Name: Maria Wahl
Graduation Year: 2013
Hometown: Loveland, CO
Minors: BITH, Urban Studies
Involvement: Athletic Training, Diving, YHM, Unidad
Why Solidarity: Growing up, being bi-racial was hard for me to understand. I was not white enough to be in one group and not dark enough to be in another. I lived in a house where my Hispanic mother instilled in me her culture and rich heritage (not to mention great food!) while my German father taught me the value of responsibility and hard work. However, at school I was confused as to why some of my white friends would not hang out with my Mexican friends and vice versa. As I got older and began to understand what racism in America looks like, I knew God was calling me to aid in the reconciliation of people groups, races, ethnicities and cultures. Where better to work toward that goal then through Solidarity?! It was a perfect fit for my aspirations and for God's calling for my life.
About me: I am the oldest of three girls. We are all a year apart in age and my sisters are my best friends. Katie goes to Liberty University, and Rachel goes to Calvin College. I want a marriage like my parents when I grow up. They are the two cutest people I know. (Quick side story: For their 20th anniversary, my dad sticky noted my mom's whole car with his favorite memories of them!)
What would you like to achieve from being on Solidarity this year? This year in Solidarity, I hope to bring Wheaton closer to complete holistic reconciliation in hope of being closer to God and His glory.
Recent Story: Last year, I had the wonderful opportunity to complete the Wheaton in Chicago program. During my time in the city I was bombarded with an array of afflicting racial, cultural, and lifestyle offenses that often went either unnoticed or unmanaged. Coming back to Wheaton after such an eye opening experience was challenging, but what was encouraging was when my white majority friends would ask me about my experience and genuinely want to learn how to help end prejudices and practical steps they could take to end the cycle. It's a beautiful thing when people are open to new ideas, cultures, and ways of life, without fear and judgment of the differences.
If someone was just starting to think about issues of race, what advice would you give them? If you've never thought about how race affects you or about prejudices in America, a great place to start is with people. Ask questions. Most people love to tell stories, especially their own personal story. Maybe ask how they felt growing up in a wheel chair, or what is their favorite thing about growing up in their culture. If that idea freaks you out, read! There are tons of books out there about prejudices in America. A few of my favorites are Invisible by Arloa Sutter, and The Color of Water by James McBride.
What makes Wheaton unique? The community at Wheaton is like none other I have ever been a part of! It's challenging, it's fun, it's intentional and God-seeking. I love that the Wheaton community is always challenging me. There is always something on campus that I can go to learn more about people and things outside of our small community.
When you’re not studying or working on projects, where can you be found on campus? At the SRC. I'm a student Athletic Trainer and I work with the Football team.
What would you do at Wheaton if you had more free time? READ! I wish I had more free time to free read. If I had an extra semester, I would take more random-just for fun- classes, for me that would be Painting, or Debate.