Forum Continues “We Are Calvin [too]” Campaign


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On Tuesday, members of the We Are Calvin [too] movement hosted a panel discussion to continue the conversation about race at Calvin.

Local pastor Razel Jones, manager of diversity and inclusion programs for Calvin’s human resources department, hosted the forum, and three students and three faculty members sat on the panel.

After the students published a tumblr sharing their experiences as minorities at Calvin, and continued their stories in a feature last week, they wanted to follow up the conversation.

Rachel Mason and Tonisha Begay, two founding members of the movement explained their inspiration for starting the movement:

Razel Jones echoed the importance of paying attention to student experiences:

The panel took questions from the audience and shared their own experiences. They discussed how to report incidences of racism and how to encourage more diverse leadership on campus — one of the goals of We Are Calvin [too].

Junior Kathryn (Kat) Knox said she felt discrimination in the dorms:

One question in many minds after reading the tumblr and the stories was: Where do we go next?

Senior Virginia Lodge said students experiencing racism should not be afraid to speak up. Even though the conversation might be “awkward and painful,” she said, discrimination should be addressed.

Knox said that campus leadership should undergo training not only to increase their cultural competence, but to enable them to be a resource for other students. In her experience as a Knollcrest East RA, she said, leadership was not adequately prepared to lead diverse students.

The panel also offered advice and encouragement to those seeking to be more welcoming to their neighbors. Sociology professor Lissa Schwander said,

Knox, Lodge and sociology professor Mark Mulder also weighed in.

In closing, music professor Joel Navarro shared his advice: when creating genuine relationships, “Practice makes perfect.”