January 2013 Archives
This past weekend, I had the great opportunity to participate in the Like Minds Retreat at Camp Coby in New Hampshire. Like Minds, an organization on campus lead by student leaders, promotes conversations and discussions for diversity and inclusion. We are surrounded by race, diversity, culture, social dynamics, etc. in our daily lives, yet many times, we are too wrapped up in our own schedules that we forget to have important discussions about these topics. Many of us would like to believe we, as a society, are past the racism times of America; but racism is very much a live.
Simmons is a safe community for dialogue about these controversial subjects, however, often times, I think some people are not aware their word choice or actions and may come off racist. A couple of my friends of color have told me of instances in which they or their ethnic group have been discriminated against. My friend told me that one of her friends commented on her choice of wardrobe and casually said, "you look like a stereotypical black girl". My friend was deeply offended and did not know what to make of this statement. It saddens me that some people can say such hurtful things and not be aware of it.
I came on this retreat because I wanted to meet new friends, but I also wanted to educate myself so I can become more aware of how to have meaningful conversations and act as a support system or allies to my community. I thought it would be valuable to my Simmons experience and contribute to my knowledge as a student leader to be inclusive and help facilitate conversions on sensitive subjects, if the time came. This weekend was absolutely inspiring to me. I met so many new people and I was able to build relationships with people I have worked with in the past and get to know them on a more personal level.