On Sunday, Sept. 22, Oswego State held its 3rd annual ALANA Unity Peace Walk.
ALANA, the African, Latino, Asian and Native American organizations, grouped up with an eclectic crowd of other student organizations participated, including Black Student Union, Oswego Going Global and Pride Alliance.
All the marchers gathered at City Hall for a quick pep talk given by Oswego State student Michael Nedrick, a junior majoring in broadcasting and a minor in audio engineering.
“Peace starts with each and every one of us.” Nedrick said. “Emit a radiant light. For our earth, America and everywhere we inhabit, like Martin Luther King Jr. expected.”
Nedrick’s commencement address reminded the group that it’s been nearly 50 years since Martin Luther King Jr. was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize and the march on Washington D.C. happened.
Chelsea Hamlet, a senior majoring in communication and social interaction, also saw a change in turnout between last year and this year’s event.
“Last year it was a little bit smaller and it was the same people who came out to our BSU meetings [Black Student Union]… But this year it was nice to see a diverse crowd… That was the biggest change I saw.” Hamlet explained the peace walk was created by two alumni members of the BSU Damaris Dunn and Quindell Williams.
“Their vision behind the peace walk was basically a tribute to the march on Washington,” Hamlet said. “So they wanted to incorporate that into the campus to show unity and solidarity within the Oswego community on campus and also the Oswego community outside of campus.”
Hamlet felt that “it was great to have new faces and actually join in unity [at the walk].”
“I feel like people now actually want to support things and get out of their comfort zone. As you start getting older you want to branch out. Let’s do something that we wouldn’t normally do just to support and see what happens,” Hamlet said.
Before the walk began, student organizations spoke about why it was important for their clubs to take part in the peace walk. BSU members Ashley Freeze a senior studying history with a specialization in African and African American history, and Nedrick said that it was pivotal to spread peace awareness to “celebrate diversity and overcome racism.”
Julie Meleski, senior geology major and club member of Oswego Going Global (OGG), explained that OGG planned a trip to Peru to hike an Incan Trail. Meleski explained that OGG was taking part in the peace walk to “promote the idea of peace, and cultural acceptance, despite the fact they [the Peruvians and Americans] are different people.”
Oswego County police escorted the two-mile peace walk until the group reached campus. Pedestrians and drivers alike gave the “thumbs up” sign along with approving smiles to the marchers. Nearly the entire walk, marchers sung lively peace chants like, “Ain’t no power like the power of the people ‘cause the power of the people don’t stop,” just to name one.
Over 30 people walked to show support for the peace cause. Organizers hope to see an even bigger turn out next year for the ALANA Peace Walk.