Audrey Tchaa –
Diversity and inclusivity have been huge topics on campus and are being discussed in and out of classrooms. On March 8, the first Diversity and Intersectionality Conference Experience, also known as D.I.C.E., was hosted by a wide variety of student organizations on campus. Alejandra Bustos, the organizer of this event, sheds more light on how D.I.C.E. came to be.
The event itself had eight workshops and two keynote speakers, Phyllis Braxton and Denise Frohman. There were three breakout sessions where students could choose between the eight workshops available and learn more about diversity and intersectionality. Phyllis Braxton was the first keynote speaker and talked about the identities that we own and how we should be proud of who we are as people. Denise Frohman, the second keynote speaker, showcased her spoken words about diversity and her experiences as a poet. This discussion unfolded her story as a Latina woman who is also a part of the LGBTQIA+ community.
“D.I.C.E. is a one-day event to try and enhance people’s views and understanding of the value of diversity and inclusivity. Intersectionality doesn’t just affect one person, it affects everyone. We all experience types of oppression based on our gender, race, age, class, etc.,” said Bustos.
The event was open to the entire campus, including faculty and staff both on and off campus. Many of the topics that were addressed in these workshops include white privilege and how it hurts others, different communities on campus, oppression and practicing self-acceptance. The turnout was about 160 people in attendance, from students and faculty on campus to different universities that came to support this conference.
Bustos had the idea to create this conference and make it happen because she was moved by the peace march that Your Turn, Stout held this year. She felt it was appropriate to follow up the peace march with this event because there are still unanswered questions out there. These questions revolve around racism, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, and even oppression.
This conference was hosted by Latinos Unidos (LU), Black Student Union (BSU), Hmong Stout Student Organization (HSSO), Native American Student Organization, Gender and Sexuality Alliance (GSA), the International Relations Club and Your Turn, Stout. This is the first time all of these student organizations collaborated to host an event.
“I feel it’s important because we have five different organizations that represent a minority community on campus that aren’t being respected. It’s basically a way to speak up and get rid of the stubbornness and thoughts of it being one-sided. It’s also taking away that stigma about certain groups and topics on and off campus,” said Bustos.
Being that this conference followed up the Peace March, it’s a reminder to all that the Peace March is about unity. This conference showed just that and was successful in Bustos’ eyes. She hopes to continue the Diversity conference, but because she’s on track to graduate next semester, she’s hoping to find someone to pass the torch and run it next year.