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Diversity Education Week Brings Education, Inspiration, and Celebration to NC State

With 17 events, this year’s Diversity Education Week was an extravaganza of culturally rich and informative presentations, activities, and workshops. Held October 15-19, 2012 and principally organized by OIED Assistant Vice Provost Tracey Ray and Union Activities Board Chair and student Shelby Jones, the week was sponsored by the Office for Institutional Equity and Diversity along with many other NC State groups. This year’s major events included the Ally Rally, These Hands Don’t Hurt, and the centerpiece event, a speaking engagement with actor and producer America Ferrera. (See the full listing in the October 1 issue of the Diversity Digest.)

Adam Ward at 2012 Ally Rally

On Monday at noon, students, faculty, and staff gathered in the Brickyard to celebrate tolerance and declare themselves allies in the struggle for acceptance and equal rights for the GLBTQ community. Remarks were given by student leader Rachel Turner; Dr. Mike Mullen, Vice Chancellor of Academic and Student Affairs; Joanne Woodard, Vice Provost for Institutional Equity and Diversity; Adam Ward (pictured above), Graduate Assistant in the GLBT Center; and Justine Hollingshead, Director of the GLBT Center. Citing the linkage between knowing GLBTQ  individuals and possessing a greater level of acceptance, Vice Provost Joanne Woodard asked the campus community to reach out and get to know one another to promote better understanding and tolerance of those who may be different from ourselves. GLBT Center Director Justine Hollingshead noted that almost exactly one year ago, the campus community came together to decry the hateful vandalism of the GLBT Center. Just last week, artwork created on the eve of National Coming Out Day in the free expression tunnel was painted over with hateful messages. To counteract these incidents, ally rallies have become an annual expression of support at NC State.

Target Diversity Grant Recipients Abdul Hindi and Chase Johnson

Photo: Adbul Hindi and Chase Johnson, Poole College of Management Diversity Peer Educators, receive scholarships from the Target Diversity Grant during the Ally Rally on October 15, 2012.

These Hands Don't Hurt 2012

All day Wednesday, anyone who traversed the Brickyard was welcome to add a handprint to a canvas banner to commemorate These Hands Don’t Hurt (see photo above), an annual event organized by the NC State Women’s Center that demonstrates against interpersonal violence. This event helps draws attention to the problem  as well as the Women’s Center’s wide array of interpersonal violence services, which include the 24-hour anonymous and confidential Relationship and Sexual Violence Phone (RSVP) line: 919-618-RAPE (7273), crisis counseling, assistance services for survivors, and The Movement, a trained group of male and female student activists for the prevention of sexual and relationship violence.

America Ferrara with NC State students

Arriving on Wednesday evening, America Ferrera thrilled students and staff as she posed briefly for photographs before her talk (photo above). After showing a video interview that was captured by TIME Magazine on the final day of filming of the television series Ugly Betty, Ferrera spoke at length about her experience growing up as the daughter of Honduran immigrants, and then with a single mother and five siblings in Los Angeles. With a mixture of youthful spunk and sincere emotion, Ferrera conveyed the message of persevering to find one’s purpose in life and serving the greater good through that purpose. In Ferrera’s case, she has evolved from popular teen actor to participant in films such as Half the Sky, a recent PBS documentary about victims of sex trafficking, forced prostitution, gender-based violence, and maternal mortality and the efforts to overcome them in ten countries. Ferrera ended her talk by exhorting students to tell their diverse stories and work to be heard.

The Office for Institutional Equity and Diversity is pleased with this year’s efforts and hopes that you were able to attend one or more events. As stated by Vice Provost Joanne Woodard, "Diversity Education Week has grown into a ‘signature event’ that effectively engages faculty, staff, and students in meaningful dialogue about how to create safe and respectful working and learning environments through thoughtful discussion of issues of diversity and inclusion. This year's diversity education week has been the best by far with a variety of workshops and educational opportunities offered to the campus community. It has been reaffirming to see the engagement of the NC State community in the myriad activities underscoring the importance of lifelong learning about understanding differences."