March aims to educate about discrimination

Students will gather tomorrow at 3:30 p.m. in the Circle of Knowledge to help end the -isms during the seventh annual March of the Isms.

Once everyone has assembled, the march will start and participants will walk down to the Town Square and back to the Circle of Knowledge. After the march, participants will have the opportunity to listen to guest speakers about the issues of the different –isms.

Following the speakers, a concert will commence in the BSC Gallery and free food will be available during both the speeches and concert.

The march was designed to help Simpson College students gain awareness of the issues of racism, sexism, ageism and homophobia. 

“It’s really a celebration of people coming together that we can show our support for the ideals of Martin Luther King, which we believe is to end all kinds of –isms,” Carolyn Dallinger, associate professor of criminal justice and social work, said.

Dallinger also said that the march emphasizes the issues and helps students to realize that they are still prevalent.

“I hope students can see it is as an important time to stand up and put out to the public how important these issues are,” Dallinger said. “These are not just things of the past. We continue to have to work on all kinds of –isms. We have made great strides in certain areas, but there is a long ways to go.”

Walter Lain, assistant dean for multicultural and international affairs, said that the march is a safe environment for students to express themselves.

“The message I’d like to get out to freshmen is to find something that you’re passionate about,” Lain said. “You can join the march to have a voice or to have a role to play, and you get try things out in a relatively safe environment.”

 Bobby Nalean, leadership and service coordinator for the Center for Vocation and Integrative Learning, said that it is an event that is both informative and fun for students.

 “It’s a good way to learn about issues that you may not know about, celebrate diversity in all its forms and bring awareness to destructive nature of discrimination,” Nalean said. “It’s an opportunity to get educated. It’s also an opportunity to have fun with other students and members of the community.”

 Sophomore Sam Gaddis and junior Annie Larson are two student leaders who are working on coordinating the march.

Gaddis said that the march is a good way for students to meet new people and show that they are compassionate to others and to the issues they face.

“It’s neat to way to make connections and meet new people with all the different types of people that we ask to speak,” Gaddis said.  “It’s something you can do to show that you care about others in the world and issues that are happening.”

Larson said that the march is a good way to help get students’ voices heard.

“It’s a way to show that you want to make a difference, and that you want to change things for those people who came before you and didn’t get a chance to voice their opinions,” Larson said.  “It just shows a different part of you.”