End the ‘isms” march tomorrow

by Rhea Purvis

Simpson College will host an “End the ‘isms'” march tomorrow at 3:30 p.m.

The “End the ‘isms'” march is a celebration of diversity. It’s designed to raise the issues of racism, sexism, ageism and homophobia. This year will be the third year the march has occurred.

The march was originally organized by juniors Bobby Nalean and Omar Padilla. Due to Padilla’s trip to Nicaragua this semester, senior Andy Lashier helped to co-organize the event with Nalean.

According to Nalean and Lashier, people involved in the march will gather at the Circle of Knowledge between the Brenton Student Center and Kresge Hall. From there, participants will march to the Indianola town square. Once there, there will be music, food and several speakers.

According to Nalean, there will be five or six speakers – one of whom will be Ryan Roemerman from the Iowa Pride Network.

About 80 people attended the first march in 2004, and the second year brought about 160 people. Nalean wants even more people to attend this year’s march – and he has President Byrd’s support.

“President Byrd is way behind this,” Nalean said. “We want to at least double the attendance.”

The “End the ‘isms'” march was developed as part of Simpson’s Ounce of Doing program. According to Nalean, he and Padilla spent time brainstorming things they could do to increase awareness of other’s diversity. It started with ideas of fasting during Ramadan and went on to cooking food from different cultures on different nights. With the cooperation of Walter Lain, assistant dean for multicultural and international affairs, and Carolyn Dallinger, assistant professor of social work and criminal justice, Nalean, Padilla and others organized the march.

The goals for the march are to increase awareness of diversity and to attract a wider audience.

Nalean admitted that the recent graffiti has given extra meaning to this march.

“This march is an opportunity for Simpson to show that acts such as the graffiti incident will not be tolerated here,” he said.

However, Lashier also said the march is not solely a reaction to the recent vandalism.

“This march gets the campus and the community involved,” Lashier said. “It gives people a chance to show their support.”

Lain also hopes a lot of people will turn out for this march. Lain wants to get the message out about accepting diversity and abolishing hate and ‘isms.’

“A person may not hate a black person, but might hate a homosexual person,” Lain said. “It can be hard to celebrate when you see others prejudiced.”

Freshman Carolyne Hall likes the march idea.

“It’s a really good idea to promote awareness of ‘isms,’ she said. “Awareness can be a means to end ‘isms.'”

Junior Ben Sweet has attended the march in the past, and he said it’s more important now than ever before.

“In light of recent events, I encourage all to attend this event,” Sweet said. “There is little diversity at Simpson, it being 95 percent white. You will get to see culture groups in the community that are missed.”