A Cross-Cultural Committee Panel Discussion/by Marquisha Mathis

When you’re given the opportunity to speak on a certain topic, you kind of just want to sit with it for a moment to see if it’s real or not. You think about the topic for days. You ponder it, until you can’t anymore.

I’m a member of the cross-cultural committee at MC. I signed on to the committee in the spring with the idea of speaking up and giving my opinion on things that are happening in the world, as well as working towards including every culture that exists on this campus.

My first thought when asked what kinds of ideas I had coming into this committee was that we ask questions. I think people sometimes have a hard time asking questions that they want answers to because they don’t know how to ask, or they’re afraid they may say the wrong thing.

However, if you genuinely want to know the answer then ask it. The cross-cultural committee held its first event on Aug. 27 at 7 p.m. on Zoom, where there were more than 90 students and faculty in attendance. I remember getting the call from Sammie Corson, who’s over the committee, asking me if I wanted to be on the panel.

I was excited. I was finally able to go in front of MC students and give my take on what it’s like for me as an African American living in the world today. So, from the day I got the call until the time of the event, I was preparing for my moment. I was getting ready to tell my story.

I got the questions that students wanted the answers to, such as minimizing your white privilege, how to approach someone that may offend you with a racial comment, and my experiences at MC when it comes to diversity inclusion. I was honored to answer these; however, there was this one that stuck out to me, and I kept going over it multiple times in a day because I wanted to make sure I answered it right for myself. 

The question read, “Why do you think it took so long for the topic of racial injustice to be recognized so widely?” I spent time on this one because I knew it was one of the most important ones on the list. 

From what I can remember, my response was to sit  with it and see how it made me feel. We’ve come a long way from where we were years ago, but we still have a long way to go. The main thing that I want to point out is that people are finally noticing that there is a problem. We’re finally coming together in a way that will support those of us that are hurting instead of sitting by and watching.

I felt so proud of myself. Of my moment, which I prepared myself for. I’m still taking in every aspect of it there was. I was on a panel about “Race Relations in the U.S.” I was a part of a group of people who all wanted the same thing as me. We had a discussion, which is the start of a new beginning. 

We had some questions that may have been tough for us to answer, but we did our best to do it justice. The thing that needs to be remembered is if you have a question, ask it, because at the end of the day, what the panel represented was, “We The People.”

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