I Am Human to promote peace, inclusiveness

Courtesy Photo / Molly Barnard
Molly Barnard with members of Amnesty International

Courtesy Photo / Molly Barnard Molly Barnard with members of Amnesty International

Samantha Butcher

The Grand River Room in Kirkhof Center will transform Thursday night into a celebration of humanity, peace and inclusiveness.

The event, I Am Human, aims to bring attention to the similarities that bind people together instead of the differences that draw them apart.

“I Am Human is about bringing awareness to the similarities of the human race and promoting the inclusion of all people on campus, in our community and around the world,” said Molly Barnard, organizer of the event, president of the Grand Valley State University chapter of Amnesty International and a resident assistant in Niemeyer Living Center.

I Am Human will run from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.

During the first hour, student organizations will perform, art by GVSU students and alumni will be on display and tables will offer displays about various service and advocacy groups.

At 8 p.m., Fr. Peter Dougherty will speak on his “Blueprint for a Nonviolent World.” Dougherty is a co-founder of the Michigan Peace Team and has received both the International Peace Award and the International Ghandi Award. According to the Michigan Peace Team website, Dougherty worked as a civilian peacemaker for more than 30 years.

A brief question and answer session will follow Dougherty’s speech.

“I heard Dougherty speak at an event this summer and immediately fell in love with his message,” Barnard said. “He told me that his speech for this event speaks out of the interconnectedness of all things and offers concrete options on what is the most earth-friendly, humanized world that we can create.”

Barnard said the event not only corresponded with her goals as president of the GVSU chapter of Amnesty International, but also as an R.A.

“As an R.A., my job is to promote an inclusive and safe environment as well as create a memorable experience for my residents while in college,” she said.

Barnard said she hopes the event will promote an “equal, inclusive, and peaceful world.”

Andrea Blanchard, a Niemeyer R.A. who is co-sponsoring the event, said the event promotes diversity and inclusion at GVSU.

“I Am Human matches well with our learning outcomes as an R.A. because it touches on diversity, which is one of our main learning objectives,” she said. “It’s important to promote diversity on campus because we want everyone to feel included and feel safe on campus, and that’s what this program aims to do. We want to show that our differences are minor compared to our similarities.”

I Am Human is LIB 100 approved.

“We are all humans, and as humans we need to recognize that our similarities vastly outweigh our differences,” Barnard said. “I think that students need to realize that our generation is the future and it will be Grand Valley students changing the world in the next few decades.”

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