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Bruins represent love at ‘Walk’

Seniors Hannah Fulton, Zane Ray, Mallory Borrego, and Kylee Dresbach-Hill participate in the March for Love with History Teacher Jeff Carrow and Bear River’s principal Dr. Amy Besler. Photo by Morgan Ham

From young to old, many in the Grass Valley community came together hand-in-hand to show how an act of hate can bring people together and fill them with love and acceptance for one another.

The event took place on Friday, September 29 at 5 p.m. down Mill Street in downtown Grass Valley. This “Love Walk” or “March for Love” was an event planned to show support for the Walker Family.

Who is the Walker family? Senior and ASB President Bella Batula told the hateful story of what happened to the Walkers’ son.

“There was a situation in which the son of a local merchant of Grass Valley was verbally assaulted with racial slurs by a group of young men as he was walking down the street,” Batula said.

Many were shocked to hear what events took place that caused this walk.

“ … To know that people in that community where I grew up in were that racist and that disgusting, it was something I had to be there for,” said Scout Pettit, a sophomore.

“It is sad and discouraging to hear that terrible, hateful things happen in our community,” said Dr. Amy Besler, the Bear River Principal. “I think it’s important to demonstrate that the words and actions of a very small minority do not reflect the feelings or values of the majority.”

Based on how many people showed up to the event, hundreds feel the same way; Among the hundreds of those who attended the “March For Love” event, many were Bruins.

“It was attended by many hundreds of people — perhaps a thousand or more,” Dr. Besler said. “There were people from all walks of life in attendance… from small children to elderly people, representing all segments of society. There were many students and school and district employees from all of our local schools in attendance as well. People from volunteer organizations, local businesses, local government, and all sorts of members of the community were there, as well as members of the media who were there to document the event.”

Sophomore Jaycee Andersen told about her experience at the Walk.

“It was definitely an amazing experience because everyone was so happy and you could just literally just feel the love,” Andersen said.

Dr. Besler explained that the news about the Walk was shared mainly through Facebook, or by word of mouth.

“I heard about the Love Walk on Facebook,” Dr. Besler said. “It seemed to have been organized by a friend of the Walker family, and many people shared the information through their Facebook accounts as well. I then shared it with the Bear River staff, and also discussed it through my Facebook account.”

Pettit confirmed the methods of advertisement for this event.

“I heard about it from my mom, who heard about it from somebody from her school on FaceBook,” Pettit said.

This walk meant many different things for different Bruins. For Batula it was about spreading love and acceptance outside of school, just like she does inside of school.

“As president of the Alliance club, I push for acceptance within our school in hopes that it will come to influence the community as a whole,” Batula said. “When I heard about the terrible event that took place up in Grass Valley, I knew that I wanted to do my part when it came to peacefully standing up against the hurtful and unnecessary expression of hate and intolerance. This topic of expressing love and fighting against intolerance is the sole goal of the club (The Alliance club). When we get together we make signs of love and encouragement that we place around the school as peaceful reminders of positivity. After this event took place, we have been brainstorming other ideas as to how we can expand our outreach to the school.”

Batula also expressed how important this experience was for her, being an activist herself.

“I have always been a vocal activist for tolerance and this experience was my first time standing in solidarity with others on the topic, which taught me just how important a voice is when it unites with others to spread a positive message,” she said.

— Josh Howser contributed to this report.

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Bruins represent love at ‘Walk’