Classes were cancelled at Kansas State University Tuesday afternoon. A large crowd of students, faculty and staff wore purple and joined together for a unity walk and rally to reject discrimination on the university campus.
“A place such as Kansas State is defined by its past, as well as who we are today, but we are also, and more importantly, defined by who we want to become,” said Kansas State President Myers. “We need to have an overdue conversation about who we want to become, what it is we value, and what are our aspirations.”
Student body president Jack Ayres and Darrell Reese, president of the Black Student Union, hosted the event and discussed steps to help the community move forward and unite.
“We are hurt,” Reese said. “We are discouraged. We are in pain. We know that we are living in trying times at Kansas State University and in our nation. These incidents cause us to think; are we safe? Who can I trust? Do people really care? So let me give you some encouragement today. Even though I’m hurting, I’m hopeful. Even though I’m saddened, I have not lost my faith, and you shouldn’t either. Simply because if we lose our faith, if we lose our hope, everything we have worked for now will all be lost.”
The event comes after a noose and racist flyers were found on the campus in recent months. Last month, a 21-year-old black man defaced his own car with racist graffiti in what he described as a Halloween prank that got out of hand.
“The injury to one of us in an injury to all,” Myers said. “The joy to one of us is a joy to all. The honor to one of us, is the honor of all. We do share a common humanity, and while we’re not all the same, we can understand what it means not to be seen or be heard or to be invisible on a college campus. It’s time for all of us to stand up as a family, as a community, to unite around our values when we see anger, hate, and divisiveness.”
The walk was a symbolic introduction to KSUnite, a communitywide program for diversity, inclusion and equity.
“Let’s take this walk we started today – together – to make Kansas State University the place you want it to be,” Myers said. “We’re all in it together.”