Kalamazoo College students host two forums this week focusing on race and ethnicity on the K campus.
“Konsciousness” (Wed. March 4, 7PM, Banquet Room, Hicks Student Center) is a structured discussion open to K students, faculty, and staff to hear what students talk about and experience on campus regarding race and ethnicity.
“Stories You’ve Never Heard Before” (Thu. March 5, 7:30PM, Connable Recital Hall, Light Fine Arts Building) is a “Think Tank” event also open to K students, faculty, and staff, that will allow young men of color on campus to tell their stories.
These two events are not open to the general public.
“Konsciousness” grew out of an independent study course that K seniors Asia Morales and Bronte Payne had with Assistant Professor of English Shanna Salinas, Ph.D. Asia and Bronte will facilitate Wednesday’s discussion.
“As students, we believe there has been a severe lack of physical space to have difficult conversations such as this one,” Asia and Bronte wrote in a Feb. 24, 2015 editorial in The Index, K’s student newspaper (www.thekzooindex.com/konsciousness-seeks-to-understand-race). “Our hope is that in providing this space, we as a community can take steps forward together on important issues which affect all of us.”
In their editorial, Asia and Bronte state that students will be at the center of the discussion, with faculty and staff forming a silent audience, with the opportunity to submit written questions to students.
“We have chosen this format because we feel strongly that this will serve as an opportunity for faculty and staff … to hear what students are talking about and what students are experiencing on this campus outside of the classroom and the office.”
“Stories You’ve Never Heard Before” is sponsored by the K student organization Young Men of Color (https://reason.kzoo.edu/ymc). In an email invitation to the campus community, they stated that they invite students, faculty, and staff, to “Come hear the unique experiences we have gone through both in our communities and on K’s campus.
“We would like to share our perspectives and life experiences with the campus community to spark productive dialogues among our peers, administration, and faculty and staff, as well as help our campus community gain a better understanding of our identity as young men of color.”
Young Men of Color, according to their mission statement, “seek to provide the leadership that establishes a safe space of brotherhood, social support, and a common sense of fellowship on campus. Through these collaborative efforts we will unite the young men of color while encouraging internal accountability, eradicating negative stereotypes at large, and inducing academic excellence.”