Taking a stand: Marching to end the ‘Isms’

by Sarah KellerStaff Writer

The annual End the “Isms” march took place on Friday March 28, 2008 at 3:30 p.m. marking the fifth year of the walk.

The first year the march was held, there were 90 participants. Involvement has continued to grow yearly, with 400 in attendance last year. This year, over 200 people were in attendance.

The walk was started in 2004 by alumna Bobby Nalean, AmeriCorps*VISTA volunteer, and his classmate, alum Omar Padilla. The two, worked closely with Walter Lain, assistant dean for multicultural and international affairs, and Carolyn Dallinger, assistant professor of social work and criminal justice.

The walk was created after Nalean and Padilla became involved in the “Martin Luther King Jr. Ounce of Doing Project” on Simpson’s campus in 2004, their freshman year at Simpson.

The “Ounce of Doing” project is a competition where different groups with various concentrations all related to peace and justice have to create a project proposal and the group with the best proposal received funding to move forward with their project.

According to Nalean, his group signed up for the discrimination group, made their proposal and were granted the money to start the walk.

“Omar, Walter, Carolyn and I all signed up for the discrimination group and made our proposal to do a march and rally in celebration of diversity,” Nalean said. “Being involved with the march helped me discover my passion for social justice.”

According to Lain, the march was created from the vision of Martin Luther King Jr., for people to come together to serve others, to share their different beliefs with one another and to accept of each other.

“The idea of the march is one of tolerance, to show the diversity of our community and campus, to listen to what others are saying and to engage in dialogue with people who may come from different backgrounds,” Lain said. “We try to encourage people who have differences to celebrate their differences because often times people, who are perceived as somehow different, either in their sexual orientation or viewpoints, were not given an opportunity to share that view point, so we seek to try and find it.”

According to junior Andrew Reid, president of the Multicultural Student Alliance, there are still “isms” out there that need to be recognized.

“The march is about the Simpson community coming together and recognizing that things still happen,” Reid said. [It is] “To recognize that there are isms–sexism, racism. It is a factor in the world and it’s nice to see that other people care about these issues.”

Reid has been very involved in organizing the walk this year. According to Reid, the walk has not been led by just one group in particular, but instead it is a time for people from various groups to come together and march for a cause.

There are various organizations on campus that have discussed topics the march addresses, but the event is a time for all students to come together and take a stand.

“In one voice and in one stance we will come together and say we are going to come together in a community and we’re not going to stand for this,” Reid said.

According to Nalean, the march is about the dream to end the prejudice in the world, and just to come together as an accepting community.

“I think the march is a celebration of human diversity and a public denouncement of the many negative forms of discrimination, including racism, sexism, homophobia, ageism, classism, etc,” Nalean said. “Immigration and homelessness are also key issues which are typically discussed at the march. The march is about social justice, peace and togetherness.”

“Our hope is that the “Living the Dream” march and rally has inspired people to make a difference in their communities and to take action and speak out against injustice,” Nalean said.