On the road to diversity

Northern Kentucky University students, faculty and staff have an opportunity to participate in a walk-a-thon designed to promote diversity in the community.

On Oct. 6, the National Conference for Community and Justice is sponsoring the Walk As One Walk-A-Thon. The six mile walk will begin and end at Yeatman’s Cove at Sawyer Point in Cincinnati. Last year, 3,000 walkers participated, raising over $136,000.

Dr. Kris Yohe of the literature and language department was one of the participants in last year’s walk. She said she values her experience in the walk.

“The ethnic diversity was especially rich and refreshing to see and be a part of. said Yohe. “It was wonderful and I look forward to participating again.”

Several stops along the route are significant to the history of the Underground Railroad in Cincinnati. Stops include the Union Baptist Church, James Bradley Statue, and the Roebling Suspension Bridge.

Yohe said that crossing the Roebling Suspension Bridge was, for her, the most memorable moment of the walk.

“I found it moving to consider our own crossing of the Ohio River as compared to the terror people experienced during slavery when they were fleeing over this river,” she said.

NKU participation in this event is being organized by the Institute for Freedom Studies and the Wellness Office.

The Institute for Freedom Studies is relatively new on campus, having only been in existence for two years. Founded by faculty and staff of several NKU colleges, it serves as a Freedom Station in conjunction with the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center in Cincinnati.

“The purpose of the Institute for Freedom Studies is to promote interdisciplinary research, teaching and community outreach grounded in the scholarly study of American cultural history with a specific focus on the Underground Railroad and its legacy,” said Mona Hall, project manager. She added that it is thought to be the only university- affiliated institute of its kind in the country.

The NCCJ is responsible for founding the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, which focuses on improving race relations.Its purpose is to fight bias, racism, and bigotry in America and attempts to improve community relations for the future by working with today’s youth.

NCCJ offers programs such as the Police Youth “Live In,” a summer camp for inner-city youth and police officers, and Anytown U.S.A., a leadership program for teens from diverse backgrounds.

Anyone interested in participating in the Walk As One Walk-A-Thon or desiring more information should contact Mona Hall of the Institute for Freedom Studies at (859) 572-5817 or Sue Roth of the Wellness Office at (859) 572-5684.