Social and Environmental Changes at Green Mountain College
We are living in a century that hatred, prejudice and religious conflicts and environmental problems are constantly challenging and threatening us. There are conflicts among nations, countries, religious and ethnic groups. It is because of misunderstandings, stereotypes, corrupted political leaders and few ignorant people. The reason that countries and nations hate one another is that stereotypes and negative words and differences travel around the continents faster than the positive words and similarities. We as the new generations living in US and around the world must know that it is our moral obligations to respect and appreciate diversity and fight against misunderstandings among nations, races, genders and religions.
Green Mountain College is taking important steps toward social and environmental changes. Besides the environmental education, the Diversity Committee at Green Mountain College hosted a Diversity Forum on Wednesday, January 25th at 6:30pm in the Gorge. Over a hundred students, professors and stuff participated at the forum. Diversity Committee with several other student clubs invited Angela Park, the founder and executive director of the non-profit organization Diversity Matters. The DM team works on social justice, diversity, inclusion, leadership, environmental changes and etc. For further information, please visit their website: http://www.diversity-matters.org/
Although, there is a diverse group of students at GMC and everybody is respectful toward one another, the diversity forum made students to appreciate the diversity more and more. It made students to look around them, meet new faces and learn about different cultures. This being said, my Vietnamese friends celebrated their New Year on January 27, 2012 at GMC. On this day many students joined them and learn about Vietnamese culture and tried Vietnamese food and snacks. My friends from China, Taiwan, South Korea and Vietnamese celebrated this holiday at GMC.
At the Diversity Forum I remembered my Multicultural and Diversity Awareness Class thought by a wonderful professor: Vance Jackson. There I thought of couple books that I read for the class; the “Life on the Color Line” written by Greg Williams in 1995 and the “Privilege, Power, and Difference” written by Allan Johnson. Greg Williams, the author of “Life on the Color Line” wrote about his remarkable life journey on the color line and contrasts between his experiences as a Caucasian living in Virginia with his African American experience living in Muncie, Indiana. His white childhood journey was full of privilege, opportunity, comfort and happiness while his African American life journey was full of struggle, deprivation, shamefulness and sadness.
This problem of race that Williams experienced in his life is exactly what Allan Johnson is fighting against and explains ways how to fight racism and social issues in his book “Privilege, Power, and Difference”. In this book he tackles social issues in U.S that involve race, gender, class, and sexual orientation. Johnson argues that all individuals in our society are involved in the problem, not just a select few or a specific group. He proposes the first steps we can take to deal with and solve these issues that Williams faced in his journey. People like Williams tell us the struggle, Jan Allen and Angela Park show the road and it is us to solve our problem by learning, respecting and tolerating one another. I recommend you to read these books.