“As nice as it is to have you all here, I probably won’t see most of you after February.”
Kezia Nyarko, junior and president of Trinity Diversity Connection (TDC), said this to a room of over 100 people who attended their event, How To Be An Ally For Black Students at a PWI, earlier this month. Kezia meant that as Black History Month comes to a close, she expects the attendance at TDC events to dwindle.
We are reaching the last week in February, which means that we have a month of programming put on by Black Student Union (BSU) and TDC to reflect on. Students across campus attended the Martin Luther King Jr. March and the Commemorative MLK Jr. lecture by Ijeoma Oluo, as well as events on how to become better allies and spoken word poetry readings. All of these have celebrated African American activists, both past and present, in the hopes of informing this predominately white school on how to better support black students and other people of color.
We should realize that people of color will continue to experience microaggressions and racist acts regardless of what month it is. They will continue to go to class with peers who do not understand the cultures they grew up in. They will continue to face people who don’t understand the need for a safe space for people of color. This is why we must continue to be allies and activists beyond Black History Month.
As students, it’s up to us to determine what our campus climate is going to be for the rest of the year. We have to let our administrators and faculty know what we want for our community and what is unacceptable.
By now, you’ve hopefully taken — or at least heard of — the Campus Climate Survey on Diversity and Equity that was distributed by the Diversity and Inclusion Office last week. That’s one way that you can let your voice be heard and speak up about issues regarding diversity on campus. Another way to continue supporting people of color are attending the events put on by BSU, as well as other cultural organizations on campus. Chances are, if you’re willing to listen, someone will be willing to tell you their story.
Here’s one way to start: Read the guest column on page 8 from Jessica Jennings, where she discusses acknowledging Trinity’s racism both in the past and present. She can tell you in her own perspective better than we can. Another way, read Arianna Siddiqui’s response to the editorial last week below.
As always, you can write to us and share your opinions about issues like diversity on campus. We’d love to hear from you and help facilitate the discussion on campus climate.
The Trinitonian staff is primarily white. We understand this is an issue, and we’re working to fix it. In the meantime, however, it can cause issues.
In our Feb. 8 issue, our executive print editor, Kathleen Creedon, highlighted this desire to become more diverse. She noted that “We need to hire more students who will help our staff better represent the student population.”
Also in that column, Kathleen asked that people reach out to us to tell us how to do better. And they have. Our own social media coordinator, Arianna Siddiqui, approached our executive team to explain the discomfort and disrespect she felt when reading our editorial last week.
The editorial, called “Unity in Politics,” stated that Trinity students should spend more time listening to one another’s opinions and hearing each other out before engaging in divisive debate. However, this emphasis fails to acknowledge the experience of all Trinity students. It comes from a place of privilege — something that, because of our privilege, was overlooked throughout the course of the production of the paper.
We suggested people “take a breath and listen to those with whom you disagree.” Arianna pointed out to us, however, that not everyone has the privilege to do so.
We didn’t intend to be malicious by doing this, but our lack of awareness has led to hurt in the community, and we’d like to apologize.
We want to be a resource for our readers, a public forum. And we can’t do that if we aren’t on the sides of all of our readers or if our readers feel like they are not welcome within our pages.