Take back the night…

by Desiree JacksonStaff Writer

The fourth-annual “Living the Dream” march and rally “to end the ‘Isms'” to celebrate diversity is taking place March 30, beginning in the Circle of Knowledge and ending in the Indianola Square.

“We want to show more people the beauty and benefits of diversity,” senior Omar Padilla said. “I hope people are able to see the importance of this event. Part of our mission is to make Simpson a welcoming place for all kinds of people.”

Speakers and live music will be part of the experience of “Living the Dream.” Students, faculty and community leaders from Indianola and Des Moines will speak at the event on a variety of subjects. Local businesses donate food for the event as well.

The first year the march began, around 80 people attended “Living the Dream.” Last year, around 400 participated in the march and rally.

“This year is the first we have actively tried to invite other schools,” senior Bobby Nalean said. “We invited basically every college in Iowa to send students or faculty or staff or whomever they want to send.”

“Living the Dream” is part of a celebration for Martin Luther King Jr. and his own dream. It is a chance for people to get involved in a non-threatening environment and participate in the democratic process.

“This is an effort to enter into a renewed dialogue,” Walter Lain, assistant dean for multicultural and international affairs said. “Part of King’s dream for the country and for civil rights issues that we as a country would do more to advance causes to eliminate poverty, discrimination, sexism and those things. “

Lain sees the march as an excellent opportunity for students on campus. He believes it provides students with the opportunity to learn what democracy is all about in our society. It is an opportunity for students to participate in social engagement.

“They are exercising the very freedoms so many people have fought for and died for,” Lain said. “Martin Luther King Jr. and others have given greatly so we can enjoy these freedoms. No one is exempt from the benefits of freedom.

“Living the Dream” came out of The Ounce of Doing Project. The group consisting of Lain, Nalean, Padilla and others, was selected for funding to implement their project. As the founders of this project are nearing graduation, they have hopes that it will continue to be a part of Simpson tradition.

Nalean would like to see participation from the Indianola community increase as well. Although the event is advertised across the city, there has not been a large amount of participation.

“This has been a really important event for me personally,” said Nalean. “I have learned so much about what it means to be a good citizen at my college, and at my community and in the world in general. I hope that the people that go to the event can get a little part of that message that I have gotten.”