Students make voices heard at community rally

Katie Biggs chooses to remain outspoken.

The senior English major said not everyone can produce change on a widespread level like running for office, but everyone has a voice.

“Everyone has the ability to speak out and make their voice and opinions known,” she said.

Biggs made her voice heard today by attending With Liberty and Justice for All, a community rally which aimed to showcase continued hopes for community diversity and rights for all people across the nation.

Wendy Bredhold, the event organizer, said she thinks it meant a lot for people to have this rally as an option for them on Inauguration Day.

Bredhold said a math teacher in the crowd estimated about 300 people were in a attendance. The crowd gathered at the Four Freedoms Monument downtown to hear speakers before marching to Central Library for a community resource fair.

The fair included the NAACP Evansville Branch, Tri-State Alliance, YWCA, Veterans for Peace and many other groups from around the Evansville area.

“I’m so gratified that this was something that was meaningful to so many people today,” Bredhold said.

Biggs was joined at the rally by fellow English major Henry Kathman who had similar motivations for attending.

The senior said he wanted to be able to voice his commitment to the future and opposition to the current political climate.

Kathman said a common misconception is that government is inaccessible.

“Any progress that is going to happen is going to be through education and through actual outreach,” he said. “Community outreach and actively participating.”

He said he recommends community members call their representatives.

“Right now there is just a gigantic commitment from all levels of government to marginalize,” Kathman said. “…It really seems right now that a lot of people really wanted to retaliate against the last 8 years of progress.”

Kathman said he thinks those feelings come from the movement toward diversity and globalization.

“For some it feels like people will be left behind because of that,” he said.

Biggs said worldwide there is general recoil when it comes to the attempt to diversify, a fear that comes with change.

“In the long run fear will not win,” Biggs said, “but there comes a point when occasionally it gains such strength that you do need to start pushing back again and showing everyone that fear may be a powerful motivator, but it will not squelch the progress that has been made.”

Biggs said as a member of the LGBT community and an ally she refuses to stay silent on matters where people may be marginalized or demonized.

Her biggest fear going forward politically is the indoctrination of things like racism and xenophobia. She said while it’s unfortunate for one individual to feel that way, it also cannot be brought into policy and politics.  

“I think personally there needs to be more kindness and there needs to be more love, but honestly people need to forgive themselves,” she said.

Everyone judges but Biggs said it’s what happens after that initial judgement which can make a difference.
“The key in that is not halting the process,” she said. “It’s understanding that you must reach beyond that and think, ‘why do I have this judgement and is it warranted or is it not. How can I go about fixing that?’”