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UConn's first Freedom Rally

By Kathleen McWilliams
On April 20, 2014

Emulating the music festival turned protest, UConn's first Freedom Rally was hosted Saturday afternoon by Students for a Sensible Drug Policy.
Sprawled out on South Quad, the sunshine and fresh air brought out many concertgoers and activists to hear the artists Husky Records had lined up for the afternoon as well as the speakers on the drug war and the student activist groups tabling alongside the stage.
Activists from the Title IX Coalition, formed in support of the UConn students who filed a complaint against the university, took pictures of students for their "I, Too, Am UConn" campaign, aimed to represent diversity on campus. Poetic Release, a slam poetry group that often performs themes of social justice, tabled alongside UConn's chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union and Revolution Against Rape.
Two food trucks were on site, serving hamburgers, fries and Caribbean food. "Munchies," a travelling food truck that serves Southeastern Connecticut and Providence Rhode Island, served made to order burgers, fries and falafel. Jamaica Mi Hungry specialized in serving rices and beans with plantains and other Caribbean cuisine.
As a diversion from the food and music, Wormtown Traders offered a full selection of items for sale including crystals, headbands, jewelry and tapestries. A vendor station next door, Donnelly/Colt Progressive Resources sold a full complement of political posters, bumper stickers and buttons that followed the theme of the Freedom Rally.
Aside from the student activism and delectable food options, the Freedom Rally's main attraction was the Husky Records musicians and guest speakers. New Haven based musician and UConn student Moshood Balogun, known as Mosh, performed a dynamic set of songs. Using just his voice and a guitar, Mosh sang a diverse array of songs that sounded a lot like Ed Sheeran mixed with Pharell. In an edgy twist, a few of his songs had a brief section in the middle where he employed rap to complete his performance.
Rena Surrenders another student band, played edgier music with more metal influences and demonstrated how Husky Records has an artist to please everyone. On the other hand, Brett Steinberg played a set of his own original music that had influences from Coldplay, Keane and the Fray. The diversity of the performances kept the crowd interested and engaged throughout the afternoon.
During a break from the performances, John Dvorak from Cannabis Curriculum spoke to the lack of danger in legalizing use of marijuana for medicinal and recreational purposes.
"This is the first ever Freedom Rally, I'm happy to be here. Why are we here today?" Dvorak said. "Some of us are here because we know that medical marijuana is the safest, most effective medicine known to man. Some of us are here because we love all of those healthy and environmentally friendly products you can make out of industrial hemp."
Dvorak added that the public has been brainwashed by political lies about the potency and criminality of marijuana and that it is, in his opinion, time to act.
"We're making a lot of great progress, 22 states including Connecticut have medical marijuana laws," Dvorak said.
 


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