomore Karter James Burnett and juniors Lior Levy and Clarissa Chen.

Plans for Rise Up were first conceived in August after the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Va., where white supremacists gathered to protest the removal of a Confederate statue. In response to the events in Charlottesville, Burnett said that he wanted to create a space for Hopkins students to come together and unite for a positive cause.

“It blew my mind that others were scared too. [When] we realized how much of the Hopkins community was going through the same thing, we thought to hold an event to raise hope, health and awareness,” Burnett said. 

At the rally, students had the opportunity to contribute to a collage with causes that they support or want to raise awareness for. Subjects included mental and physical disabilities, LGBTQ rights and systemic racism. The goal was to encourage students to share what they “rise up” for. 

“I rise up for LGBTQIA+ community, black lives and assault victims,” Burnett said. “I want to see less violence against transgender youth and more help in terms of spaces they need.”

For Levy, bringing attention to the challenges that students with disabilities face was a primary goal.

“I want people with disabilities not to be treated differently and to not feel looked down on. I would like to see more wheelchair accessible places on campus,” Levy said. 

The event was organized through social media and word of mouth weeks ahead of time. Burnett emphasized the importance of why the rally was held that particular day.

“It’s taken a long time to getting the right location and in terms of weather. Spring Fair is coming up, and we wanted to hold it before then,” Burnett said. 

Student Government Association Executive President Noh Mebrahtu attended the rally and helped to advertise for the event. He said that although organizers set up a Facebook event page and sent emails, they could have advertised more effectively in order to increase student turnout.

“What we could have done better is instead of targeting the entire student body, we could have targeted student groups on campus and gotten their group members to come,” he said. 

Mebrahtu explained that the event took so long to coordinate because of the registration process at Hopkins and because of weather conditions during the fall semester.

“It was supposed to have happened in the fall semester, but because of the weather we decided to push it up for this time period,” he said. 

Mebrahtu hopes that the Rise Up rally occurs again next year, perhaps with better advertising and student turnout. He thinks that it is important for students to support causes and each other.

“There’s a lot of divisiveness in the country right now. We would like people to come together,” he said. “This was one initiative to try to solve... the apathetic nature that the Hopkins community has.”

Despite these challenges, the Rise Up rally coordinators and volunteers remained optimistic that attendees walked away with awareness and a positive message. 

“I think they’ll feel hope and that they’re not alone. We can all stand together,” Levy said.

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