Troy University is hosting the inaugural Peace Walk this Saturday in celebration of the first rounds of training for newly implemented “Safe Zones.”
Amanda Dickey, a graduate clinical mental health counseling student, said that she and some peers have been working on the project since learning about the Safe School Coalition during a convention.
According to the Alabama Safe Schools Coalition website, the group “seeks to provide the impetus and resources needed to make Alabama schools safe learning environments for all students.”
Training will be held tomorrow and is open to any faculty member who wishes to attend. Subsequent training will occur once a semester.
Training will cover matters concerning LGBTQ+, disabled and hearing issues that students commonly face.
“We’re trying to foster a safe environment for all marginalized populations,” Dickey said.
After completing training, a sticker will be placed on that faculty member’s office door, indicating a safe zone.
“Their office is a safe place to go if they are experiencing difficulties and they will get the help they need,” Dickey said.
She said that these difficulties could be anything from homesickness to bigger issues requiring referral to a better source, such as a counselor or other professional.
“Everybody has struggles, and they’re not alone,” she said.
“Everything has been positive so far,” Dickey said. “We hope to have good participation at the training Friday. Troy has been very accommodating.”
To kick this off, the student-led initiative has organized a Peace Walk.
Anyone is welcome to come out for the cause, from individuals to groups and clubs on campus to the public.
The walk will be held Saturday, April 11, at 11 a.m. Those walking will begin at the main quad and turn onto Luther Drive, passing by the new Alumni Hall construction, Trojan Center, Pace Hall and eventually Hawkins Hall as the route circles back to the quad.
There will be no cost to those wishing to participate.
Walkers can carry any kind of signs and banners that they wish, but anything with hate speech will not be allowed.
Troy University will be providing water and ice for those walking, and a van will be driving behind walkers to transport those unable to walk or too tired to continue. Dickey said there will be plenty of places along the walking route to sit and rest.
The Human Rights Campaign and the American Civil Liberties Union will be in attendance as well as Free2Be, an organization out of Huntsville in support of the LGBTQ+ community. These groups will be giving out information on the quad.
“We’re really excited, and hopefully we’ll have more next year,” Dickey said. “It’s about us coming together and working for one cause: peace.”