By: Richard Meyer ~Copy Editor~
The Xavier Community came together on Jan. 22 to celebrate the seventh annual “Break the Silence: Wall of Expression” event.
Students, faculty and staff were invited to write hateful words or phrases that have been said to them over their lifetime on a wooden wall that was set up in Gallagher Student Center.
“This event is an opportunity for students to express some of the hurtfulness and hatefulness that they have experienced in their lives,” Program Assistant for the Center for Interfaith Community Engagement Stephanie Renny said.
After the people wrote the hateful words on the wall, it was then taken outside, broken and burned, symbolically destroying the hatred the people have experienced.
The event also stood as a way of reminding students that anyone has the ability to serve in their community, regardless of what they have experienced.
“I was very aware of how very many in our Xavier community have been told they cannot be great, they cannot serve,” Executive Director of the Center for Interfaith Community Engagement Rabbi Abie Ingber said. “I was concerned that just getting a college degree or studying Plato and Aristotle would not be enough to remove those hateful and hurtful words that had been thrown at them.”
“Break the Silence: Wall of Expression” is held yearly during the week of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day as a way of remembering his work as well as his ability to overcome adversity.
“I think it is important to do this event during the week of Martin Luther King, Jr. celebration because Martin Luther King, Jr. worked to overcome hate and discrimination in his life and for a lot of people. He is a symbol for how we can overcome hate and adversity in our lives. We are trying to empower students to overcome that as well,” Renny said.
“I not only hoped to suggest that hate could be burned and love fill the void, I also wanted our rather privileged community to see the worlds that our students, faculty and staff came from. The sight of all these terrible words boldly and demonstratively say that we are not all OK,” Ingber said.