Simpson organizes second march to ‘end the ‘isms”

Simpson organizes second march to end the isms

by Shara Tibken

Simpson students and Indianola community members will join together for a second year to raise awareness of diversity through the “Living the Dream” march, “End the ‘isms.'”

“We want to rally the college and the town to celebrate diversity,” said Walter Lain, assistant dean for multicultural and international affairs. “We want to provide an opportunity to say that despite our differences we still can serve others with our presence in a celebratory fashion. It’s just for that one day, even though we know it will be hard for people to set aside their differences.”

The event will take place tomorrow from 3:15 to 5:30 p.m., and the participants will march from Simpson’s circle of knowledge to the Indianola main square. At the square, the participants will be able to listen to music and hear speakers talk about issues such as gay and lesbian rights, poverty and religious differences.

“We tried to find people who can show a light on these various areas but still agree and uphold Martin Luther King Jr.’s ideas,” said Carolyn Dallinger, assistant professor of social work and criminal justice.

Some of the speakers include President R. Kevin LaGree, sophomore Justin Davis from LGBTQA and Don Brown from the AIDS Project of Central Iowa.

Senior Greg Dolmage, instructor of English David Wolf and professor of management Mark Green will perform.

“All of the speakers will talk for two to three minutes, and the musicians will be doing three songs each,” said sophomore Omar Padilla, one of the organizers of the march.

In order to provide consistency, the march has not been altered much from last year.

“I think it’s more that we’re trying to continue the fight,” Padilla said. “This is an ongoing process. It doesn’t matter how much we do. There’s always more that needs to be done.”

The Living the Dream March originated last year from the Ounce of Doing Project.

“It’s one thing to learn about history, but it’s another to actually be involved in the process,” Lain said.

According to Lain, the march isn’t a protest but a way to draw attention to issues that divide society.

“When most people think of a march, they think of a protest,” Lain said. “That’s not what this really is. If we were protesting anything, it would be protesting complacency.”

Approximately 80-100 people participated in the march last year, and the organizers expect even more people to attend this year.

“We know that marches and stuff like that grow because people become familiar with it,” Lain said. “Last year, it was an unknown. People didn’t have an expectation, so therefore they might not have come. Now people will see that we’re trying to promote unity.”

Last year’s march allowed students to see that these issues can come up on a small college campus.

“[What the march accomplishes] is the awareness that these issues are important, that they’re not just city issues,” Dallinger said.

The group plans to hold the Living the Dream March for many years to come.

“The intent is to say that ‘yeah, we’re different and we have different views but despite our differences, we can still celebrate the strength of our community,'” Lain said. “Because of those differences, we are able to respect the rights of others.”