Cultural diversity celebrated through National Hispanic Heritage Month

Whitworth students, faculty and staff celebrated National Hispanic Heritage Month this October. Whitworth brought Nydia Martinez, Ph.D., to campus to lecture about “Honoring Diversity or Ho- mogenizing Identities?”, and held a fair trade festival and invited a taco truck to feed students on campus.

Martinez, a history professor at Eastern Washington University, talked about the terms “Hispanic” and “Latino/a.”

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These terms create homogeneous labels for a diverse group of people, Martinez said. There are Latinos of Afro, Asian and Middle Eastern descent, and that mixed identity breaks the myth of a binary existing in terms of Latino identity, Martinez said.

Although Martinez focused mostly on the history of Mexicans in the U.S., she also touched on the history of Puerto Ricans in the U.S. as well. The U.S. has had a complicated relationship with Mexico. The U.S. calls upon Mexicans to help during times of war, but then push them out after the war and blame the fall of the economy on Mexican immigrants, Martinez said.

“You have to remember how it is this community, how it is they came to this community,” Martinez said, when talking about the platform of undocumented immigration that politicians such as Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio are running on.

While terms like "Hispanic" and "Latino/a" are sometimes misleading labels for those communities, there is political significance and power that comes with the labels, Martinez said.

Martinez also talked about the media and how individuals get their information about Hispanic and Latino/a identities. The media present a homogenized version of what it means to be Latino, Martinez said.

Whitworth’s H.O.L.A. club participated in Hispanic Heritage month by holding their third annual Latino Heritage Festival Oct. 23.

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H.O.L.A. club president Karen Fierro and vice president Celeste Cam- pos spent the past couple of weeks planning to have Patty’s Taco Truck come to campus, inviting vendors to participate in the fair festival and putting together a Ven Bailalo dance event. At the dance, experienced students taught their peers how to dance bachata, salsa and merengue. A photo booth and refreshments were provided at the dance.

The first 50 tacos provided by Patty’s Taco Truck were free. Students lined up outside of Arend to get tacos and burritos even in the cold weather. Junior Lauren Drury attended the event for a burrito.

“I love having the taco truck on campus,” Drury said. “I would love to see more events like this on our cam- pus and I hope Whitworth would get behind those students who want to make it happen.”

ere is importance in having events like this and bringing aware- ness to di erent cultures, especially for minority groups, Campos said. Some clubs such as the Asian Amer- ican Club, the Hawaiian Club and H.O.L.A. Club exist on campus to

bring that awareness into Whitworth. “When learning about a di erent culture you have to be open-minded," Campos said. “Events like the Hispanic Heritage Month Celebration help others be more open-minded and see di erent perspectives that di erent cultures have to o er. I think having di erent perspec-

tives is good, having a perspective that is not just your own.”

e Whitworth community tries to foster support for students who want to bring awareness about other cultures but there could be more support from the students, Campos said.

“It is important that we continually strive to learn more about other cultures because it helps us to better understand each other and to be more compassion- ate in our interactions,” Drury said.

H.O.L.A. meets in Hendrick Hall ev- ery other ursday from 6-7 p.m.

 

Krystiana Morales

Staff Writer

Contact Krystiana Morales at

kmorales17@my.whitworth.edu

The Empathy Project: who tells your story?

The Empathy Project, created last year by senior Bryce Bagley, is an audio storytelling project that seeks to facilitate empathy by sharing people’s unique stories.

Hoping to partner with Whitworth.FM., Bagley is asking students from all backgrounds to record their experiences and stories and share them with the Whitworth community.

“When there’s some group or culture or even just means of identifying a person that we’re prejudiced against, it’s because we’ve never actually encountered real people who are transgender or who are Muslim or atheist,” Bagley said.

It’s a lot harder for an individual to express hate toward a group of people when that individual is presented with a real person from that demographic Bagley said.

“By recording these interviews...we can encourage empathy, because you have a real person that’s attached to this idea,” Bagley said. “It’s not just an abstraction anymore. It’s a human being.”

The reason why Bagley chose to present stories in this way, was inspired by an audio storytelling class that Bagley took last Jan Term, where they listened to podcasts about people’s experiences in life.

“I use audio recordings because there’s so much about the emotion of the story that’s captured in a person’s voice,” Bagley said.

Bagley has interviewed five individuals so far, both people from Whitworth and people he knew before coming to Whitworth, Bagley said.

One of the impacts he hopes to have is people changing their perspective on certain minority groups or underrepresented cultures, Bagley said.

“By being open with people, you learn something about being human, regardless of who you’re being open with,” Bagley said. “My policy with the people I interview is that after I’m done interviewing them, they can ask me any question they want.”

One person Bagley interviewed is sophomore Kai Eder, who said that telling his life story was interesting, because having a third party to help him process through it helped him to see things he hadn’t before.

“It really made me think deeply about if I was the person who truly knew my own story the best,” Eder said.

Eder hopes his story will impact people and change people’s opinions on hard issues, he said.

“I think people will start being a little more mindful of the issues that transgender people or non-binary people have to deal with,” Eder said.

Bagley was impacted by Eder’s interview, he said.

“I had no idea experientially what it meant to be transgender until I talked to Kai,” Bagley said. “It completely opened my mind to what that means to live through that. To live through what it’s like to be a transgender person today.”

The implementation of the project has met with some issues. The people that have been helping with the project have either graduated or not had enough time to work on the project, including Bagley himself.

“I’ve had some setbacks... I can’t do all of it on my own and that’s definitely slowed me down a lot,” Bagley said. “But I really do want to get at least enough inertia set up before I leave that it doesn’t die.”

Bagley said that he hopes the stories will be available to listen to over Whit- worth.FM., but has not yet heard back from the new director of Whitworth.FM.

