Students Embrace Diversity on Why Not Speak? Day
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It is important for the Williston community to take a day off from typical learning subjects, and dive into the unknown. On Feb. 22, Williston celebrated “Why Not Speak?” day to understand the different aspects that make up the wide variety of the Williston community.
The day started with Reverend Erik Taylor Doctor speaking to the students and faculty members. Reverend Doctor, an openly gay black minster, advocates for marginalized groups and creating culturally competent communities.
From the moment he stepped on stage, he made a huge effort to connect with the audience. He did not just stand up there and preach about diversity; he engaged the Williston community and had us embraces our similarities and differences.
As a part of Why Not Speak? day, students and faculty attended workshops all over campus.
Simone Barrett led “I’m Not Racist but…” with Destiny Nwafor and Sarbina Liew. The goal of the workshop was to educate and create a discussion about cultural appropriation. As she wrote in her workshop description, “As humans, often we don’t realize when we do something that may in fact be offensive or prejudices towards another culture.”
Barrett led the workshop both in the morning and in the afternoon. She said there was a huge difference in the two groups.
“In the first workshop, some had thoughts and prejudices about racism,” she said. “In the second one, students came in with willingness to be educated and challenge their views.”
Mr. Rivers ran a workshop about how snap judgments can affect your immediate future. His goal for the workshop was to have people understand where certain ideas come, namely entertainment. “Our subconscious [in regards to race] is poisoned by movies, TV shows, and media,” he said.
When Mr. Rivers was in high school, he attended an all-day diversity day that included an open mic with students to discuss real thoughts and problems with authority figures.
Mr. Rivers enjoyed Why Not Speak? day because, as he said, it is important to address the unspoken and sometimes unnoticeable issues that pervade society.
The Willistonian also spoke with many students who attended workshops. Some, like senior Caroline Musicant, learned valuable lesson about gender and identity.
Musicant attended HEROS workshop. She took away a greater knowledge of the sexual identity and gender; she thinks it is important to talk because society culprit of assuming lots of things about a variety of different people. “This workshop enlightened me that we need to be more aware of people’s difference and the beauty of the differences.”
Sima Gandevia attended Living with Madness, which featured a guest speaker, Taylor Endress. In the workshop, which was lmited to juniors and seniors, Endress spoke about her battle with bipolar disorder and her strength to conquer what she thought was impossible.
“It was very intense,” said Gandevia. “She wanted people to realize what bipolar disorder actually means rather than just categorizing [people with the disorder] as crazy.”