Minority students, university police and others from varied backgrounds walked side by side Tuesday afternoon on the Indiana State University campus to make a statement.

"No matter your race or ethnicity, no matter who you are, you matter," said Jennifer Christian of ISU's University Engagement office. "We care about everyone."

Kicking off a new academic year, the ISUnity Walk was organized in response to a nation divided on issues of race and criminal justice, fueled by police shootings of black men that have, in turn, prompted retaliatory violence against police.

"This summer has been filled with feelings of hurt, pain, anger and confusion," Christian told the estimated 300 students, faculty and staff who gathered at Dede Plaza. "We will not allow racism, hate, anger, hurt, confusion or anything else

to tear our ISU community apart."

Those gathered wore shirts and carried signs that read: "ISUnity. You matter to me." The event, which occurred on a

hot and humid day, included speeches and a short walk around Hulman Memorial Student Union.

Jeff Lorick, executive director of the Terre Haute Human Relations Commission, told those assembled, "If we can't get past the pain, then we can't get to the unity. And as long as folks hold onto their pain, we can't have the conversations

we need to have."

He told millennials it is up to them to bring change in America. "We must drop our differences ... we must see each other's common humanity and we must learn to fight the same enemy."