Last year’s multicultural assembly was a stunning feat as it noted the importance of valuing those who may have a unique upbringing or heritage compared to the majority of us here on campus. This year’s assembly is expected to be no different and will prove once again that promoting diversity is vital to not only our school but the entire world.
Without these reminders set by this assembly and other discussions present in clubs like Embrace and several of our student unions, students would not have the opportunity to truly encounter a world outside of their own besides the interactions they have within the classroom. The realization that diversity is something that needs to be not just acknowledged but accepted and understood in this country is a lesson we all could take a few pointers from.
As we continue to focus on the Holy Cross core value of family this year, we recall how our relationships have grown here on campus and how our differences have truly been the building block for a school culture that intends to encompass all races, all sexualties, and all backgrounds.
Once we build these relationships with others that may be different from us, we can truly see the beauty in all cultures, and we have the opportunity to step outside of our own culture for a short time.
Lately, with the madness that is occuring in the White House and elsewhere in the District of Columbia, it may seem that we sometimes forget to value the relationships between other cultures and even lose a sense of what it means to connect. The problem with this is that we can then begin to form divisions and walls (and not the ones that Mexico isn’t paying for) that close us off from the reality of the world and the reality of other cultures.
This is not only dangerous for people of other cultures, but it is dangerous to our perception of the truth. We may begin to believe that our culture is the only culture that matters, shutting down any chance of relations with cultural ideas distant from that of our own.
You might consider this to be not dangerous until you see the hatred that comes from forgetting about our neighbors, whether they be right next door or miles away.
It’s not about converting to a new culture or turning away from your own, it’s about accepting the new ideas that come from people who have different viewpoints and perspectives on the world. In this acceptance, we truly become an open-minded society, a society with the ability to see past differences and realize that we all are human beings.
This past summer, we saw the effects of turning someone away and losing a valued member of our community and our family. We heard the cries of others who looked down upon us for our decision, despite it being a forced one.
That decision, despite its negative consequences, taught us a valuable lesson about embracing others. The forced removal of one of our teachers reminded us that no one should be turned away because the instant that occurs, we call into question our values. When we begin to turn away from others, we begin to feel the heat of the fire and start to isolate ourselves from the beauty that all of our unique qualities and personalities provide.
We thank Mr. Ken Barlow ‘82 and and all those involved with Monday’s assembly for all their hard work putting together this year’s program, which will focus on Latino culture.
We wish Mr. Joshua Payne-Elliott could be here, but it’s in his name that we remember to fight for equal treatment and recognition of all cultures and differences.