In a world filled with hate, unjustness, and negativity, it is easier to see the darker side of humanity; however, one ATU junior Eric Givens is letting the light in. Advocating for peace, Givens stood on a busy Russellville intersection, holding a sign that stated ‘Love One Another’ with John 13:34-35 underneath.
“I felt like now was the most important time to do it. Anger and resentment seem to be at an all-time high. No one knows how to forgive or love anyone anymore. People needed it, and I needed it,” Givens said.
Givens is from Sherwood, Arkansas, and is majoring in rehabilitation science, focusing on child welfare and social services. He has always wanted to help others and loves working with children.
Givens was raised by his mother and wants to be a role model for others. “I know that not a lot of children, males specifically, are fortunate enough to grow around other family members to help raise them as I did. If I can be the best version of me to help someone find joy in their life, then I feel like my purpose is done,” he said.
Givens believes the trials and tribulations he has faced helped shape him into the person he is today. “I understand that we may never defeat racism or the many other things wrong with this world if we do not confront the root of the problem,” Givens said.
He wants the world to have mercy, forgiveness, and healing in peoples’ hearts. Givens wanted to show people that there was still hope to be found even in dark times.
“My favorite part about standing there with the sign had to be getting waves from children. Whatever they see, they imitate. That is how they learn. So, when they see ‘love one another,’ I hope they do just that. It starts with our youth. If we want to treat each other better, we have to instill it in our youth early.”
He realizes that, “we [society] will never be perfect. There is nothing we can do to bring ourselves to perfection,” however he wants to be an activist for change. Almost 20 people joined him on the various days he was out there, holding their own signs of positivity.
Givens personally felt him being a Christian and African American; he needed to speak out against negativity. “Before anything, I am a Christian first, so whatever I chose to do, I know that I needed to show Jesus Christ’s love, and I hold onto it in hopes that others may cling too. People needed to be shown love, true love. My motivation behind doing it was to show people where I look to find this love,” he said.
His influences are his friends here at ATU that attend Wesley Foundation and others back home who have motivated him to share his faith boldly. He does not have plans to have another street gathering however, he is open to the idea.