Diversity week shows importance of backgrounds


Jenna Bowman

Lizz Barnes, a part of the revolutionary diversity group in Evansville hopes for positive change and not negative at the Rally for Diversity Friday afternoon.

Susanna Fravell, Staff Writer

There’s a wide variety of people from different backgrounds at USI. 

The Census Bureau reports that at least 350 different languages are spoken every day in America and a study has found that a person interacts with someone whose first language isn’t English at least once a week. 

This past week was Diversity Awareness Week and USI had three events: Who Wants to be a Disabilities Expert, Bingo! You’re Included, and Whiteout: Understanding History Through a  Racial Lens.

“Basically the whole talk was just bringing awareness and making things more understandable in such a complex and difficult situation,” Sophomore History major Sarah Hannesson said.

The first event was on Oct. 21 and was about learning about disabilities. Americans with Disabilities Act Coordinator Doug Goeppner spoke at the event and informed the participants about disabilities, common myths, and common courtesy when interacting with a person with a disability.

The second event was Bingo! You’re Included and was on Oct. 22. This event was where participants would play bingo with cultural terms in an attempt to win prizes. The participants were given a definition and had to mark off the corresponding word on their bingo card. 

The third was event on Oct. 24 and was the Whiteout: Understanding History Through a Racial Lens. This event was about understanding race, racism, and understanding how many opportunities white people have gotten, and how some people have been blinded by their race. 

Hannesson said one thing that stuck with her was just being aware of the privileges she was given just because of her race.

The speaker at the event was Art Munin. Munin grew up in the south side of Chicago in a middle-class neighborhood. Even though Chicago is a large, diverse city, there was a lot of racial segregation. 

Munin wanted to share his perspective on the whiteout of America. He wanted to tell people about his experience of growing up and having to deal with racism and discrimination. 

Munin spoke about the Kent State shooting that happened in1970. The shooting occurred because college students were protesting the bombing of Cambodia during the Vietnam War. Four students were killed and nine were injured when the Ohio National Guard opened fire on the crowd of protesters.  

The Kent State shooting symbolizes the division of public opinions regarding war. A lot of people weren’t happy when they found out that President Nixon had authorized the invasion of Cambodia without notifying the Secretary of State or Defense Secretary. 

That decision sparked outrage because many people believed President Nixon illegally increased America’s involvement in the Vietnam War by not seeking consent through voting.

“I think it’s very important to remember that White has not only been the suppressing race, it’s also played a role in suppressing others,” Hanneson said after learning about the Kent State shooting.“I think it’s important to be aware of diversity, you’ll have a better understanding of the world around you, from not just one point, but from multiple points to get the whole story.”