May 1, 2014
The student group known as The Movement continued its efforts to enhance the conversation about race on campus with an event they called a “Walk for Solidarity.”
The walk, which occurred Monday, April 28 at 4 p.m., went from the Science Center to Sadove. Once the group—which included approximately 40 people—arrived at Sadove, student volunteers read aloud stories that had been published on the group’s Tumblr page. Originally, the group requested that all in attendance wear hoodies as a sign of solidarity, but the group shifted the request to wearing black before the event.
“It has been a bit of time since we published our constitution and can feel the conversation and passion slipping away from the campus,” The Movement explained on its Tumblr page. “It is our desire that we all stand in solidarity and conduct a march from the Taylor Science Center to the front of Sadove Student Activities Center.”
The group published its constitution three weeks ago and demanded the formation of institutional board and a mandatory one semester seminar covering issues of diversity.
Students, faculty and staff attended the march with notable attendees including President Joan Hinde Stewart and Dean of Students Nancy Thompson. Emma Wilkinson ’16, one of the students in attendance, was pleased with the event and the presence of school leaders.
“It was very exciting to see them there because I think the Movement has created enough attention to force the campus to address issues of exclusion. It was powerful to participate in a march to give those who are usually silenced a voice,” Wilkinson explained.
Jake Blount ’17 echoed that sentiment. "I would say it was definitely reassuring to see that many people out there walking with us and reading those stories."
Sahyli Febles ’15 told The Spectator “It was a humbling experience to hear some of the stories posted on the Tumblr page. Their experiences felt real as we read them out loud in front of Sadove.”
While the event itself clearly garnered more support for the discussion and symbolized the College’s solidarity, supporters are optimistic about the direction Hamilton is going in terms of race relations.
“Seeing the many events that have sprung up after the Movement posted their Tumblr page gives me hope that I can work with concerned faculty to bring about real change next year. I refuse to let these issues slide under the radar like they have been for decades. Even after the Movement's first protest, we all stopped talking about it within weeks,” Wilkinson explained. “I am passionate and committed to seeing a more inclusive Hamilton, one where every student feels comfortable walking home at night, where we no longer throw racist, sexist, classist, and homophobic parties, where students are not asked to represent their entire marginalized identity, and where we can have intelligent and respectful conversations that value personal experience along with statistics.”