Is Marist Woke?  Marist Community shows Limited Presence at March for Our Lives, Poughkeepsie

Woke, (adjective  \ ˈwōk \): a US slang term for awake, as in awake to current affairs and one’s surroundings. As a freshman who is still getting used to the Marist scene on campus, I have noticed how culturally aware students are. Whether it be BSU programs for Black History Month or Best Buddies petitioning against the use of the “r” word, Marist does take initiative to enlarge students’ perspectives—which is why I was surprised to see little Marist participation on Saturday, March 24, at the March for Lives rally over the Hudson River. 

According to the Poughkeepsie Journal, nearly 7,000 people marched to show their support for gun control and to end mass shootings. This rally was free and required no registration, taking place on the Walkway over the Hudson. From the Marist Campus, it takes 20 minutes to walk to the bridge. Easy to walk to and free. Despite these factors, I personally saw under 10 people from Marist attend the walk. All the while, I saw organized students march from local elementary, middle and high schools. 

 Hundreds march across the Walkway over the Hudson to protest gun violence in America. Photo Courtesy of Tony Cabral 

Hundreds march across the Walkway over the Hudson to protest gun violence in America. Photo Courtesy of Tony Cabral 

So where was Marist? Between the political clubs and Greek houses associated with Marist College, there easily could have been 250 students representing Marist on that bridge with signs and banners. Perhaps it was the lack of advertising for the event. I only found out about the event as a friend of mine rushed out of Leo Hall that morning for the rally. A half hour before the rally was when I discovered Poughkeepsie was actually hosting a rally. 

We all watched as thousands took to the streets of New York City and Washington D.C. (if you made it to one of those rallies… you are one of the leaders of tomorrow, thank you) but while those rallies seemed out of reach to broke college students on a Saturday morning, there was a rally happening right here in Po-town. I figure more students would have gone to the rally if Marist College (an active part of the community) would have advertised it on campus. 

I am disappointed in Marist, a school that reflects the ideals of the Marist Brothers: “excellence in education, a pursuit of high human value, and dedication to service.” I acknowledge this was a political rally and that Marist hosted the Dutchess-Ulster Heart Walk that same morning, but students who wish to walk in support of an end to mass shootings (which should be a majority of students) should have known there was a march happening right here in Poughkeepsie. 

In the future, I hope to see better advertising of what happens outside of Marist, in the Hudson Valley. That way, students are not limited to Marist sponsored, Sodexo catered events on campus. By stepping outside the Marist bubble, we can all wake up to what happens in the community. Or should I say, be woke.

Tony CabralComment