Rallying cries continued on Saturday at the College of Charleston in the fifth protest held at the school in a week's time.
A mix of students, faculty and community members comprised the 200 people who gathered at the school's Cistern Yard to express their outrage at proposed budget cuts to the College of Charleston and USC Upstate.
The state schools were targeted for the cuts for assigning books with homosexual themes as freshmen reading assignments.
A few attendees took the opportunity to denounce the recent hiring of Lt. Gov. Glenn McConnell as the school's next president. Though the day's focus always returned to the issue of equality.
Chants such as "Cut the cuts," and "We all count, we will not be erased," echoed from the yard in the hour-long protest.
One protester carried a sign that read "No more legislated homophobia." Another said "Keep your laws off my stories."
The protest featured a number of speakers, including Ade Ofunniyin, a Women and Gender Studies professor at the college.
"Our stories, our voices, our lives, our legacies, we will not be erased," Ofunniyin said, drawing cheers from the crowd. "Do not be discouraged. Do not allow your voices to be silenced. ... You are more powerful than you know, individually and certainly collectively. Do not give up. You are exemplifying true leadership to those around you. We thank you and we stand with you."
Saturday's protest was hosted by Southerners on New Ground, or SONG, an advocacy group for LGBTQ people. Other supporters included the college's Women's and Gender Studies Department and the South Carolina Gay Straight Alliance Network.
SONG Field Organizer and College of Charleston alum Jenna Lyles served as the event's emcee.
"We're standing on historic ground here, both literally and figuratively. We as LGBTQ South Carolinians have a responsibility to those who came before us and to those who will come after us," Lyles said. "We must change this state to a place where everyone can live with dignity. A place where everyone can have their full humanity not just respected, but cherished."
Reach Christina Elmore at 937-5908 or at Twitter.com/celmorePC.
College of Charleston professor Ade Ofunniyin (right) and Girls Rock Charleston founder Gracie Aghapour, 25, stand shoulder to shoulder at the school's Cistern Yard while a group of protesters sing "We shall not be moved" on March 29, 2014. (Christina Elmore/Staff).×
Speakers Bri Sanders and Ade Ofunniyin embrace while Southerners on New Ground Field Organizer Jenna Lyles leads a crowd of 200 in a rally against proposed budget cuts to the College of Charleston on March 29, 2014. (Christina Elmore/Staff).×
College of Charleston junior Chase Hawes, 20, shares his support of the graphic novel "Fun Home," an illustrated memoir by Alison Bechdel, on March 29, 2014. The school was targeted for proposed budget cuts after selecting the book, which contained homosexual themes, as required reading for incoming freshmen. (Christina Elmore/Staff).×
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