The Black Student Union (BSU) will kick off its “Let’s Talk About It” event, that’s open to both NMU students and the Marquette community, to further spread the message of diversity at 7 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 23 in 1320 Jamrich Hall.
The group holds three discussions a semester and the turnout is usually rather large. The event itself provides a safe space for people to be able to talk about diversity related issues with an array of topics in the form of lecture, PowerPoint and an open floor discussion, giving the audience a chance to respond using their personal experience and thoughts, said BSU Adviser Rachel Harris.
“With 190 countries in the world and 7 billion people on the Earth, there are so many diverse cultures and so much to learn about the world. There are no shortage of issues to talk about,” Harris said.
“It’s personally enriching and has a powerful impact with those who attend.”
Upcoming topics to be discussed this semester include Differed Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), hurricanes and ongoing race-related issues. The event was created over two years ago when the former president of BSU approached Harris.
Former President Jeulani Gahiji started the discussion forum during the time of the Mike Brown murder pertaining to race relation. Having a small class discussion, she thought it should be talked about on a larger scale. This would give others a safe haven to talk and share their opinions without stepping on the toes of others, Elijah Lemard, volunteer chairman of BSU, said.
“Diversity drives the culture of a school. In a lot of circumstances, primarily race or one segment of any culture, you’re not going see much change or discussion on anything that could seem dynamic, Lemard said.
Opportunities for other people to voice themselves wouldn’t be present if not for diversity, he added.
Sometimes the word “diversity” causes anxiety because people are cautious and don’t want to offend others. But this is an open door, non-judgement event, Harris said.
BSU President Bianca White said, “It’s a great opportunity for teaching,” adding, “It gives everyone an opportunity to learn something different. Your education gets more broad rather than staying so narrow.”
The event benefits not only African American students, but students of all races, giving them a chance to learn and hold a conversation with people who are different than themselves, Harris said.