Students and Bloomington community members marched from Sample Gates to Showalter Fountain on Sunday and spoke about how mass violence has affected them and their communities.
Around 50 people participated in the #StrongerThanHate march to show solidarity against hate and violence. Speakers focused on mass gun violence such as the Tree of Life Synagogue shooting, the Parkland, Florida, shooting and the shooting at Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida.
The planning committee started preparing for the march about a week and a half ago, but between then and Sunday, a gunman entered a bar in Thousand Oaks, California and killed 12 people.
Reanna Edlin was on the planning committee. She said her brother-in-law went to the Tree of Life Synagogue, so she wanted to show her support.
The committee had raised more than $15,000 through crowdfunding to donate to the Tree of Life synagogue as of Sunday evening. At the march, the committee was selling bracelets for Bloomington United.
Josh Dinner, assistant director of the Helene G. Simon Hillel Center, and Jess Goldblatt, director of Greek affairs and Engagement at Hillel, planned the march after being approached by the student committee.
“This event was created by a handful of passionate and action-oriented students who had enough of this hate in our communities,” Goldblatt said.
Goldblatt encouraged people to meet and talk to one new person while marching to the fountain, and to find out what motivated them to be there.
After he spoke, the group started marching down Indiana Avenue. There was no chanting but instead the sounds of people chatting with new people. Some held signs that said “Hate has no home in our town.”
Then the group congregated in front of IU Auditorium and students spoke.
IU Student Government President Alex Wisniewski was the first to speak. He said IU is going to continue to make a culture of inclusivity.
“Together we will protect our students from acts of violence because of what they look like, who they love, how they pray or who they are,” he said.
Freshman Aydin Mayers started by sharing the story of how he was affected by the Parkland shooting. He was getting on a plane to a convention in Orlando when he heard about the Parkland shooting. He said he has friends from Parkland who were in the school during the shooting.
“I’m tired of having to give these speeches,” he said.
He said people should continue to pray with their feet by marching until there is change.
Hillel Student President Brad Sadoff said people should stand up for change and that he sees the diverse groups at IU as a family.
“When something bad happens to a member of your family do you stand idly by?” Sadoff said. “No, you stand up for your family and offer them the support they need. That is why we are here today.”
Sarah Holmes was helped up the steps of the auditorium to speak. She said she was at the march because she had attended the Tree of Life Synagogue many times and her son-in-law and grandson were on their way to the synagogue on the day of the shooting.
She said the shooting was a very personal loss for her and she appreciated seeing the support of people today.
“There is no room for hate,” Holmes said. “There is no room for violence against anybody.”
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