Diversity: it’s not just black or white

People from all over the world call Tech home. Diversity Week, sponsored by the Office of Diversity Programs and held Nov. 10-14, celebrated Tech’s status as a global community. An annual event, this year’s theme was “A Latitude Adjustment.”

Diversity Week kicked off on Monday, November 10th in the Student Center Commons. The kickoff informed the Tech community of all the activities they could expect during the week. The Women’s Resource Center cosponsored the week’s “Subliminal Sexism” program, which focused on sexism’s existence in various forms of media.

Reverend Steven Fazenbaker, of the Wesley Foundation at Tech, presented “Religion in the Age of Science: Four Approaches” on Tuesday, Nov. 11. Leon Brass delivered a important keynote speech at the Power Over Prejudice Summit, and spoke throughout the week on his experiences as a retired principal from Philadelphia who entered the Buchenwald death camp after its liberation in 1945. He told his account of holocaust atrocities as well as his encounters with racism.

On Wednesday, students expressed themselves through poetry, song, music, spoken word, dance, art and fashion at “The Skin I’m In: A Celebration of Diversity through the Arts,” which showcased Tech’s Fusion team at the Center Stage. “Fusion is a cultural arts celebration that was created at Emory two years ago… it’s where two cultural groups fuse together,” said Stephanie Ray, associate dean of students and director of Diversity Programs.

Thursday’s “Difficult Conversations in the Classroom” program was geared towards faculty, staff and teaching assistants and encouraged attendees to troubleshoot diversity-related issues faced in academic settings.

Also on Thursday, Ray moderated “What Stands Between Us?,” a discussion based on Lee Mun Wah’s compilation of more than four hundred questions that people of color and EuroAmericans have always wanted to ask each other, but didn’t know how to begin. Ray described the discussion as a safe and fun environment to pose questions about other races that one might normally be afraid to ask.

The concluding program of the Diversity Week was Safe Space Training – Part II: the second component for students, faculty and staff to be formally trained to support and advocate for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender/transsexual (LGBT) community on campus.