The Center for Community and Diversity (CDC) hosted its first Students of Color Panel to discuss issues stemming from systemic racism both on and off campus.
Panelists answered prepared questions as well as audience questions from in the room and from the event’s Facebook Livestream. Ashley Charlie, the moderator of the event, said these issues have always been present, and that the panel was needed to inform the USD community.
“I do think current events did kind of push (the panel) even more, with everything that’s been going on on-campus and in the world, but I think the panel was going to happen regardless,” Charlie said.
The panel discussed issues surrounding race identity, the Black Lives Matter movement and ways for students to talk about race issues. Panelist Shanice Hall said for white students who want to discuss these issues and cause change, they need to be respectful and educated on what they want to discuss.
“In order for us to get to that level of inclusion and support, you have to talk about it,” Hall said. “If there’s something that you want to speak on, speak on it. Be open, be respectful, be assertive, but make sure that you have the facts to speak on it, and be careful how you talk about it.”
Charlie said she thinks the event will get more people involved and informed about these issues, and that panels like this will happen again in the future.
“Students, administrators and faculty come and go, so you hear new experiences from different people all the time, and I do believe this may be a yearly event,” Charlie said.
The main goal of the panel, Charlie said, was to create a dialogue to help people understand some of the racial issues in the world so future generations don’t have to live with them.
“We have to listen, understand it and digest it in order for us to move on to solutions. I feel like the main goal was to get people in that room and have this conversation … to have people get out of their own mindsets and walk in someone else’s shoes,” Charlie said. “I understand you can’t always do that, but if you have an open mind, it helps.”
In a previous version of this story, The Volante mistakenly stated the Students of Color panel was put on by the Cultural Wellness Coalition (CWC) instead of the Center for Diversity and Community (CDC). The Volante regrets this error.