The Asian Pacific Islanders Student Association and Black Students Union partnered in conjunction with the Student Alliance bring Bellevue College an event called “Connecting our Cracked Communities.” This event will be held on Monday, February 24 from 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. and will focus on race and ethnicity.
Michael Stewart, marketing and public outreach for APISA was inspired by the Love, Lust and Language event with its open discussions that had an educational series.
Stewart says what he wants the attendees to take away from this event is to get a deeper understanding of different perspectives on the subject of race and how it affects us on a daily basis. “More love, less hate,” he says, adding in the more you learn the more answers you get.
Some of the clubs involved that will be helping with marketing, making the poster and budget include the BSU, APISA, El Centro Latino, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Questioning/Queer, and Allies’ Resource Center, International Student Association and the Business Leadership Community.
There will be open discussions that will be focusing on how race and ethnicity affect us in society. Stewart will be the emcee and the moderators will have expertise with microaggression and racism. Everyone will be sitting around a circle facing in towards the middle area to be on the same level, no one will be “the expert,” Stewart says. Faculty who studied race relations will be in the audience who can elaborate on certain topics associated with racism. Diversity and different generations will also be mixed in since we all experience some sort of racism or prejudices.
The term microaggression is defined as verbal, behavioral or environmental insults that can communicate hostile, derogatory or negative racial insults towards people of color and are usually demeaning assumptions and other subtle insults against minorities and may be perpetrated against those due to gender, sexual orientation and ability status.
Some instances of microaggression are words that are casually said that can be hurtful and be a put-down, says Stewart.
Tradon Jordan, chair of the alliance, says “we recognize the importance of safe spaces and do everything we can to protect them here at Student Programs. However we are using Connecting Our Cracked Communities to debut something new; what we like to call a brave space.”
Jordan says a “brave space” is a place where people can all go to combat many of the stereotypes that continue to divide the community. The Alliance is hoping that by creating this kind of event geared towards open discussions between students, faculty and staff, BC will continue to build bridges over the social cracks and barriers that divide the community. “with the hope that one day we all will be able to enjoy a truly inclusive and unbiased educational experience on a daily basis.”
“For me there is a personal tie to events like this because I see it as fostering change, especially in lieu of MLK week and Black History Month coming up, being able to have some kind of impact in fostering community growth, which is what it is all about,” says Jordan.
The title and posters that will be popping up all over campus around February 11th were designed by Chanel Leverett, Associated Student Government and the Black Student Union operations manager who says the concept of the poster will be broken land that will resemble an earthquake with hands of all different races reaching out of the ground for each other: “they’re disconnected and not together.”