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Solidarity Against Hatred Rally

Carlos Mejia '08

November 29, 2006

It was not an easy step for me to come to Dartmouth College.  I was a young man from Southern California; Dartmouth was in Northern New England.  I could not have picked a place farther from home to go to college.

But when I visited Dartmouth, I felt a sense of community that drew me here.  I saw it in the students playing Frisbee on the Green.  I saw it in those having a discussion on the Collis porch.  I sensed it as I looked at Baker Tower; I felt it as I walked through Dartmouth Hall.  It was this spirit that drew many of us here-Dartmouth College is a united community.

Over the past few months, a number of events have challenged that sense of community.  Our classmates have been attacked; our friends have been degraded.  And sadly, these events are not new: Dartmouth College has had many of these tragic events for as long as it has been a college.  We cannot forget these events, for to do so is to lose a piece of ourselves.

But accepting and acknowledging our past does not mean we allow it to become our present or our future.  And as we stand here today, with so many of us drawn together, it is clear that we will reject this hatred.  We will stand as a community build on respect and driven by unity.

Twenty-four hours ago, no one foresaw that this event would happen-it had not even been a thought.  Today, this is a show of our strength and solidarity.  Today will be remembered as the day that Dartmouth College stood together and said in one loud voice: when some of us are attacked, all of us are attacked.  When some of us are degraded, all of us are degraded.  We stand in unity and respect and we reject hatred and prejudice.

As I look out and see so many old faces and new faces here together, I am reminded of the old protest chant used by the United Farm Workers during their struggles in my home state, a cause that my grandparents and parents protested for and rallied for.  And that chant was: "El pueblo unido jamás será vencido."  "The village united will never be defeated.  We are united and our community will not be defeated.

And to those who seek to disrupt and destroy this community, we say this: the powerful forces of respect will always defeat the petty forces of immaturity.  The power of a united community will always triumph over those who seek to disrupt it.  We are a united community.

Let that be our message here today.  Let that be our legacy for years to come.  Thank you all for taking part in this important event.

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