Bagley’s ultimate goal is to create deeper levels of acceptance and tolerance, he said.

 

Emily Goodell

Staff Writer

Contact Emily Goodell at

egoodell17@my.whitworth.edu

Religious requirements for student leadership limits applicant pool

There is a certain standard that Whitworth University expects from its students, especially from students in leadership positions. As a Christian university, the descriptions of the requirements and duties for a student leader calls the student to demonstrate “responsible behavior personally, academically, and socially both on campus and in the community,” according to the Resident Assistant Selection Process Packet. Fair enough.

Most would agree that this is a reasonable request. But when this code is breached, and a small group coordinator or a resident assistant is fired because of their actions, an interesting question arises. Is there a division between students on leadership at Whitworth University and students that are not?

Members of the Whitworth community know how much effort our university puts into creating diversity across campus, from ethnicity to religion. There is no required faith statement in order to be admitted to Whitworth, and I have many close friends here that are not Christians. While dissecting this question about leadership and student body at Whitworth, I noticed a particularly juicy part of the resident assistant application.

Item “A” of Section II in the resident assistant application reads as follows: “(Serve as a positive role model by) affirming the mission, goals and Christian heritage of Whitworth University.” I have some problems with that.

Do not misunderstand. I am a follower of Christ and I am very grateful for the experiences that I have had at Whitworth in my faith. However, I am also proud of the diversity of thought and belief systems that is – supposedly – fostered at our university. Only, when important campus leaders like resident assistants are required to “affirm the Christian heritage of Whitworth,” some problems are created.

By including this requirement (or any similar requirement) there is a fairly significant population at Whitworth that is ostracized from applying or participating in leadership. Student leadership is supposed to accurately and effectively represent our student body and make informed decisions on the student body’s behalf. This makes me wonder how many students at Whitworth have thought about applying for a leadership position, but decided against it because their religious beliefs or lifestyles don’t fit Whitworth’s requirements. What does that say about the student body at Whitworth?

It says that there are voices at Whitworth that are potentially being quieted. What happens if a Muslim student wants to be a resident assistant? Do they have to help “affirm the Christian heritage of Whitworth”? What about a student that likes to party on the weekends but has a vision for positive change at our university? How do those voices get heard?

I agree that resident assistants in particular should be responsible, well-behaved role models. RAs need to set a positive example for their younger residents. But do they need to be Christians in order to do that? Based on the resident assistant application, it seems that way.

I want you to think about this: Are there groups at Whitworth that have no platform to let their voices be heard? Is it, or is it not appropriate for Whitworth University, a Christian institution, to require their student leaders to adhere to a Christian-based code of ethics? I don’t have the answers, but together as a student body, we do.

 

Max Carter

Columnist

Contact Max at

mcarter16@my.whitworth.edu

President Beck Taylor creates diversity cabinet

Sarah HamanStaff Writer

In response to the increasing demand for more comprehensive cultural education at Whitworth, President Beck Taylor has created a Diversity Cabinet to promote diversity on campus. The Diversity Cabinet will equip Whitworth students to understand why people historically have built up walls against other human beings. The new Diversity Cabinet is composed of representatives from major organizational units across the university and will be chaired by the chief diversity officer Dr. Lawrence Burnley. “The Diversity Cabinet will prepare students to develop the intercultural capacities and the skills of awareness that will allow students to really engage humanity effectively across multiple dimensions of human difference,” Burnley said. The Diversity Cabinet will meet monthly for two hours, on campus, in conjunction with the International Diversity Committee (IDC). The IDC is a representative body of faculty, staff and students that supports strategic diversity-related initiatives throughout the campus community. Within the Diversity Cabinet will be subcommittees trying to fulfill the cabinet’s purpose. “The fruit of our efforts will be providing you with an educational experience that will better prepare you to follow Christ and serve humanity,” Burnley said. The idea that everyone matters inspired the creation of the Diversity Cabinet, Burnley said. “We believe that these processes, if successful, will help further cultivate a more inclusive curriculum that will have students engage scholars that have been marginalized, that are almost invisible to the curriculum,” Burnley said. The blackface incident that occurred at the beginning of September demonstrates a lack of intercultural awareness

that the Diversity Cabinet plans on rectifying by expanding Whitworth’s core educational system. “The incident that happened earlier this month we can see as a failure on our society’s educational system, part by not having it in our core curriculum especially in history courses,” senior Tyler Aguilar said. “History has taken shape by a lot of the events that we do not see in school curriculum, like the culture of blackface isn’t a part of that and that is why we have innocent behavior that can be very offensive,” Aguilar said. “There are faculty and staff from the campus that are doing incredible work in this area,” Burnley said. Faculty and staff are creating the spaces in their reading requirements and in their core curriculum programs where offensive behavior is occurring. The Diversity Cabinet hopes to make this the norm in ways that permeate the campus, Burnley said. “The new Diversity Cabinet is a result of a really complex process that finds its origin in the 2021 strategic plan,” Burnley said. “The purpose of the Diversity Cabinet is to provide an organizational infrastructure that allows for sustainable achievement of diversity-related goals and objectives.” Burnley said. Goal 4 of the 2021 strategic plan called for an office of diversity, but President Beck Taylor decided to create a cabinet rather than an office. “President Taylor was concerned that creating office could silo the work of diversity; he advocated for a distributive leadership model that distributes responsibility rather than isolate it,” Burnley said. Students are also responding well to the Cabinet. “This cabinet is really important to me because, hopefully people will come to be aware that diversity doesn’t just include race.,” junior Camina Hirota said. “Diversity means abilities, sexual orientation, religion. It’s not limited to race, which I feel like a lot of people assume and that’s why they are afraid to talk about it.”