Video by Anthony Merriweather / Contributing Writer
Photos and story by Andrew Wigdor / News Editor
Hundreds of students, faculty and staff members gathered throughout the Middle Tennessee State University campus Monday to display an act of unity by clasping hands and creating a massive human chain, which spread from one side of the 500-acre campus to the other.
The event, titled “Hands Across MTSU,” allowed participants to check in at one of four tents, which were located at the Student Union, the Quad, Keathley University Center and Peck Hall. Participants were given a free Hands Across MTSU T-shirt when they visited the tents. After check-in, the diverse crowd of MTSU representatives gathered on the sidewalks throughout campus and linked hands. The unity demonstration came about one week after white nationalist organizations were to gather in Shelbyville and Murfreesboro. The Murfreesboro rally was eventually canceled, but many on the MTSU campus feel that it is still important to display that the community can be unified against white nationalist ideals.
“I think (the white nationalist rallies) have caused us to realize the importance of coming together and fighting against that sort of thing,” said David Wood, an MTSU finance professor who was a part of the human chain. “I think that we have become complacent, and we need to realize that if we sit around and do nothing, that they are going to be evil.”
The event, which was sponsored by the Student Government Association and the MTSU Intercultural and Diversity Affairs Advisory Board, was not directly organized in response to the rallies but acted as a show of peace and love for the entire community to see.
“I really feel as though this is a fellowship with the community and MTSU, itself, and it’s bringing us closer together, as people,” said Bruce Good Jr., an MTSU sophomore and public relations major. “To be together as one and to be supportive of one decision is very important. We need to come together because everybody needs somebody. Everybody needs support and a foundation.”
By the end of the event, the human chain stretched from the James Union Building to Student Union Building, which are two buildings that stand on opposite sides of the campus.
“I think with all of the negativity that exists in the world right now, this is just a great opportunity for the MTSU community to show that we love our students, our community and diversity,” said Lisa Schrader, the director of MTSU Health Promotion. “This is just a very physical way to show that support for humanity.”
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