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Event based on Women's March on Washington performance sought to bring people together

Students sing "We Can't Keep Quiet" in the event based on the recent Women's March.
Students sing "We Can't Keep Quiet" in the event based on the recent Women's March.

A choir of students gathered in the Pit Monday afternoon for an event called We Can’t Keep Quiet, which lived up to its title.

The event was inspired by a similar event that occurred at the Women’s March on Washington in January. At the march, a group of marchers sang an a capella version of a song called "Quiet" by the artist MILCK. The song discusses the oppression of women and how they cannot stay silent in the face of such oppression. 

Organizers of the UNC event said they wanted to take that empowering message and extend it to a larger audience.

After attending the march and seeing a video of the performance, junior biology and spanish double major CJ Reuland decided to recreate it with a performance on campus. 

“I just thought that it looked like something I could reproduce in my own way here,” Reuland said. “Including men, including anyone who wanted to, and having it be less of an issue stemming simply from the feminist movement and something more inclusive of a lot of different things that people are worried about nowadays”.

Reuland said the assembled choir of roughly 30 students had the chance to rehearse only once beforehand, but the event went down without any complications.

Senior computer science major Tyler Niggel helped organize the event. Niggel, who is in an a capella group, said he mostly helped out with the musical side of the event, including recruiting students. He said the event was something that he had been waiting for.

“I was looking for an outlet, a way for me to make my voice heard, and seek and kind of demand that representation that people have felt they are not getting from their political representatives," he said. 

To address the latter concern, organizers at the event bought pre-addressed postcards on which students could write messages to the White House, U.S. Sens. Thom Tillis, R-North Carolina, and Richard Burr, R-North Carolina, and UNC-system President Margaret Spellings.

Junior psychology major Catherine Royston put together the postcards. She said she got involved with We Can’t Keep Quiet after she chose to not participate in the Women’s March on Washington and regretted it. 

“My dad was in the military, so he’s always talked to us about our First Amendment rights, and how we should go out and use them because people have died for us to be able to speak freely and peacefully assemble and all those things that our democracy is founded on,” she said. “Now, in this day and age, some aspects of our democracy are being threatened.”

Despite the political nature of the song and of the event itself, Reuland said the event was not intended to be a protest. 

“I wanted to stay away from the negative connotations that have kind of been picked up in the last few months of people protesting things left and right," she said. "I wanted it to be focused more on inclusivity and simply expressing yourself and not protesting anything in particular and anyone in particular."

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