Thousands of people attended the Women’s March in downtown Los Angeles last month, and in those crowds were LMU students committed to promoting a more just and equal society – myself included. Six of us attended the event together, taking the subway into downtown from campus. The subway was incredibly crowded and our train car was filled with excitement and anticipation. Every person was wearing pink, whether that meant a pink hat, shirt or tutu, and conversations I heard were focused on social justice issues. It felt like an inclusive environment, and strangers used the ride to the march to share their thoughts, ideas and beliefs with each other in a place that was understanding, accepting and also energizing.
By the time we arrived, the street was already bustling with people. What was really interesting about the crowd is that there wasn’t one type of person present; there were men, women and children of all different ages and ethnic backgrounds coming together to support a common cause. The energy on the street was absolutely contagious and when chants would begin, you wanted join along and be a part of it. Walking and standing by complete strangers reminded me that I was standing up for my passions, but also standing in solidarity with the passions of others as well. LMU encourages us to take action and become global citizens who stand in solidarity with and for others. While we wholeheartedly live out our mission statement through “the service of faith and promotion of justice” on campus, we also carry out that mission statement in our everyday lives off the bluff and in the greater Los Angeles area.
LMU is a place where students learn, grow and support one another in our separate, yet ever connected endeavors and journeys. Likewise, faculty and staff encourage us as students to truly grow and learn about ourselves in an attempt to uncover what we are passionate about. LMU provides a welcoming and understanding environment in which people can freely be their authentic selves and pursue their passions without fear of judgement or failure. This type of supportive community allows us as students to be bolder with our actions because we know that even if we fail, we will have a strong support system to pick us back up. It’s with all of this mind that I attended the Women’s March.
We strive to not only build a community of culturally aware citizens on campus, but to strengthen the bond and unity of our surrounding community as well. One way this is achieved on campus is through the Intercultural Facilitators. As one myself, I and my peers lead discussions around the subjects of race, gender, and more in an attempt to build bridges between individuals here on campus. Creating a safe place where people can come together to talk about the social justice issues of today helps to foster the LMU community with a sense of understanding and unity. The work of the Intercultural Facilitators and the Center for Service and Action as well as the many other programs here at LMU that focus on the university mission are what make studying at LMU so fulfilling for the mind, body and spirit.