Our Beloved Community, Lafayette’s fourth annual diversity symposium, drew 150 prospective students from around the world to engage in open dialogue about social engagement and active citizenship. The symposium is named for Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s vision of a society that embraces its members through understanding and celebrating their differences.
Faculty, staff, and current students hosted presentations on opportunities in-and-out of the classroom for students to advance their cultural knowledge, awareness, and skills. Some of the sessions included the Power of 3D Printing in Social Justice, Art Capturing Social and Cultural Movements, Kaleidoscope: Lafayette’s Social Justice Peer Education Program, Careers in Social Justice, Race and Journalism, the Colorblindness Myth, the Gender Pay Gap, and the Mathematics of Social Justice.
Ghana, West Africa
“It’s been really great. One thing that I learned from this experience is what micro-aggression is: if someone says something offensive but they don’t know it’s hurtful to you. This reminded me of when I first got here because I moved to the country just two years ago. It was really hard for me because I had to go to a tutoring class, and my first day in there people were laughing at my accent and I felt offended. I was angry. But one thing I learned from today is that I shouldn’t have gotten angry because they didn’t know what they were doing. I should have taken it as an opportunity to educate them on that because if I don’t voice my concerns they’re going to keep doing it and there’s not going to be any change.”
“I really enjoyed my time at OBC. It brought out important issues that I wasn’t familiar with and that I should be familiar with to because they’re happening right next door. This morning I learned a lot about modern day slavery, and they showed this video of a girl who has a normal life and is very privileged and next door is someone who was forced into prostitution. It shows how relevant these issue are and if OBC didn’t give me an opportunity to learn about them then there would be no way that I could possibly change anything that’s going on around me.”
“Today was amazing. OBC was just so mind opening. It was fantastic. It was like a conversation about raw and honest issues that usually get brushed away in our society because they make people uncomfortable. But today was a day to open up and talk about them because these issues, these differences matter, and it’s important to talk about them and celebrate them.”