It isn’t often that students are allowed to graffiti walls on campus, but on Wednesday, Oct. 28, students were encouraged to do just that. The Unity Wall, a project hosted by Concerned Black Students (CBS), was erected on the basketball courts near Firestine, and students were invited to tag the wall with aggressive words and phrases, negative comments or anything that they had in mind as a symbol of aggression that they had experienced. Examples included racial slurs and sexist remarks, among other things.
The next day, the wall came down. Students gathered together, and each taking a rope, tore the wall down in a symbolic action of destroying the barriers that others try to place in front of them with ignorance, intolerance and hatred. The Fall of the Wall is an event that wraps up Unity Week, an annual week of events and activities designed to foster conversation and understanding, which also includes the traditional Unity Walk.
The Walk is a yearly event hosted by CBS, which is an organization that is dedicated to bringing cultural awareness to Wittenberg and acting as an advocate for African American students. This year, students and faculty braved the cold and rain to walk the campus together in a display of solidarity.
“We’ve been doing it since the beginning, a little over 50 years,” said senior Isaac Cason, president of CBS. “It’s been a key part of CBS, and recently we’ve found a need for it, considering all the different aggressions that have gone on not just on this campus, but globally that [can] cause a divide between different cultures.”
“It does no good to just promote one race and completely exclude the problems that are going on with any other race or ethnicities,” Cason said. “It’s important to acknowledge the problems that are going on across all ethnicities and to be able to come together and provide support for the one that is at the moment.”
Unity week included the Walk, the Wall and events like panel discussions, such as the Panel for Change. But there was also some more light-hearted fare, such as the Haunted House.
“We like talking about topics of diversity and inclusion; however, we know that it’s heavy,” Cason said. “We know that it can be a lot for a campus, so we like to also bring people together as an organization by promoting fun events.”
CBS also does several trips for students outside of Springfield to explore and experience other areas of Ohio. They are also involved in other programs and events such as hosting speakers and musical performers.
Students who wish to get involved can join in one of two types of membership. Regular membership is open to every black student at Wittenberg, and associate membership is open to all interested students, faculty and alumni who wish to participate in CBS functions.