Raising our Voices in Harmony Vigil at Centre College.


Raising our Voices in Harmony Vigil at Centre College.


2016 Election


Members of the Centre College Community came together for a ceremony that celebrated diversity and inclusion. Readings and prayers from different faiths were read and a read and respond exercise performed by participants. This vigil was in direct response to the 2016 election and a time to promote Centre's dedication to promoting and supporting diversity and inclusion across campus.


November 29, 2016


Professor Rick Axtell gave the following Opening and Closing Response at the vigil service on November 29, 2016 at 4pm. The vigil was held in response to the recent, and divisive, political election.
We gather today in a time of division—in our world, in our nation, and in our community.
It’s not the first time we’ve been deeply divided as a nation, but this is another one of those moments to remind ourselves of the deeper values that unite us, and that’s what we hope to do today.
Today’s gathering is not an attempt to gloss over our differences or to pretend they don’t exist. In a democracy, and in a community of scholars, we debate vigorously because the issues at stake matter; because the positions we take might affect millions of human beings; because we care. Far from avoiding difficult conversations because they make us uncomfortable, Centre must be that space where we can honestly debate the things that matter, and argue about them; where we test arguments, and listen with openness even to those with whom we disagree, and then craft creative solutions to the problems that matter to us. We can do it differently here.
So today, we assemble to affirm that we intend to have debates about things that matter with civility, and respect for difference; that we want to open ourselves to one another, to learn from one another, even to know one another’s pain, and to grow from knowing the experience of another that we could not know apart from our rich and endlessly fascinating diversity.
…And we gather to affirm that this will be a safe space for that kind of difference and exploration and growth.
So welcome, and thank you for being here because you care about things that matter. We begin by joining in a litany of challenge and hope.
I close with three quotes that call us to citizenship, because Centre’s mission to prepare ourselves for lives of learning, leadership and service is essentially about engaged citizenship:
Einstein: “The world is a dangerous place, not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don’t do anything about it.
Margaret Mead: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed it is the only thing that ever has.”
And Gandhi reminds us to “be the change you want to see in the world.”


“Raising our Voices in Harmony Vigil at Centre College. ,” Centre Now, accessed January 18, 2019, https://centrenow.omeka.net/items/show/5.

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