Lovers & Fighters In America: Students Honor the Unsung Heroes of University Campuses Across the US

Febin Bellamy is the founder of Unsung Heroes.

The Lovers & Fighters of America is a weekly column here at Ravishly featuring behind-the-scenes stories of inspirational people taking a stance against hate.


Founded in April of 2016, by Georgetown University student Febin Bellamy, Unsung Heroes is a growing student-lead movement. With the use of social media, and a strong focus on human connection, Unsung Heroes aims to bring recognition and appreciation to behind-the-scenes employees (like the janitors, bus drivers, and kitchen staff) who work around the clock to make the university campus a safe, healthy, and fully functional environment for students to study and socialize.

The Unsung Heroes movement is closing the gap between the, often overlooked, employees and the students at the university.

They’re encouraging students to stop and chat with the workers they see each day, and to maybe bring them a coffee once in a while. Bellamy believes such simple acts can truly make a difference. He told Ravishly: “Some workers say that their most memorable moment of working at Georgetown, is when a student did a random act of kindness for them – like buying them a cup of coffee after a long night of cleaning our bathrooms, offices, and classrooms. What if we encouraged students to do things like that on a weekly basis? It would mean the world to some of these workers. Sometimes the little things are what really matter.”
 
Not only are the students, behind Unsung Heroes, hoping to encourage random acts of kindness, they have also made it their mission to bring these individuals out from the shadows and into the well-deserved, spotlight. They have taken some inspiration from the Humans of New York, in their approach, and have interviewed, photographed, and featured over 100 heroes, so far. The response has been extremely positive and many people, from around the globe, have reached out to let Unsung Heroes know, they have been inspired! Bellamy told Ravishly: “We’ve received hundreds of positive and uplifting messages from people all over the world who felt inspired by our movement and shared their own stories about how they recognize unsung heroes in their lives.”

Febin Bellamy is building something uniquely positive; something that breaks down barriers and helps people unite. He acknowledges the need for movements like his, especially in the current political climate.

Febin Bellamy and two of Georgetown University’s Unsung Heroes at an on-campus TED Talk.

The students behind the Unsung Heroes movement are also helping fulfill the wishes and dreams of their on-campus heroes. Recently surprised, dining hall worker, Umberto Ripai Suru. The staff and students fundraised over $6,000 to send him to South Sudan to visit family, after 45 years of separation. Bellamy was reflective on what joint efforts, such as these, mean for the community. He told Ravishly: “We are unifying people from different walks of life for the first time, and inspiring people to realize that we are more alike than different. By working with administrators, students, professors, alumni and the workers on college campuses, and encouraging others to get to know those around us, we are able to bring the university community together.”  
 
And it looks like other universities, across the US, have been inspired and are now planning to follow in Georgetown’s footsteps. According to Bellamy, they have been contacted by over 40 universities looking to start up a chapter of Unsung Heroes. The first wave of universities confirmed to launch in February 2017, are Howard University, Columbia University, Notre Dame, University of Maryland – College Park, Syracuse University, UCLA, Harvard University, New York University, UNC Chapel Hill, Washington University in St. Louis. Bellamy says they will be working with the new Unsung Heroes chapters. He told Ravishly: “We will start highlighting the unsung heroes at these schools and will do more projects to give back to the workers for all of their amazing contributions to our community!”
 
Febin Bellamy is building something uniquely positive; something that breaks down barriers and helps people unite. He acknowledges the need for movements like his, especially in the current political climate. He told Ravishly that their work is: “…urgent and important because this is the kind of message that we hope will restore hope in humanity, especially with all of the tension during the election season.”

And we, at Ravishly, couldn’t agree more! This is why Febin Bellamy is this week’s inspirational Lover & Fighter.   

For more information, or to get in touch with Febin Bellamy and his Georgetown team, go to Unsung Heroes FB.
 
And, by the way, the idea for Unsung Heroes, began with a simple “hello.”  Watch this Upworthy video to see what happened when Bellamy stopped, on his way to class, to say, “hi” to maintenance worker, Oneil Batchelor.


If you know an inspirational Lover & Fighter whom you’d like to see featured on Ravishly, send a message to Shannon Day, via Facebook.

Lovers & Fighters say "hell no" to racism, sexism, bigotry, and xenophobia. These men, women, and children are saying "heck yes" to equality, human decency, and love. From bold acts of advocacy to simple moments of goodness, these everyday people remind us of what it truly means to be American.

These lovers and fighters are resistant in the face of intolerance. They are bold in the presence of judgment. They are determined to join forces (or to stand proudly alone) to ensure their message is heard: #LoveTrumpsHate.

 

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