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Cultural awareness week encourages unity

March 28, 2014

Tony Shek / The Courier - Dr. Bruce LeBlanc gives a rousing lecture on homosexuality and queer unity to Monmouth College students as part of Cultural Awareness Week, presented by the Office of Intercultural Life.

Organizations on campus joined together last week for the annual Cultural Awareness Week. This year’s theme, “So We May Know Each Other Better” focused on issues relating to African Americans and LGBTQIA students. The goals of Cultural Awareness Week involve highlighting achievements, relating to diversity and moving forward socially as a campus.

Ruby Pentsil-Bukari, director of intercultural life, explained the purpose of this week at Monmouth College. “It brings awareness to things that we do not always have conversation about. And so it reminds us of our commitment to each other, as roommates, as classmates, as colleagues or alumni mentoring alumni. It brings us around common conversation. We are all moving forward together.”

MPAACT, a performing arts group founded at the University of Illinois, shared knowledge of African American culture with students in Wells Theatre on March 18. This play focused on diversity and African American issues. Following the production, Reginald Lawrence, the director, led a question and answer session with the audience.

The LGBTQIA group on campus, Spectrum, held an event during dinner hours in the cafeteria on March 20. The group aimed to raise awareness for their group and the presentation later that evening given by Rev. Dr. Bruce D. LeBlanc. Hosted by LGBTQIA and the Office of Intercultural Life, LeBlanc discussed the power of words in society in “Understanding LGBT Linguistic Constructs: Your Words Matter.” The presentation promoted messages of equality.

Kayla Cherry, president of Spectrum, explained the importance of this event at Monmouth College. “Cultural Awareness week is crucial because everyone is different. It doesn’t always have to be about ethnicity either. It can be where you grew up or how you interact with others,” Cherry said. “Not everyone thinks of it that way, however.”

The final event of Cultural Awareness Week was Scots Connection Conference: Diversity in the Workplace and aimed to unite alumni and students. Hosted by Monmouth Intercultural Network of Alumni (MINA) in partnership with the Wackerle Career and Leadership Center, this event gave alumni the opportunity to share their experiences in the workplace and to discuss diversity in their careers. Seven alums from varying careers in medicine, education and business were in attendance.

Sophomore Cindy Herrera discussed her experience last Saturday at the alumni conference. “I thought it was a great opportunity to meet alumni who come from a similar background. It was a great experience to have a group of people who truly care about your future and it was also a great opportunity to network,” Herrera said. “Their stories were very empowering and it was surprising to hear about the drastic cultural change on campus throughout the years.”

Cultural Awareness Week is recognized every March at Monmouth College.

Julianna Graf
Contributing Writer

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