Campus to ‘take stand against racism’

Bradie Gray

Racism harms everyone.

At least that’s what Jay Dickerson, Melissa Russell and participants in the Center for Social Justice Education and the YWCA said.

To get the point across, the group is planning the 3rd annual Take a Stand Against Racism rally, scheduled for 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Thursday in the University Center Amphitheater outside of the University Center.

Dickerson, the director of the Center for Social Justice Education, said he wants everyone represented and to feel like they can be a part of the rally.

Mayor Lloyd Winnecke; Robert Dion, chair of the Human Relations Commission; Danyelle Granger, president of the YWCA board of directors; and the Rev. Gerald Arnold, president of the Evansville NAACP, will all be in attendance.

Dickerson said it is never difficult to get community leaders involved in the event.

“You never know, especially in smaller areas, how these types of issues will be received and how the message will be taken,” he said. “Evansville has embraced it whole-heartedly and I think that we can see that through all of the different participants, and hopefully through the various people who will be attending the rally.”

Some USI faculty members will speak during the event.

Angela Batista, Marcus Wicker, Jason Miner and Dickerson will all comment on racism and biases.

Local musician Monte Skeleton will perform during the rally and students from Joshua Academy will present statistics.

“It’s pretty cool to see the mayor and to hear the different community leaders speak but I think this year, one of the things I’m most looking forward to is hearing the students from Joshua Academy and bringing in that new generation of faces and introducing them to concepts such as social justice and how to stand up and have your voices heard,” Dickerson said.

Melissa Russell, a student intern at the Center for Social Justice Education, has been working closely with Dickerson to plan the rally.

The senior social work major said this will be her first year attending the event.

“I see it being just a group of people coming together for one cause to spread awareness about racism and biases and how we can make things better and make the community better,” she said.

Russell said this rally is something that needs to happen in Evansville.

“Everybody has their biases, we just need to all be aware of them and really try to control them,” she said. “Equality is big. It’s big in Evansville and it’s big everywhere. It’s very important for everyone to be aware and include everybody.”

Dickerson also said he believes this event will be good for the community.

“I think this is an issue that has to be addressed nation-wide,” he said. “We look at the events that have happened in New York; we look at Ferguson; we look at the news almost every night and we see incidents of racism and bias and what the affects of stereotypes can do, and I think that America is better than that.”

The rally is free and open to the public.