Stephens College is celebrating diversity next week with panel discussions, service projects, activities and a campus-wide celebration.
Stephens will, as in the past, remain open on Martin Luther King Jr. Day to allow for a focus on programming. Students who would normally be in class on Monday are required to attend at least one of the service events or the evening celebration in honor of Dr. King. The Celebration of Leadership in Honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. will begin at 6:30 p.m. in the Kimball Ballroom of Lela Raney Wood Hall and will be a special evening of performances celebrating individual uniqueness.
As social events play out across the country, the Stephens community will spend Diversity Week—and weeks following—talking about differences, similarities and how people can empathize with those unlike themselves.
“So much is happening at this time in history,” said Ada Gallup, interim director of Leadership, Programming and Diversity. “Everything is coming to a head. People are tired of being marginalized by society. They’re saying, ‘I do matter. I do have a voice. I am important.’ The ground is fertile for these conversations and social changes.”
The time for change is “right in our face,” said Brianna Jackson, president of the Student Government Association.
Today's juniors and seniors were on campus during the last presidential election, and the campus was “booming with conversation,” she said. Since then, though, political dialogues have quieted.
“It's been silent,” she said. “People keep their thoughts to themselves or their friends. The media—whether that be traditional or social—has stirred up a lot of feelings and made people feel a certain type of way. Students are finally ready to open back up and start participating in a change.
“That's what Stephens needs. We as Stephens College and past Stephens Women have been trailblazers, initiators, defenders of human rights, of social advancement, of women since we began. This new generation is finally stepping into what it means to be a Stephens Woman. They are aware, they are ready, they are hungry.”
Emily Cross, president of The Human Experience, agreed.
“This country is at a pivotal moment for civil rights and social consciousness on a wide range of intersecting issues, including race, sexuality and mental health,” she said. “Stephens students have been hungry for a chance to be heard, and Diversity Week gives us the perfect opportunity to tell our stories. I hope everyone finds a chance to tell their story and to listen to others this week, but above all, I hope everyone has one moment where they realize they aren’t alone.”
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