Audrey Tchaa –
Your Turn, Stout led this year’s Peace March. It was lead by: Jasmine Baker, William Yang, Brittany Zavala, Vaughn Hess Jr., Chia Lor, and Hleeda Lor. The co-creators of the Peace March, Taasia Barfield and Brianna Yang, also helped the group in creating the 2019 Peace March. The third annual Peace March occurred on February 22, 2019.
Before the march, Your Turn, Stout leaders and Barfield gave a small speech of why they felt this march is important and significant to themselves and for their supporters.
“This peace march is important to me because the world is so divided… I always hear about someone I know going through something or being discriminated against and it hurts…” stated Hleeda Lor.
“This march isn’t for me. It’s for the people that can’t talk about what happens to them or are too afraid to speak up,” said Barfield.
“We are here to march for those who have never felt like they belong; who felt like they always have to hide their true identity just to get by; who have passively been ignored by their peers; who have been told to change to ‘advance themselves.’ We march for you, and we stand with you. It’s your turn!” Baker stated.
Yang states, “Today I stand and speak my own eulogy. I am taught to be feared by the dominant group, but also taught to be feared by others who do not hold my own identities.”
“To every minority who feels alone, you’re not. To everyone who’s ever wanted to give up or quit because they feel like they’re not enough, you’re not alone. This is for you. It’s your turn,” said Chia.
“There will always be judgements, hatred and negativity along with all other emotional cause. For me, the peace march is how I want to show my support for those that have been discouraged and broken down by the past and current events of this institution,” said Zavala.
“It’s hard to not speak up, but it doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t. If anything, that encourages me to push myself forward, to carefully listen to others and show them love that there is support for them,” states Hess.
Many of the students who attended the march also used their voices and gave reasons why they went and why they felt this march was important to them and significant to campus.
“I’m tired of being ignored and disrespected, so I felt like it was time for a change to be made. As an African American and a queer person, this march is important as I don’t want to lose my own identity and just be forgotten. I want the school to see that I am not just a statistic. I am a person who has feelings,” said Harri Bien-Aime.
“I wanted to stand in solidarity with the minority groups and marginalized communities. I feel it’s important because people forget there are marginalized groups, and it’s important to let the community know they exist and are important to campus,” said Max Riley
William Chang said, “As a student of color, and an active activist, raising the awareness on campus that our administration doesn’t do their upmost best to feel like we’re included on this campus, and that all we are to them are marketing tools. So silently marching with other students of color and other marginalized communities, plus allies; to raise this awareness that we are here.”
“This Peace March is important to me because I have been personally discriminated against based on my ethnicity, along with hearing from friends about their negative experiences with discrimination on campus. Being able to take part in the Peace March empowers me to speak up and stand up for both myself and my friends against discrimination, and to encourage discussion and action toward a more diverse-inclusive environment on campus,” said Cheenue Yang
“I felt it was significant to see a wide range of minorities to come together to stand with each other in unity. We aren’t that many on campus, but at the same time we got the chance to be seen!” said Deon Canon.
Though these senior leaders found this march to be successful and impactful, Baker and Chia are hoping to have the upcoming march be stronger and for other inspired students to take over next year’s march.
“For next year, I hope that other students [are] inspired from this march and the marches before will take the initiative to take it up. Our team won’t be here forever so we hope that through this there will be students that are willing to take up the torch and continue to build towards a more unified community,” says Baker.