USA Network’s Characters Unite: College Tour, a pro-social campaign encouraging individuals to stand up for all forms of discrimination, visited the McKeldin Mall yesterday, a venue that attracted more than 1300 students.
The campaign featured an area for students to customize T-shirts that read “I Won’t Stand For” with stamps bearing 15 different forms of discrimination, like “Violence,” “Sexism,” and “Racism.”
After receiving their T-shirts, students were encouraged to take a picture in their new activist apparel, or a selfie to post on social media accompanied with #IWontStandFor.
“‘Characters Unite’ is what USA Network created as their anti-discrimination brand and social campaign. It is an offshoot of ‘Characters Welcome,’ the tagline USA Network plays with a lot of their television shows to address their acceptance of characters from all walks of life,” said Chelsea Tracy, associate producer at Hudson Gray, the events production company that coordinated the venue.
The event also featured a visit from Chris Gorham, star of USA Network’s CIA-themed drama “Covert Affairs,” who said he’s been working on the campaign for five years.
“I think that it is incredibly important to help young people to stand up and declare themselves and be public about the things that they believe in,” Gorham said. “Sometimes, handing out free T-shirts can seem like a silly gesture, but there’s no fire without a spark and there’s no journey without that first step.”
Gorham said that having notable figures like himself and other celebrities participate in the campaign, helps bring awareness.
“It helps bring attention because if one of the stars of a USA Network is coming, then it brings media attention that might not otherwise be there,” Gorham said. “It’s a great opportunity for me to be able to meet the fans of ‘Covert Affairs,’ you know, face-to-face and to be able to show my support in a tangible way.”
Danah Bourislee, a freshman international business major, said meeting one of the characters of the show as well as engaging in discussion about important sociopolitical issues, was valuable.
“I’m a huge fan of standing up for racism, discrimination and violence – it’s a great campaign,” Bourislee said. “It gets the word out in a positive way and people are more likely to pay attention if it’s a big TV show or celebrity.”
Gorham, who plays tech operative Auggie Anderson and directs on “Affairs,” said he had never been to the university, but was pleased with his visit.
“I love it. It’s beautiful,” he said. “I went to UCLA. I’m not quite used to all this open space [and] the turnout is great.”
For more information, visit the campaign’s website or follow the movement on Twitter @charactersunite. “Affairs” returns Nov. 6 at 10 p.m.
Editor-in-Chief Iman Smith contributed to this article.
Daphne Pellegrino is a sophomore journalism major and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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