Indiana State takes great pride in its effort to provide a safe, inclusive community for its students and faculty. However, given the recent national conflict over race, sexual orientation and gender equality, it’s easy for a campus to feel divided. This year, The Division of University Engagement hosted ISUnity, a walk to promote acceptance between all people.
ISUnity took place Aug. 30. The event was co-sponsored by the Charles E. Brown African American Cultural Center, the Office of Multicultural Services and Programs and the ISU Police Department. Over 100 students and staff participated to show support for the event’s mission.
“Now more than ever we need to come together and display a united front,” Jennifer Christian, AmeriCorps program director and alternative breaks coordinator, and Tradara McLaurine, associate director of career services, said in a joint comment.
ISUnity held attendees accountable for ensuring a peaceful and accepting world.
“Attendees will be signing a Unity Pledge as their promise to uphold unity in their future interactions. This pledge will be displayed in the Commons as a reminder of this event and lead up to future events as that will be announced in the future,” Christian and McLaurine said.
While ISU has not had many reports of discrimination in the past year, it’s not that way for the rest of the country.
“Numerous tragic events have happened; Orlando, Fla., Alton Sterling, Philando Castille, and the ambush of numerous police officers have left many with feelings of uncertainty,” said Christian and McLaurine.
Attendees were encouraged to introduce themselves to other people, to make friends, and embrace each other’s differences and similarities. The event received overwhelming emotional support. The significance of the event was not lost on those who walked.
“The goal is to advocate for everyone, and not just people in our own community,” said Shaquille Breeding, a junior occupational safety management major.
Walkers were given commemorative T-shirts for their participation in the event. Christian expressed that the T-shirts weren’t just for exercise or sleeping, and that she hoped that students would wear the shirts as a symbol for their support of racial and cultural harmony. The event is just one facet in ISU’s plan to promote unity.
“We hope to do something like this every semester as we all understand that multiple efforts will need to take place to obtain true unity,” said Christian and McLaurine.