From mandatory diversity training to the Black Excellence Series, Salisbury University is taking action to promote racial inclusivity on campus.
Kaylon Blake, the host of the Virtual Speaker Series, outlined various ways racial exclusion is ingrained within our society. Acknowledging the problem is the first step in ensuring that the problem does not continue.
Blake stated that as the future leaders of society, we must speak up and defend our fellow constituents experiencing racially motivated microaggressions from their peers. By acknowledging the problem, we can keep the conversation going.
“It’s not what we do once in a while that shapes our lives. It’s what we do consistently,” Blake urged participants.
Blake recognizes the steps SU is taking to promote racial inclusion but states we must take additional actions to ensure our continuous progression.
“We have to make sure everyone has a seat at the table, within the institution,” Blake said.
We must acknowledge marginalized groups on campus and ensure they have a voice. The institution must take active measures to ensure that marginalized individuals feel valued on our campus.
“The institution has to create opportunities where students can talk about things that are impacting them and how they feel,” Blake suggested.
Through the establishment of recurring forums, students can express concerns about racial diversification. By allowing this form of expression, participants can understand a variety of differing perspectives.
The Center for Student Involvement and Leadership’s construction of this Virtual Speaker Series is an excellent step in the journey towards embracing diversity. Students in the seminar reacted positively to Blake's discussion and indicated the necessity to participate in these conversations.
“Through this [series], I was able to embrace a lot of what Blake was speaking on … [Blake] has a sort of energy that makes it easy and fun to follow,” Junior Damien Hamler stated at the seminar.
Students have a responsibility to promote acceptance throughout campus. To ensure that students take steps to promote inclusion, Blake created a three-pronged test.
The first test is to ask yourself, “What do you need to stop doing?”
Take a step back and evaluate your actions. Think of previous conservations, liked posts on Twitter and jokes between friends. Did they hold racially demeaning sentiments? Use these interactions to evaluate your mistakes and learn from them.
The second test is to ask yourself, “What should you continue doing? What can you improve?”
Allow yourself to utilize interactions that reflect your multicultural competence and apply them to future situations.
Also acknowledge your reaction to racial microaggressions; identify ways in which you can improve your racial inclusivity and apply it to future interactions.
The third test is to ask yourself, “What do I need to start doing?”
In this final step, you must acknowledge your past faults. Through this acknowledgment, you can identify what actions you need to take in the future.
“In order to keep the conversation going, all of the students have to make sure we connect with each other and the people that are different from us,” Blake said.
There is no step-by-step guide for racial inclusivity. These questions provide the framework, but the real work lies with the individual. Take steps to promote diversification and never stop the conversation.
By STEPHANIE RIVERA
Gull Life editor
Photo Credit: Center for Student Involvement and Leadership’s.