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Walk the Walk Week seeks to “build a beloved community”

| Wednesday, January 19, 2022

This year is the seventh annual campus-wide Walk the Walk Week, a series of events centered around Martin Luther King Jr. Day designed to form a more welcoming community at Notre Dame. Monday was the first full observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day in Notre Dame’s history.

Caroline Collins | The Observer
An image of Martin Luther King Jr. overlooked the student panel as they discussed campus inclusivity.

One of the keynote Walk the Walk Week events was a student-focused panel discussion held Tuesday night in Washington Hall.

University President Fr. John Jenkins began the programming by introducing the focus of the panel and the responsibility of each member of the University community.

“Our purpose this evening is to hear what people have to say about how we can build a beloved community at Notre Dame,” he said. “The Notre Dame we seek to be is not the work of some of us, but all of us.”

The discussion was moderated by Professor Dianne Pinderhughes. She began the panel by reading from one of Martin Luther King Jr.’s speeches to set the tone and intention for the panel.

“We must conquer the hate of the old age and the love of the new age and go into the new age with a love that is understanding for all men,” Pinderhughes said, quoting King.

After Pinderhughes introduced the panel she posed questions for the panelists to respond to and discuss.

The panelists included junior Yvette Pino, senior Àlvaro Carrillo, law student Stephanie Wong, senior Ifeyinwa Nwebube, junior Connor Patrick and junior Gabe McKenna.

The students presented their ideas and thoughts on how Notre Dame can work towards being a more inclusive community and discussed initiatives the University is undertaking to promote diversity.

Carrillo discussed the flags that can be seen around campus showing different states and countries.

“This is the first step to exposing people and giving them knowledge about different cultures we have on campus,” he said.

Patrick said that the mission of Green Dot Notre Dame relates to the idea of building a “beloved community.”

“No one has to do everything, but everyone has to do something,” Patrick said, quoting the Green Dot slogan.

McKenna said that although Notre Dame is making efforts to change, there is still progress to be made.

“To love something is to see its flaws,” McKenna said. “The truth and reality of where we stand is uncomfortable, but there’s a lot of good that will come out of addressing it.”

Nwebube agreed with McKenna’s encouragement to address uncomfortable realities.

“There are always ways you can improve upon yourself. You need to acknowledge that you did something wrong, educate yourself and then move forward in a positive way,” she said.

The panel concluded with a speech by student body president Allan Njomo.

“We all have a critical role to play in maintaining and creating a beloved community,” he said. “I invite each of you to think about your next step on this journey.”

After the panel concluded, Fr. Pete McCormick and Fr. Jenkins led a Candlelight Prayer Service in the Main Building Rotunda.

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