WINONA LAKE — Within hours after a racial slur was found on a dorm room door, students at Grace College joined together to stand up against racism.
Before dinner on Monday, Oct. 10, students lined the entrance to the dining hall to show their support to their fellow classmates. Students of all ethnicities were holding signs with messages of support such as, “I am so sorry this happened,” “You do belong here” and “Hate will not be tolerated on this campus.”
Student Body President Kirsten Mead organized the event and estimates that around 100 students came out to show their support and love during a troubling time.
“To me, I felt it was absolutely insufficient to cry. Emotions don’t do anything,” said Mead. “I really wanted to see us take a stand. Not allow this to be a place where you feel hurt or isolated anymore. To say, we’ll stand for you and we want to support you.”
This isn’t the only way that students have been expressing support for their fellow students.
Grace College student Martin Scheile shared a Facebook video shortly after the racial slur was found. In the video, which has been shared over 1,000 times, Scheile encouraged the student body and public to know their identity in Christ and pray for each other.
“The reason why I stood up was because I knew it was the perfect opportunity to let it be known what minorities around our campus/community go through. I wanted to represent our minorities but also Christ,” said Scheile. “This is not only affecting us as minorities, there are people who are white and other races that feel strongly about the situation. Grace is a family, so we’re all in this together.”
The video has been a discussion point on campus and Mead encourages the student body to discuss the issue instead of trying to forget it.
“Grace isn’t perfect and we never claim to be,” said Mead. “But I do think that if you allow us to be defined by the response to the incident rather than one single incident you will see that we are looking to root out bitterness, hatred and racism.”
“We want to be a place of love and not racism,” continued Mead. “There’s a lot of majority white students that want to get involved and I think that represents our biblical values. It’s more true to our campus than the hateful act that was committed.”
Most Grace students are currently on fall break, but the movement won’t stop. The council for diversity inclusion is already planning ways to use this incident as a teaching moment and bring the campus together.