Quad gathering unifies community following contentious election

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Photos by Matt Hembree (C’20)

Robert Beeland

Executive Editor

On Wednesday, September 9, students, faculty, and community members gathered in the Quad for discussion following the presidential election. Organized by Gabby Valentine (C’17), Armonté Butler (C’17), and Eliana Perozo (C’18), the event brought together a variety of people with opinions across the political spectrum.

Valentine welcomed those who had gathered and asked for “an environment of support and respect.” After Valentine’s introduction and a moment of silence lead by Perozo, Sewanee Praise performed the song “Hallelujah, Salvation, and Glory.”

The performance was followed by a guided discussion with questions provided by Valentine, Butler, and Perozo. The larger group split into pairs for conversation about the election, President-elect Donald Trump, and the political climate in Sewanee. “It’s a lot of responsibility and I don’t know if [Trump] ready for that. But, I feel really hopeful. I thought this event would be really small, but there’s a really good turnout. And both sides, both parties are here, so I think that’s really great,” said Nikki Cox (C’17).

While the event was expressly “A Night of Healing” in response to the election, much discussion centered around how the Sewanee community could move forward. “We all have reasons that we’re so passionate about this, and there are ways for us to keep that momentum going throughout the year, throughout the next four years, throughout the rest of our lives… We pride ourselves in our community. The best way to move forward is to improve our community,” said Valentine.

Valentine, Butler, and Perozo invited those who gathered to be notified of future events for community action in Sewanee, and the event concluded with words of optimism and inspiration. Chandler Davenport (C’19), remarked, “In light of the election, there’s a lot of different views and opinions out there that can easily divide even a place like Sewanee. And, being in this community, we have to look out for each other… we need to be comfortable having uncomfortable conversations, because change is not comfortable, but it is necessary. And this is a time now, more than ever, that we have to realize that and be okay with that.”