By Kaitlyn McCormick
Members from all corners of the Rider community came together once more to celebrate the university’s 25th Annual Unity Day, hosted by the Multicultural Studies Program.
Oct. 10 saw a full agenda of culture, community and diverse conversations at Rider, including panels titled, “Fostering Safe Spaces for Dialogue,” “The Great Undoing: The Backlash Against DEI in Higher Education,” “Reproductive Health in a Post-Dobbs World” and “‘You Ban Books, You Ban Drag’: Censorship and its Consequences.”
Student Government Association President Naa’san Carr spoke on the first panel of the morning, and stressed the importance of having safe places to host productive and diverse conversations.
In an interview with The Rider News, Carr explained the importance of diversity, equity and inclusion in creating these spaces.
“Not only is it important for our student body to be diverse but also our faculty and staff,” Carr said. “When we focus on identity, we focus on diversity, on safe spaces, we’re focusing on the needs of every individual. So, we’re advocating for diversity, equity, inclusion, for justice.”
In the words of Carr, “Unity means love. It means advocacy. It means understanding.”
In Carr’s eyes, events like Unity Day, as well as the specific panel that he served on, are so important because they allow topics like DEI to continue to be a central focus at Rider.
“We’re seeing each other, we’re hearing each other, and justice prevails,” Carr said.
English professor Vincent Toro delivered the keynote speech for the evening, which he joked was more of a “keynote performance,” dispersing conversations and anecdotes between six original poems.
Toro, an award-winning Puerto Rican poet, published author and playwright, performed work that dealt directly with themes intersecting diversity, culture, privilege and identity.
News Editor Jay Roberson, Features and Entertainment Editor Tristan E.M. Leach and Social Media Editor Kaitlyn Seawood spoke on a 2023 Unity Day Panel. Roberson, Leach and Seawood had no part in the writing or editing of this story.