Students host Day of Dedication rally

On the afternoon of Nov. 18, people from all walks of life gathered just outside of Louisville’s Metro Hall to celebrate Day of Dedication. The sprinkling rain and cloudy weather didn’t stop the winds of change from lifting the spirits of those in attendance.

The rally, organized by Manual junior Destine Grigsby (11, YPAS), was in response to the withdrawal from the Paris Climate Agreement.

“The Day of Dedication Rally was in opposition to the United Nations meeting where Rex Tillerson, Scott Pruitt and Donald Trump tried to pull out of the Paris Climate Agreement,” Grigsby said. “We’re protesting against that but I wanted to use this opportunity to stand in solidarity with other movements and to promote a platform for the youth of Louisville.”

Representatives from clubs around Manual spoke about youth advocacy as well as many issues that are underrepresented and marginalized by people in power.

Roxana Castillo Rivas (11, VA) spoke about the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).

Eli Pajo (11, J&C) discussed the rights of those in the LGBT+ community.

“Progress comes when attitudes change and attitudes change when people do, so let’s change things,” Pajo said. “Let’s tell the truth.”

Audrey Champelli (11, J&C) recollected her work in the Hillary Clinton campaign office and its relationship to the microaggression towards women in the political sphere.

“A lot of my passion for women’s rights comes from my experience with sexism during middle school […] and dealing with ignorance from students and teachers alike,” Champelii said. “And then my experiences working in the campaign office last year really solidified in my mind the long term consequences of letting that ignorance go uncorrected.”

Nadeen Alamadi (10, J&C) and Angelina Atieh (10, MST), both members of the Muslim Youth of Leadership club at Manual, spoke about xenophobia and stereotypes as it relates to Muslims.

Member of Manual’s Black Student Union (BSU) Sydney Finley (11, HSU) sang the black national anthem, Rise Up and This Land is My Land.

Along with students from Manual, Louisville attorney Ryan Fenwick spoke about climate change and sustainability, which will both be major platforms in his race against Mayor Greg Fischer in the May 2018 democratic primary.

Following the speeches, attendees walked across the street to Jefferson Square Park to march and chant.

Signs in hand, attendees marched together and chanted, “this is what democracy looks like.” Photo by Piper Hansen.

Manual students hosted the event but  the audience was full of other members of the Louisville youth. 

“I liked the emphasis on the importance of youth voice, it was very inspiring,” Leigh Brown, sophomore at the Brown School said.

At the end of the rally, students held hands and agreed to continue to speak out for intersectionality.

“There’s not really anyone in the cabinet rooting for us anymore, so we have to be each other’s advocates,” Champelli said. “There really is strength in numbers. Even though the issues I’m facing aren’ entirely congruent to the issues of latino youth doesn’t mean that we can’t or shouldn’t share resources and advocate for each other.”

Host and volunteers of the event asked attendees to use the hashtag, #ForOurFuture, to promote youth empowerment.

“Anyone can host a rally and show people that we, as young people, we are willing and able to change the future of Kentucky,” Grigsby said.

 

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