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BG24 Newscast
September 29, 2023

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BG24 Newscast
September 29, 2023

Civil rights activist visits University

Diane Nash

People were locked out of the multipurpose room Thursday night, as there was a packed house of about 350 people to see civil rights activist Diane Nash speak.

The event was hosted by the ethnic studies department to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington.

“I think it was great, I think students needed to hear what the 60s were like and what they can do in the future,” said Vibha Bhalla, chair of the ethnic studies department.

Nash was a college student in Tennessee when the civil rights movement was going on and told of her activism, the time and her philosophy of “agapic energy,” or “the energy produced by love of humankind,” Nash said.

Agapic energy is a term Nash created to replace non-violent, she said it’s “not just the absence of violence … it’s not passive, it is active.”

It’s based on the idea that people are never the enemy, Nash said. Systems are unjust, but people should be loved and respected.

Nash went through six steps in waging an agapic energy campaign: investigation, education, negotiation, demonstration, and ensurance that the problem doesn’t re-occur.

“In the 1960s, we did not know if agapic energy would work. Now we know it does,” Nash said. “We citizens must take the future of this country into our own hands.”

Nash encouraged students to not wait for politicians to make change, but to do it themselves.

“We need to realize there is not one to solve the problem but you and me,” she said.

Martin Luther King Jr. wasn’t the leader of the movement, he was the spokesperson, she said.

“It was the people’s movement,” Nash said. “People say, ‘I wish we had a great leader’ … [If people knew it was] ordinary people that carried out that movement, then people would look around and say ‘what can I do?’ and that’s the critical question.”

Junior Teajuana Scott came to see Nash speak because her organization, The Black Intellects Group, planned to come together. Scott was one of the only members who got in, due to the amount of people who came.

“I came expecting it to be kind of boring to be honest,” Scott said. “But she had people crying. It was a great event.”

The part Scott reacted to most strongly was when Nash talked about her generation and the generation that is in school now.

“My contemporaries had you in mind when we acted,” Nash said during the event. “I want you to know, though we had not yet met you, we loved you and we took action so you would have the best society we could bring about.”

Scott said this part made her “think about how much they cared about us.”

“It made me feel so much closer to her than I ever thought I would because I don’t know her,” Scott said. “It made me feel loved, honestly, because they were doing all that for us, not just them.”

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