MAYDAY.US hosted an Anti-Hate Rally on the College Green sponsored by national fraternity Kappa Sigma on Wednesday Dec. 7 to provide a platform for students who have felt marginalized to speak their mind. Communication major junior Jack Killcoyne organized the event with the Geneseo chapter of MAYDAY.US—a crowdfunded Super political action committee whose goal is to end Super PACS. Killcoyne explained that he started this rally in order to have an opportunity for the campus community to come together.
“Once the KKK was written and the swastika with Trump, I think that a lot of people felt isolated on this campus. All of a sudden, America was different,” Killcoyne said. “But what spurred this rally was me wanting to create some sort of a movement where people would be able to come together, speak their mind and be around peers who feel the same way.”
Killcoyne started the rally by having attendees gather in a circle before he spoke with a megaphone about how he felt in the aftermath of the election.
“After Donald Trump was elected president, I cried. And I felt that what I expect of America was no longer as high as it was before,” Killcoyne said. “I lost a lot of respect for this country and that was really hard for me to cope with, and it’s still hard for me to cope with. But I’m really hopeful for the future. I think if we really come together and stand together like we’re doing now then we’re going to prevail.”
After Killcoyne spoke, he invited other attendees to come into the center of the circle and share their stories.
Sociology and geography major senior Andrew Arcese expressed his thoughts at the rally on the recent hateful graffiti that has occurred on college property.
“I’ve realized that hate has come out since the election, and that hate is the symbol of the last breath of an old world that is dying,” he said. “And for that to be true, it’s not because it just happens on it’s own—it happens because of all of us. It happens because of what we do. We need to genuinely express a new world vision. One where racism, homophobia, transphobia, islamophobia and all of the other things that divide us can no longer exist.”
In order to express the vision, Arcese urged participants to write to representatives, to go to protests and to join social justice organizations.
Village of Geneseo Trustee senior Matthew Cook also shared his thoughts at the rally, encouraging attendees to make a difference in their community.
“When you look in the mirror, you’re staring at the most powerful person on the planet,” Cook said. “You as an individual are so much more than you think. And no matter who you are or where you come from, as long as you’re passionate about it and you’re fully invested in it and you go forward with it, no one can tell you what you cannot do.”
Associate Director of the Study Abroad Office Samuel Cardamone commended students at the rally for participating in this event.
“Working at an institution of higher education, I feel so inspired on a daily basis to work with students, to work with colleagues, faculty and staff,” he said. “It’s moments like these where people in education feel like we’re doing the right thing.”
Participants also joined together to sing an abridged version of “We Shall Overcome” and to chant the mantra, “The people united will never be defeated,” during the rally.
Killcoyne ended the rally by advocating that participants become motivators in their community.
“If everyone here is the motivator, then that’s how we’re going to see change,” he said. “So I encourage you guys to keep the high energy you have now and be the motivators.”
President of Black Student Union junior Zakiya Rose hopes this event will encourage individuals to join together on campus.
“Hopefully this event will promote unity and solidarity,” she said. “There’s strength in numbers. The number of marginalized students is pretty small on this campus, so when we have people come together and come out and we grow in numbers, it’s just a beautiful thing and it’ll just continue to grow.”
President Denise Battles said that she believes that the rally was a positive demonstration of diversity on campus.
“I am here because I heard about this event and I wanted to support the students who are organizing it,” she said. “In terms of the administration, we’ve been doing what we believe we can to demonstrate that we care about diversity, equity and inclusion and that we care about a safe, welcoming, respectful community. But it does take a community, and I’m really so deeply appreciative that our students recognize that and are taking action to show their support for Geneseo.”
Editor-in-Chief Emma Bixler contributed reporting to this article.