On October 12, 2021, over three hundred members of the Wabash community took part in a Unity Walk. The event was organized by Leo Warbington ’22. Other key organizers of the event included Allen Johnson Jr. ’23, Chairman of the Malcolm X Institute of Black Studies (MXI), and Jonathan Silva-Melendez ’24, President of La Alianza: Unidos Por Sangre. The walk aimed to promote a welcoming culture for people of all backgrounds, as opposed to focusing on any one type of diversity, specifically.
Warbington came up with the idea for such an event this past Spring, as it felt necessary for the campus. However, when the day of the event came, it surpassed Warbington’s expectations, as hundreds of students – independent and Greek, faculty, staff, and community members joined in the walk. “It brought tears to my eyes,” Warbington said. “People are a lot more supportive and willing to have conversations as to why hate exists.” Life hit Warbington hard last semester and “when life hits you hard you gotta fight,” Warbington said. Also, that “we are here to better ourselves, and that accounts for more than academics and athletics.” With the Unity Walk bringing together more than three hundred people together, it is clear to see that Warbington’s message was received and that members of the College are willing to listen.
“It [the Unity Walk] was the first event where students were receptive,” Johnson said. “Members of the MXI want to start a conversation, and future events will allow that.”
Johnson saw it as further reinforcement of the belief that there is power in numbers, which was apparent in the turnout at the Unity Walk. “This is what I came to Wabash for,” said Johnson when asked about the overwhelming support and turnout from all breaths of the Wabash community.
Jonathan Silva-Melendez ’24, President of La Alianza, attended an MXI meeting and heard of the upcoming event, he wanted to involve his club and its members immediately.
“Those who showed up to the walk got to see the struggle of other students,” Silva said. The club is becoming more and more prominent as Wabash recruits bring more Spanish-speaking students and students with Latino American backgrounds. Knowing this, Silva is very active in representing the members of the Latino communities at Wabash.
“It’s hard being at a school where no one speaks your first language,” Silva said. Silva was thrilled to see the number of attendees like Warbington and Johnson, but it also showed him how ready Wabash is for change.
The MXI will be hosting their X-tacy: Poetry Slam event on November 6th in the Korb Classroom at 7 pm.
La Alianza will be hosting Dia De Los Muertos on November 1-2, as well as a future Spring event in the works where they will be cooking carne asada.