Diversity Day unifies and celebrates participants

By CHRISTIAN TRIANA
On October 4, 2017

Photo by Hope Patti

For one student, it was a chance to learn about different cultures. For another, it was about representing her heritage. And for another, celebrating differences among the various cultures represented by Ramapo students was at the top of the list.

This year’s Diversity Day drew people hailing from all backgrounds and ethnicities who came together with the sole purpose of meeting one another and learning about one another.

Tables representing different clubs and organizations stretched across the Arch and Grove on Wednesday, each offering a unique experience to those who stopped by, ranging from games like Snakes and Ladders at one table to getting henna tattoos at another.

To just about everyone there, the event seemed to hold its own special meaning.

To Makayla Zable, a freshman and international studies student, Diversity Day meant “the opportunity to learn about different cultures that aren’t similar to [her] own.”

Juliette Mclean, a junior music production major, was representing the Ebony Women for Social Change.

“Being present here at Diversity Day is important because we want to make sure we are represented here on campus and that our identities are being supported,” she said. “Being here is important because we can support other identities and be a better community because of that.”

Junior Kate Bahaj, the Secretary for Diversity Inclusion for the SGA, said that while at Ramapo we may like to think of our campus as rather diverse, there is still a lack of representation.

“Our purpose this year was identity through unity,” said Bahaj. “We do have a lot of similarities, and our differences make us all unique.”

Bahaj argued that the campus needs to truly be there for its students, and to represent the diversity within it. It needs to not only offer a helping hand, but a true sense of acceptance as well. She also made a point about how the issue is much bigger than our campus, saying, “It isn’t just a Ramapo thing honestly.”

This has been a trying year for all of America, especially minority students in the United States of America. Diversity Day this year was not just a fun event where everyone can come together, but also an important one to help ease the worries of students and let them know that they are all welcome here.

Tamika Quick, the Assistant Director of Diversity and Equity Programs at Ramapo, expressed these sentiments.

“More than ever, it’s a time where we all need to come together and have a conversation. Fellowship with one another,” she said. “That way while we are bombarded with everything that is going on in the news, and on the outside, we can reflect on the people that we have here that create a sense of community.”

Quick went on to encourage students to step out of their comfort zone and to talk to other students that come from a different background than themselves.

“Be willing to take off the uncomfortability with some of the things going on in our country,” she concluded. “Be willing to ask that question that might be a little bit hard, and be willing to open your ears to see what someone's answer might be.”

ctriana@ramapo.edu

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