Promote inclusivity in discussions, events

Mara Stern, Staff Writer

March 25, 2016

Students gather for a cause. People are loud. Promises are made, and hope for change is alive.

At Guilford, this scene happens frequently. But what happens after the curtains close?

On Feb. 13, students gathered for the “Vagina Monologues.” In the month that has passed since, students have not felt the change in culture that they hoped would come from the powerful event.

The goal of the monologues was to publicly call attention to the experiences of sexual assault, violence, birth and more in a way that promoted empowerment for those that were affected as well as the audience.

However, the boundaries that were pushed at the event may have stopped there.

At Guilford, we try to promote inclusivity and awareness of all experiences. We aim to inspire, empower and grow with the community.

Many issues at Guilford start off like a fire ablaze, but when not kindled correctly, the flame quickly simmers down to ash.

I know that the community cares about this cause, to talk about issues surrounding womanhood and to have open and honest conversations, but the community needs to do more collectively to work toward this goal.

In many club meetings, we see the same people that are passionate about issues facing students and society at Guilford. People that care need to stand up and continue the work that they started in order for a lasting change to be sustained at Guilford.

Furthermore, those that care need to empower others to care just as much.

Seeing the same people time and time again is not a sustainable way to make a lasting change.

“It creates an atmosphere that doesn’t allow for diverse thought,” sophomore and Judicial Affairs chair of Community Senate Ben Levin said. “It creates an impenetrable bubble that people who are outsiders (that don’t usually participate in discussion) find very daunting.”

The reality is that the entire student body needs to equip themselves with the tools to make a lasting change.

The efforts of the Multicultural Education Department, Feminism Redefined and Allied in Multicultural Equality (FRAME), Pride, Sexual Assault Awareness Support and Advocacy (SAASA) and other clubs on campus are not enough without the force of all students behind them.

Events that these clubs organize surrounding equality and gender inclusivity are the foundation to this effort. Specifically, the MED sponsors Understanding Racism Workshops that open eyes to issues society faces, and FRAME has a Body, Mind and Soul Festival focused on body image.

“We were really interested in creating a club that focused on addressing feminism in an intersectional way,” senior Fiona Lloyd-Muller, vice president and co-founder of FRAME, said about the creation and inspiration to form FRAME.

Open and honest dialogue is critical to our community. We need to ask questions and have productive discussions that push boundaries as we learn about each other in ways that would promote greater understanding of different walks of life.

So many things on this campus have changed due to the outcry from students. This issue is one that needs to be pushed further.

That said, Guilford is a leader in many ways in terms of pushing boundaries and creating safe spaces for conversation.

“I have friends at different universities that don’t have these spaces to talk about (sexual assault and gender equality),” said junior and Inter-Club Council chair of Community Senate Amaris Prince.

At Senate meetings, student officials facilitate conversations surrounding the issues that students hoped would come from the monologues, but we can all be doing more to make open and honest dialogues have more of a presence on campus.

“I would love to see groups on campus to all come to these club events and have conversations,” Levin said.

“I think that it’s important for people to step up, to learn from their mistakes”

We all need to be able to lean into discomfort, be unafraid to fail or face difficulty during first attempts at difficult conversations and be able to fight for success.

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