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Multicultural Student Life: Diversity Dialogue Series

Diversity Dialogue Series:

While these dialogues typically take place in person, we transitioned to a virtual format this fall. This is a dialogue series that provides students, staff, and faculty the opportunity to come together in dialogue about marginalized identities, difficult dialogue, and building unity and community at UTK.

The Diversity Dialogue Series & Diversity Dialogue Symposium help to promote student learning by:

  • Engaging students in conversations and dialogue around better understand their own identity, culture, and heritage while seeking to learn more about others
  • Practicing effective communication with diverse populations
  • Confronting prejudice by promoting multicultural sensitivity
  • Identify needs and interconnectedness of multicultural societies

 

Learning Outcomes:

After participating in the Diversity Dialog Series Students should be able to:

  • Compare the information provided during the Diversity Dialogue Symposium to determine how the sessions relate to one another.
  • Employ the information relayed about voting to make concrete voting plans.
  • Define how systemic change is necessary to maintain change over time.
  • Indicate how communities of color have been affected by COVID-19, health care systems, and the justice system
  • Articulate the needs and interconnectedness of multicultural societies
  • Engage in difficult dialogue surrounding topics of identity, systemic oppression, and voting

 

Assessment Responses:

From the Diversity Dialogue Symposium students reported takeaway items based on a presentation titled “Slavery Never Ended: Mass Incarceration in the United States”:

 

  • “Systemic change is necessary as personal change is not enough, our prison systems functions like modern slavery, and acts as voter suppression”

 

  • “Community outreach centers would defund police, Democracy is based on freedom, and all men deserve power and intelligence”

 

  • “There is a long history of prison abolition, racism is deeply ingrained in our system, and movement away from our system is necessary”

 

  • “Mass incarceration is a system that enforces white supremacy and prison time is often a common penalty for minimal crimes”

 

  • “Our current systems disproportionality affect persons of color”

 

  • “I can continue to educate myself and join abolitionist efforts to make a change”

 

  • “I can get in touch with local organizations and resources that were listed in the PowerPoint to see how I can be an ally to them”

 

  • “I can support movements dedicated to eradicating a cash bail system”

 

From the Diversity Dialogue Symposium session titled “We Live on Stolen Land & History Rewrote This” students reported:

 

  • “I took away more information the history of the University and how we got our land. There are different dialects of Cherokee. There are many ways we can act as students and adults to increase awareness”

 

  • “There is a burial Mound right here on campus. I learned how UT got the land and the money. There is a student group, NASA, on campus” – (NASA= Native American Student Association)

 

  • “Land Grant Universities mean land grab. UT has a site built by Indigenous people. I learned ways we can support Indigenous people and culture”

 

  • “I will push for leadership of my own major (WGS) to include more Indigenous narratives. Also, spread the word about our history”

 

  • “I will begin to educate myself more on local indigenous history”

 

From the Diversity Dialogue Symposium session titled “Xenophobia, Asian Americans, & COVID-19” students reported:

 

  • “Minorities have similar experiences in the US, Asians are least likely to get promoted, and that finding common group is important”

 

  • “Raising awareness is the first step to creating change, misinformation is a major reason for Xenophobia, 1/7 Asian people in the US are undocumented”

 

 

  • “Xenophobia happens in Knoxville, cultural immersion and exposure an fight the fear of the unknown that drive Xenophobia”

 

  • I can move diversity forward by “speaking up with seeing a racially charged interaction, and also immersing myself in cultures”

 

  • “I can continue to educate for and create awareness for the struggles Asian Americans (and all BIPOC) face on my platforms

 

  • “ I can reflect on my own experiences with xenophobia, and how much of that has become internalized”

 

 

From the Diversity Dialogue Symposium session titled “Public Health in BIPOC Communities” students reported:

  • “There is a high rate of infant death and illness in marginalized communities. I learned how we can do better”

 

  • “Racism plays a part in some minorities not receiving the best health care.”

 

  • “I will strive to not approach conversations about racism in a good or bad binary, potentially alienating the person I am trying to speak to”

 

From the Diversity Dialogue Symposium session titled “Your Vote Does Matter” students reported:

  • “ I took away the importance of media and how to weed out inaccurate information”
  • Your vote counts, you have to register to vote by Oct. 5th, and use local news sources”

 

  • “Diversify the media outlets you get information from, don’t focus on one issue when choosing a candidate, VOTE!”

 

  • “It is what people do with the media, not the media itself, we need to find a candidate and hold them accountable, and votes matter”

 

  • “Make sure to check who owns the news source that you’re getting your news from”

 

  • “Utilize multiple sources for media, finding a candidate that totally aligns with you 100 percent is not likely, local news sources can be good”

 

  • “When thinking of a candidate, don’t only focus on the issues that directly affect you, but issues that affect others in your community”

 

  • “I will make sure to research the news I’m seeing online and challenge narratives accordingly with facts”

 

From the Diversity Dialogue Symposium session titled “Black Patriotism, White Nationalism, and the Struggle for America’s Soul” students reported:

 

  • “The struggle for racial justice in the United State is a continuous one- We must exercise our right to vote every chance that we get”

 

  • “it is both scary and insane how history has repeated itself and continues to do so”

 

  • “I will continue to educate myself on recognizing signs of supremacy and being active in dismantling it by voting and having a difficult dialogue with folx”