by Kirsten “Sally” Bunner
On April 28th, students and alumni from REInvestment hosted the 3rd annual Social Justice Carnival. This carnival was originally the brainchild of two of our previous members, Alex Morrone and Anna Seifert. Their idea was to bring together groups of students at Earlham working on various social justice issues. The first carnival took place in April of 2013 and we have continued to host this carnival each spring. This year we had a great turnout of campaigns and student groups. Among those present were the Students for Peace and Justice in Palestine, the Boycott Divestment Sanctions campaign, Black Ladies United and Earlham, Students for a Free Tibet, Spectrum, Sociedad de Estudiantes Latinos, and The Earlham School of Religion. We also were provided with music by the local radio station at Earlham, WECI, and the Rose City Coffee Co-op provided free iced tea for the event.
The event featured a number of carnival games to engage students and passers by in order to start dialogue about our various campaigns and to simply have fun on a sunny, April afternoon. REInvestment’s carnival game, created by the lovely Jocelyn Sawyer, was an obstacle course in “Campaign Planning 101”. The course was both physical and symbolic, requiring first that participants “jump through the hoops” of starting a campaign by hopping through hula hoops placed on the ground. Then, participants were “caught in the red tape of bureaucracy” and had to tie a red piece of cloth around their ankles while hopping across a shadowed area, the “shadows of the future of the campaign.” They then had to jump rope with an awkward rope that symbolized the feeling of standing in place that occurs during the campaign. Following this, the participants had to skateboard around a portion of the heart, balancing their lives, campaign planning, school work, etc. Their final task was to “battle administrators at the negotiating table” by engaging in jousting/sword play with one of our volunteers. While the messaging behind our carnival game may have been a little dark, participants enjoyed themselves and raced against friends to see who could get the best time through the obstacle course.
Overall, the event was well-attended, and the best part for me was feeling a sense of community with the various student groups that chose to represent themselves at the carnival. We all work on different but extremely important and heavy issues. Sometimes it’s a good idea to play some games and relax in the sun, recognizing the hard work we’ve done for the year and the connections we share in our desire for justice.
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