The Multicultural and International Student Affairs will be providing a platform for students to discuss interracial issues.
MISA will host an event titled “Courageous Conversations” on Tuesday, Oct. 22 at 5 p.m.
“Courageous Conversations” will be held in the Pennington Student Activity Center in rooms 107 and 108. The event is free for all faculty, staff and students to attend.
Mattie Hawkins, graduate assistant of MISA, explained how “Courageous Conversations” will help those who attend with rational conflicts.
“‘Courageous Conversations’ provides opportunities for effective ways on how to help resolve relational conflicts,” shared Hawkins. “It creates an atmosphere of patient listening that blends the elements of mercy and truth. These conversations are facilitated so that issues aren’t intensified.”
Hawkins shared how the idea has been on campus for decades.
“‘Courageous Conversations’ was a Multicultural and International Student Affairs team event-idea to put on Southeastern’s campus,” explained Hawkins. “The original idea of ‘Courageous Conversations’ came from Glenn E. Singleton in 1992 to effectively engage sustaining and deepening interracial dialogue.”
Hawkins shared what she hopes each student gains from the event.
“Audience members are able to gain wisdom and knowledge of how to see issues from a bigger perspective,” commented Hawkins. “Also, gain an understanding that will establish trust in relationships.”
Carol Madere, professor of communication, explained where she got the idea from to host the event this year.
“I am working on for this three-year period is civility in public discourse,” explained Madere. “As part of my application for the professorship, I proposed hosting three seminars on topics that are hard for people to discuss without getting upset. Last year’s seminar was on religious intolerance.”
With a similar event hosted by MISA last year, Madere shared what the topic of discussion is this year.
“This year, I’m focusing on getting people to talk about race,” stated Madere. “To that end, I asked my friend and colleague, Dr. Elizabeth Hornsby, to partner with me in creating a forum on race moderated by the two of us at which students could express attitudes in a safe space. Dr. Hornsby then asked another colleague from the Department of Communication and Media Studies, Ms. Shawndee Fluker, to co-moderate.”
Madere explained what she thinks are some of the benefits of “Courageous Conversations.”
“I’m very much looking forward to this event, mainly because I really enjoy the opportunity to see the world from someone else’s perspective,” commented Madere. “I recognize that there’s a risk in that. I might have to change my opinion or be more empathetic when I’d really rather be judgmental. Being judgmental and intolerant is a powerful feeling. But the desire to live at peace with the people I share the world with is even more powerful.”
With the event focused around one central question, Madere shared what will be asked for open discussion at the event.
“We’d basically like for participants to answer the question: ‘Dear White/Black People: The one thing I wish you understood about us is …,’” said Madere. “I think people might discuss the Black Lives Matter movement, police brutality, maybe affirmative action, microaggressions, reparations, and maybe whether race relations are getting better or worse.”
For more information on events hosted by MISA, check the organization’s calendar online.