“I am an ally of the black community and I will show this by____.”
“Listening and believing,” wrote a student, on one of the large posters hung up on the walls outside the student cafeteria. “By listening and asking questions, so [that] I can continue to educate myself,” wrote another student. On the next poster, students and faculty answered the question: “What is Your Dream?” in honor of Martin Luther King Jr.
The poster displays were part of the Black History Month celebration at RVU in February, hosted by the Days of Diversity Committee and the Student National Medical Association. In addition to the posters, students hosted informational booths in the second floor hallway and a screening and discussion of the film, “13th,” which provides an in-depth look at racial inequality and the judicial system in the United States. During the film screening, first-year student Olajumoke Okala and her family brought homemade Nigerian food to share their culture with the RVU community.
Afterwards, Natalie Crump, PAS1, and Mukanya Tchombela, OMS II, shared their experiences with discrimination, hesitancy with the police, what it is like to be a minority student at RVU, and what students (as future providers) can do to combat systemic racism. “We learn by hearing each other’s stories,” said Elizabeth Kuge, OMS II. “[We] become more empathetic when we realize the issues that seem so far from us are happening to our friends and colleagues.”
The Black History Month celebration was part of a larger campaign to bring cultural awareness events to campus every month. “In doing so,” said SD Kuge, “we are building a stronger RVU community and a space where all students feel represented.”