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More than 400 members of the Volunteer community turned out Friday afternoon to plaster a rainbow of handprints on the Rock as a show of unity and a stand against racism and hate.

United at the Rock Against Racism was organized by the Campus Ministers Council in collaboration with the Student Government Association and the Faculty Senate.

The 3:30 p.m. celebration drew students, faculty, staff, and friends of the university.

At the 5:30 p.m. candlelight ceremony, small white candles placed on the spine of the Rock were lit. The gathered crowd also lit handheld candles and together read a statement of intent, hope, and action:

As our community comes together, we ask:

  • That we may stand together in meaningful unity, where differences are not erased or ignored, but appreciated;
  • That we may bear the torch, that in the midst of darkness, we may see light in each other;
  • That where there is despair, we may bring hope and encouragement;
  • That where there is pain and sorrow, we may bring healing;
  • That we may be strengthened to serve, unasked and regardless of recognition;
  • That we will use words—spoken, written, typed, or painted—to heal and not to harm;
  • That we will love our neighbors, especially those singled out by anyone for poor treatment;
  • That we will love our enemies, working for their healing while insisting on just treatment for all;
  • That our words tonight will become action.

The group then concluded by singing “Draw the Circle Wide” by Mark Miller and Gordon Light.