On Oct. 19, a storytelling event on white supremacy was held as part of the Social Justice Solidarity Series, which was started two years ago and is hosted by the Latin America Center at Korbel. Aaron Schneider, a professor in the center for Latin American Studies and Abigail Richards, a second year graduate student at Korbel, served as the leaders of the discussion.
The event’s intention was to create connections between people of different backgrounds and foster dialogue, as well as create action. During the first half of the event, participants were encouraged to share stories and opinions from their own experiences at DU and in the Denver community.
“I’m half white, half Mexican, so it’s always been a toss-up, it’s always been a balancing act in a lot of different spaces,” said one Korbel graduate student. “But I don’t think that I was ever forced to choose in the way that I was forced to choose here in this space and in classrooms.”
While it was labeled as a discussion about white supremacy, the conversation expanded beyond that. Those who spoke during the first half told personal stories about overt racism and aggressions, as well as discussing intersections with gender and class issues.
“I feel like that fear, also, as a woman and the idea of rape culture… those fears, too, come up every time I’m on campus,” said Richards. “Sometimes I feel like I have to choose between being a woman and being black. And there’s never a space where I’m allowed to be both,” she continued.
The group expressed frustration and exhaustion due to the fact that they said it felt like the same people attended events such as these each time, and they wondered about ways to get the rest of campus involved in the conversation.
During the second half of the event, leaders encouraged the attendees to brainstorm what they wanted to use resources for and the best way to move these concerns into concrete actions. Conversation surrounded ideas of required classes that deal with these issues, the new Freedom of Expression Committee at DU, having a voice during orientation information sessions, partnerships in the wider Denver community and a number of other ideas about possible actions in the next few months.
Stay updated with the Latin America Center by checking their Facebook page or contacting the Social Justice Solidarity Community at email@example.com.