In 2014, the Diversity Walk, spearheaded by Hamilton Center Inc. CEO Melvin Burks, was attended by 300 supporters.
In the last few years, attendance has been in the thousands.
“Second year it was 700 walkers. Third year it was 1500. Fourth year it was 3,300,” Burks explained. “This year it was going to be over 5,000.”
Unfortunately, due to stormy weather this morning, the fifth Diversity Walk had to be postponed.
But the rain wasn’t enough to keep inclusion supporters like Arthur Feinsod away.
“This kind of rally is the spirit of Terre Haute, the Terre Haute that I love,” said the President of the Interfaith Council of the Wabash Valley. “All these people, in the middle of this rain and lightening and thunder would come out to say something about the importance of inclusion.”
Burks, who worked hard to start the conversation about inclusion in his community all those years ago, says he was blown away by the support.
“I was just so humbled to see so many individuals came out in the rain. There was a lot of individuals here,” he said. “When you have people coming together as one regardless of your orientation, your creed, your faith, your race your sex it’s just a beautiful feeling.”
Feinsod says the Diversity Walk couldn’t have come at a better time.
This as community members remember the recent dumping of white supremacist fliers in Wabash Valley neighborhoods.
“Their notion of exclusion of hatred towards people of color. Toward Jews. Toward Muslims is not appreciated here, is not accepted here,” Feinsod explained. “We are better than that here. We believe in love and respect and appreciation across those lines. And that’s what we want to state by marching here.”
The Diversity Walk will be rescheduled, board officials are still determine when.
For up to date news on the Diversity Walk, click this link to view their Facebook page.