Photo Gallery: Utica’s Unity March brings local community together

Alexandria Leland, Staff Photographer

On April 21, Utica University and the Utica DEI Community Partnership held a March for Unity in the city of Utica. Members of the community united and assembled at Mohawk Valley Community Action Agency and walked toward City Hall. 

The Unity March was held to recognize an event that happened 31 years ago to students of color at Utica University who were attacked with malicious letters. In response, students, faculty and staff came together to take a stand against dehumanization and injustice with a symbolic form of protest, a march.

Around 50 people participated in last week’s 0.6 mile march, led by Vice President for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Anthony Baird.

“U-N-I-T-Y!” chanted Baird and the participants along the route.

When they arrived at Utica City Hall, participants and attendees mingled and listened to guest speakers with City Hall, the under-construction Wynn Hospital and the Tower of Hope standing as the event’s backdrop. 

Community leaders spoke at City Hall at 6:30 p.m., covering various topics of justice, humanity and giving voice to the voiceless.

According to Utica University’s website, the list of guests at the event included:

  • Robert Palmieri, Mayor of the City of Utica

  • Reverend Sharon Baugh, Pastor at Hope Chapel AME Zion Church & President of the Utica/Oneida Chapter of the NAACP

  • Evon Ervin, Oneida County Legislator D-20

  • Jawwaad Rasheed, Chair of the Community Foundation of Herkimer & Oneida Counties Board of Trustees / Retired Oneida County Family Court Support Magistrate

  • Dr. Tod Laursen, President of SUNY Polytechnic Institute

  • Dr. Randy VanWagoner, President of Mohawk Valley Community College

  • Dr. Laura Casamento, President of Utica University

  • Dr. Clem Harris, Associate Professor of History at Utica University

Casamento said this event was just the beginning of the area’s dedication to diversity and inclusion.

“We march today for our steadfast commitment,” Casamento said.