Over 200 Dillard University students, faculty and staff walked to the polls in New Orleans to cast their votes

Just less than a week after the controversial Louisiana Senate Debate held at Dillard University, over 200 students, faculty and staff marched to Gentilly Boulevard to cast their vote as a community.

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Collaboration between the Andrew Goodman Foundation and the Men of Dillard, with the help of several campuses and Greek letter organizations, registered 517 Dillard University students to vote in the 2016 Presidential Election.

Throughout the month of October, several different organizations hosted debate watch parties, created social media campaigns and offered voter registration tables to invite and encourage students to participate in this year’s historic election.

The campus, however, was marching to the beat of a different drum just a week before.

For 72 hours we were a campus divided.

It felt like mini Martin Luther King Jr.’s versus Malcolm X mimics. If you weren’t in the protest you were suddenly a traitor or a coon, and if you participated you were a rebel rouser and a troublemaker. The day after the debate you could quite literally feel the tension in the air. Faces that we frequented transformed into strangers that we now questioned, all because of this man.

We allowed this man; this publicity seeking, hatred-filled and very narrow-minded man to turn us against one another. We allowed him to come into our home and disrupt our family, and all just days before the homecoming of our illustrious institution.

Mistakes were made, communication was lax, tension rose, but healing and growth can now begin.

Dillard University students, faculty, and staff came together Thursday morning in Lawless Chapel with University President Dr. Walter Kimbrough to discuss their frustrations and concerns in regards to the controversial Louisiana Senate Debate that was held at Dillard University on Wednesday, Nov. 2.

That same evening, Dillard University’s Student Government Association invited students to participate in an intimate, student only setting that allowed open and constructive conversation on concerns of the student body and how to deal with moving forward.

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Several views and opinions were challenged, but one thing that we all agreed on was that although better action and communication should have been taken, healing can now begin.

The March to the Polls created an opportunity for healing and growth, renewal and improvement. What divided us a week earlier brought us together today. I was proud to be a Bleu Devil as we marched together, and my pride will live on.