Friday, October 15, 2021

Be active in promoting understanding

January 28, 2014

This is more of a call to engage than an opinion column. This is an honest inquiry — a challenge, a request, an invitation, a plea, a motion — to act.

This is an open mind. This is a youthful heart in search of healing, understanding, clarity and truth. This is a growing desire to learn, to listen, to respect and to feel. This is a hand extending, an arm reaching, a voice speaking out.

This is more than an opinion. This is about resisting intolerance. This is about overcoming prejudices and judgments. This is about advancing consciousness. This is about cultivating unity.
This is not solely about me. This is not strictly about you. This is entirely about us all and our existence together. This is about solidarity. This is about peace.

I am member of Black Student Alliance, and one reason why I love the organization is because its mission rests heavily upon encouraging and establishing unity. Although Black Student Alliance is frequently labeled as an isolationist, exclusive entity, that has never been the case.

What is seldom talked about or reported is our commitment to and celebration of multiculturalism. We rarely get the opportunity to discuss the growth and learning we receive from attending and supporting events such as Brown Pride, which is a Hispanic cultural event sponsored by Culturas de las Razas Unidas.

We rarely get to talk about the overwhelming joy and laughter we share with diverse peoples at cultural pageants and fashion shows. We rarely get to discuss the deep spiritual connections we experience after fellowshipping and partaking in Native American dances and traditions. We rarely get to talk about how heartwarming it is to see those communities support and align with us. We strive to instill that commitment to diversity and multiculturalism not only in our community, but in all communities.

The truth is we all can strengthen our social and cultural awareness. We all can tell a story, make a friend, attend a cultural program, read a blog, take a course on race and identity, broaden our perspectives, recognize shared experiences, lend a hand, join a diverse study group, share a smile, engage in deep conversation, examine our biases, let them go, volunteer, become uncomfortable, fight for equality, fight for justice, fight for peace, demand change, work harder, believe stronger, take a stand, stand together.

We can all do these things, no matter if we are a part of Black Student Alliance, Native American Indigenous Student Organization, Women’s Council, Arab Cultural Society, Spartan Armed Forces, International Students Association, Campus Interfaith Council, Alliance of Queer and Allied Students, Asian Pacific American Student Organization, Jewish Student Union, Culturas de las Razas Unidas or the many more wonderful student organizations on campus.

This is about doing.

Don’t be afraid to step outside of your comfort zone or traditional group to find out what students across campus are working to change. Student groups host a variety of events on campus, and MSU even offers classes to give us the chance to learn more about multiculturalism. The university also has created a framework with initiatives such as Project 60/50 and Live It for students of all racial and ethnic backgrounds to engage in. It is imperative that we utilize this atmosphere collectively and wholly.

Let’s talk more. Let’s do more. Let’s grow more. Let’s act more. Let’s engage. Let’s understand race and gender and religion and class and sexual orientation. Let’s work together to counteract an overarching regime of inequity in our world.

Rashad Timmons is a journalism junior and Resident Halls Association Representative for the Black Student Alliance. Reach him at timmon18@msu.edu.

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