Students march for equality downtown

The audience joined in the dancing at the Beautifully Equal event. Photo credit: Salahadin Albutti

“We are all equal! We are all beautiful! Love is in the air!” echoed throughout the streets of downtown Chico on Friday afternoon as students marched to spread equality.

The march symbolized the overall message of what “beautifully equal” stands for. People from different backgrounds came together for one march and were able to promote their message as one.

A gender and communications class on campus was given the opportunity to do an individual end-of-the-semester project or a “change the world” project as a class. They unanimously chose the latter.

Josh Leith, a senior communications major and project manager of the event, is not only hoping to promote gender equality, but equality for all because of the stereotypes and judgments passed every day.

“We see it every day, and everyone does it,” Leith said. “We wanted to get the message out there that we are all equal.”

While the class tabled earlier in the week, students were able to pull from a box that contained positive messages written on small pieces of paper.

These phrases included “You are smart,” and “You are beautiful.”

Students posted pictures of these messages on Twitter, Snapchat and other social media sites.

“There’s three words that can ruin someone’s day, and three words that can really lift them up,” Leith said. “Why not be that person that’s lifting people up on a daily, constant basis?”

Rebecca Campbell, a junior communications major and project manager of the event, wants to make a difference in one person’s life with this event.

“I think even in college there’s that discrimination against men and women,” Campbell said.

Whether someone is gay, lesbian, short or tall, discrimination exists, she said. People don’t think those discriminatory words are harmful.

“We say, ‘Oh my gosh that’s gay!’ and don’t realize that little thing can affect someone,” Campbell said.

The event went beyond being just a class project.

“We have a diverse group of people that attend Chico and we think it’s the perfect place to spread our message to them,” Campbell said.

Along with the march, a balloon arch represented the differences among people. The different balloon colors emphasized the diversity of the participants. The string that held those balloons together represented the connection between different people.

Amy Lance, a gender communications professor, is proud of the class’ efforts. The concept of the event is a good reflection of what she practices in the classroom.

“We all need to respect each other,” Lance said. “We get to be the judge of one person and that’s the person that looks back at you in the mirror every day.”

Dominique Diaz can be reached at [email protected] or @dominiqueldiaz on Twitter.