Celebrating diversity

Written by: Mirella Barrera-Betancourt

April is National Celebrate Diversity Month, a month serving as a period of recognition and observance for the beauty of the world’s unique backgrounds, diverse customs and traditions. 

On Apr. 28, 2023, Western’s Freedom Center will be celebrating the month through a community event, in collaboration with a few clubs and organizations on campus. 

The Freedom Center was opened in the Werner University Center in 2021, and was designated as the campus lounge and hang-out spot for students of color, as well as students of various ethnicities. Moreover, the mission of the Freedom Center is to expand cultural diversity and competency among students on campus and also to serve as an instant student-led advising center for students.

Anali Godinez-Martinez is the co-director of the Freedom Center, alongside Malia Fernandez. 

Martinez identifies as Mexican-American, which allows her to see the month as a beautiful opportunity to become in touch with — not only her culture and heritage — but with the cultures around her and of her peers.

“I think that (diversity month) is honestly such a beautiful month if you take the time to learn about other cultures and (the) backgrounds of other people,” said Martinez. ​​“Maybe you don’t, like, realize how diverse our campus is, and so (the month) is just a good way to get different perspectives and come together.”

The event is scheduled to take place in the Grove on campus — outside, adjacent to Ackerman Hall — and will function as a chill hangout for students, allowing them the opportunity to engage and learn more about the featured clubs and organizations attending the celebration. As of Apr. 18, the organizations featured in the line-up of the celebration include the Multicultural Student Union, Stonewall Center and the Black Student Union. There will be music, as well as entertainment in the form of outdoor table games specific to each club and organization.

Furthermore, the event provides an opportunity for student artists to showcase their artwork. If students were interested in submitting artwork for the showcase, all they had to do was fill out and complete a Google Form. The form has since closed.

Martinez said, “We wanted to give the opportunity for students to showcase artwork that either ties into their cultural background or just any intersectional identity.”

During the event, attendees will be free to walk around the displayed stands showcasing student artwork. 

There is no exact scheduled time for the showcase. The event is merely set to run from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m on Apr. 28.

Contact the author at howlnews@wou.edu