Ask. Communicate. Teach Tolerance. (A.C.T.) is a group of students who strive to create a more inclusive and safer campus environment for all Shippensburg University students.
They work with other student groups and offices to engage the campus community and work toward solutions to problems that plague the campus.
The group holds a rally annually, typically in mid-September. However, this year’s event is taking place days after the use of a racial slur against a student in an on-campus residence hall.
The A.C.T. Call to Solidarity Rally is Thursday at 7:30 p.m. at the Hockey Rink and Rec Fields.
Ramses Ovalles, A.C.T. member, said the A.C.T. committee is a diverse group of students who are fighting for justice and equality.
Another member, Katherine Hargrove, said the students focus on long-term problems that impact all communities.
“These issues haven't disappeared. They have not and shouldn’t be swept under the rug just because people have chosen to forget about them. Many people don't have the privilege to forget or ignore,” Hargrove said. “So we as a committee and a community recognize that these are ongoing issues that we continent to work to change.”
Group member Leah Mottershead said she and her peers work to communicate the values the SU community should hold.
“We want everybody to have a clear understanding of where Shippensburg wants to go and what values we hold, as well as letting people know that Shippensburg University doesn’t accept these kinds of actions.”
Hargrove added, “We are here to speak up.”
Student Quamia Wells said she wants to make sure their voices are heard.
“We want the university to know our voices matter and what we say matters,” Wells said.
Following the death of George Floyd and the protests across the country, the A.C.T. Committee put together town halls to discuss what was going on.
“Students were concerned and scared. They wanted to know that people will support and protect them on-campus,” Ovalles said.
The Rev. Diane Jefferson, who is the director of the Office of Multicultural Student Affairs, shared a saying that hangs on the wall in their office in Gilbert Hall.
“It’s not a Black thing. It’s not a white thing. It’s not a LGBTQ thing. It’s a human thing.”
“That’s what A.C.T. is trying to say to the campus. It’s a human thing,” Jefferson said.
Mottershead added that due to COVID-19 coronavirus gathering restrictions, the event can only have 250 people.
“We want to see 250 people with their masks on,” Mottershead said. “This is our job to step up and make a change.”