The temperature last Monday was a chilly 38 degrees, but the Culp Center’s terrace was full of supporters, news crews, French memorabilia and plenty of coffee and hot chocolate.
The Parisian “je suis en terrasse” (I am on the terrace) movement had found its way to ETSU.
On Nov. 23, the ETSU Société Française hosted a rally displaying solidarity with France and all victims of terror on the Culp Center’s terrace. The event was held to give the community a chance to come together and show their support and respects, but in a more positive manner than a memorial or vigil.
Attendees were also invited to sign their names on posters painted by Katheryn Ross of the Société Française, both painted in red and blue, one with an Eiffel Tower reading “Je suis Paris,” and the other with ETSU’s clock tower, reading “Join us ‘en terrasse.’”
Jenny Salata, a French professor at ETSU, said the turnout to the event was larger than what the French Club organizers had initially anticipated.
“The students of the French Club really took it upon themselves to get this event organized,” Salata said. “We were really excited about the turnout. We had at least 100 people come over the course of just an hour, plus a few local news stations.”
Salata says that this event was modeled after the “en terrasse” movement that has been sweeping Paris ever since the attacks, which happened nearly three weeks ago.
“After the recent attacks, France, and Paris specifically, went into a lockdown state of emergency mode, in which everyone was encouraged to stay inside their homes,” Salata said. “Then, a few days after the initial panic, ‘je suis en terrasse’ started.”
It is very popular in France to drink coffee outside on the terrace of a café. For the French, this became a symbol for the idea of still being able to leave the house again, and not stay inside, living in fear.
“Initially of course, people were staying in for safety, but afterwards it became the conflict that arises after every terrorist attack—‘What freedoms are we going to give up in the name of supposed safety?’” Salata said. “This movement started in order to encourage people to start going about their normal lives.”
Salata said the club received very positive feedback from visitors.
“We’re so happy to have been able to share our message with a lot of different people in the ETSU community,” Salata said.