My mission is to provide the communications skills nonprofits need to better aid the communities they serve. If you find yourself wondering why, here is my story.
Growing up in a rural white town leaves a lot of room for ignorance. As it turns out, when only white people are around, there isn’t much of an incentive to talk about race beyond slavery and how MLK “fixed” everything. I grew up knowing racism (and other forms of oppression) were wrong, but not understanding how these different forms of oppression still exist in our society today.
Words are powerful. Silence can be even more powerful.
It wasn’t until I decided to join the Multi-Racial Unity Living Experience (MRULE) as a freshman—I knew I needed some diversity in my life—that I started hearing people of color talk about their own experiences. At MRULE, student leaders would facilitate weekly roundtable discussions (RTDs) on topics ranging from homelessness to sexuality to institutional racism. It was through a genuine community that I began learning, and I still remember light bulbs going off in my head throughout the year.
In the midst of seeing the world in radically new ways, I realized how much this intercultural work meant to me. I decided to apply as an Intercultural Aide, so I could facilitate MRULE roundtable discussions as well. My learning began to accelerate even more as I surrounded myself with co-workers who cared about social issues.
I will never fully understand certain social issues and no one perspective is representative of a whole sub-population. I still have more to learn today. Knowing the importance of lifelong learning, I desire to provide the communications skills nonprofits need to better aid the communities they serve. As such, I have invested my time improving my writing, editing, design, web management, and artistic abilities through classes, jobs, and personal projects.
Now I use my talents to foster spaces of understanding in my work and personal life. At MRULE, I have enjoyed facilitating conversations about social issues with fellow Intercultural Aides. I have written and performed poetry about dehumanization, mental health, and my own white privilege. I have completed a public demonstration by painting all day in Wells Hall, encouraging conversation about the Black Lives Matter movement via sticky notes, prompts, and a space to talk. I enjoy attending cultural events such as Brown Pride, the Black Power Rally, and Satrang. I founded MSU Project 1:17 with some friends, an organization seeking to glorify God through unity in diversity via community building and educational opportunities. Most importantly, I have deeply enjoyed the many friendships I’ve made at MSU, because I know that a lot of problems in the world will never change until we begin joining together as one interconnected community.