Students ‘Walk as One’ to end violence, racism

Students crossed organizational, gender and racial lines to come together for one just cause and exemplify the ideas of unity and tolerance.

On the sundial lawn Sunday, several organizations joined Theta Nu Xi’s “Walk as One” to combat racism.

“This is part of our service tenet,” Jessica Penaranda, senior criminal justice and women’s and gender studies major, said. “We hope to make it an annual walk-a-thon to raise awareness about topics like racism and segregation.”

Penaranda said she hopes the event will be a blueprint for other colleges. “We want to inspire other campuses to do something like this,” she said. “It may start off small here, but as the organization grows, hopefully it will get larger and wake some people up.”

Amanda Kokie, special events coordinator for National Conference for Community and Justice (NCCJ), echoed many of Penaranda’s words and shed some light on her organization’s history.

“This may be the first walk we have co-sponsored here, but we have been organizing walks throughout the state since 1999,” Kokie said. “We are Theta Nu Xi’s national philanthropy so we’re very happy to come here and work with this chapter.”

Kokie handed out information pamphlets about NCCJ’s upcoming events.

She said there is statewide walk for all New Jersey colleges and high schools on May 21 at Liberty Square Park and an annual benefit concert, “Walk as One, Rock as One,” at the Convention Hall in Asbury Park.

Members of Lambda Theta Phi, Alpha Psi Chi and Phi Kappa Psi participated.

Edgar M. Rodriguez, senior general business major and member of Lambda Theta Phi, voiced his support of the walk’s cause. “It is very important to have events like this one to help raise awareness about topics that are still visible in our society,” he said.

Theta Nu Xi’s walk was just one of several community events planned to commemorate the sorority’s Founder’s Week.

“We’ll be holding a discussion about segregation and racism in New Jersey, a multicultural trivia game and we’ll be running a kiosk in the Student Center to distribute facts about all these topics,” Penaranda said.