Inspiring march for their rights

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With our years at UW-Whitewater being a time of growth and maturation for many of us, we often look to faculty and staff members as role models. We look to them to not only guide us in our studies, but in life as well.

When associate professor James Hartwick and assistant professor of geology and geography Eric Compas marched 42 miles from UW-Whitewater to Madison, they set an example all students should take to heart.

The journey these faculty members took serves as an example of the importance of fighting for your rights and the distance, both literal and metaphorical, we might have to go to achieve our goals.

Hartwick and Compas left the UW-Whitewater campus March 24 to hand-deliver a letter addressing Gov. Scott Walker’s budget-repair bill and proposed biennial budget.

They arrived in Madison on foot two days later, where they met with Democratic legislators.

When it comes to politics, everyone has their own opinions and when those opinions are discussed, conversations can often get heated.

However, in light of the situation in Madison, there is one thing we can all agree on.

Graphic by Seth Anderson

Regardless of the political views of Hartwick, Compas and the various faculty members who contributed to the letter, we can all agree the extremes and opposition they were willing to face to prove their point is something to be admired.

We should view these faculty members as an inspiration and example for us to follow as we move forward with our lives.

Though they battled cold weather, sore legs and blisters, their passion for their rights overpowered the obstacles they faced.

Long distance treks have been a powerful statement as proven by Katie Visco, who ran across America in 2009 to inspire others to pursue their ambitions, or Paul Staso, who ran across the country in 2006 to encourage children to become more active.

Though we might never march 42 miles to prove a point, there is a deeper meaning that should be taken from Hartwick and Compas’ actions.

When obstacles separate us from our beliefs, we must remember these faculty members.

The actions taken by Hartwick and Compas are a shining example of how we must stand up for our rights and beliefs regardless of the opposition we may face.

Far too often, though, we keep our opinions and beliefs to ourselves in fear of the reactions of others.

These faculty members showed opposition is just another obstacle that can be overcome through passion and perseverance.

But we must not let our fears and obstacles stand in the way of what we believe in.

However, the dedication these faculty members devoted to their cause should inspire us all to stand tall and refuse to back down when obstacles block our path.

We must also recognize that these faculty members avoided confrontation and voiced their concerns peacefully.

This should be viewed as a reminder that although differences in beliefs can create tension, violence is never a suitable answer.

We must also look to these faculty members as role models in how we must stand up for our rights and what we believe in – regardless of the cost to us as individuals.