By Kayla Roehrich
On Wednesday February 3rd MSUM Student Life and the Office of Diversity & Inclusion showcase an event called “You. Me. We.” The event provided students and faculty with the opportunity to have an open discussion on the experiences that address racism, sexism, and LGBTQ Issues. During the virtual event students and faculty watched scenarios acted out by trained actors that addressed real-life student experiences. Throughout the virtual event the moderator asked the audience vital questions that corresponded to the actor’s behaviors and what we all should reflect on. For example, how does your actions impact others? What kind of world do you want to live in? What kind of Campus?
The pandemic may have stopped many things. While it has not stopped the ongoing social issues, and there should be no excuse worth ignoring them. Again, I ask. What kind of Campus? Something I took away from this event is, be willing to acknowledge your privilege. To create a safe space for students one must recognize that the old saying “I hear you and I see you.” Is not a good enough apology. An apology is owning up and taking full responsibility for one’s actions. Until society and our campus can shift their perspective on owing up and educating themselves to the generations of pain and trauma. Our campus will never move forward.
As a Black Student, I have faced many of the scenes that the actors had acted out on and outside of this campus. While others who are not BIPOC need to realize this ongoing issue is more than an extra credit for a class. The issues addressed in this event are clearly not going away until those who participate in them stop and understand that they are the cause. No human should ever be place into a checked box. None of us are born racist or with hate in our heart and are highly capable of overcoming discrimination. The first step is taking the mature choice to be responsible for one’s actions, instead of playing devil’s advocate.
The message that should have been taken away from this event is, whether you are on campus, as a student, or a member of society you must speak up. These are not tough conversations that is an excuse to ignore the real issue. The conversations are mandatory and someone’s life and experiences on the line and it matters to our campus and society. We can, and we will take steps forward instead of back. Be aware of who you are, by using your privilege. Knowledge has the power to create advancements into the workforce, education system, and in social norms. The key to change is through education, to improve the barriers that are being faced today. One can either choose to fight or stay silent. Again, the year is 2021 it is about time to let our differences a side and build relationships that can further create real safe spaces.
Visit DragonCentral to find more upcoming events at MSUM that address equity, justice, advocacy, racism, sexism, and more.