Apply for OMA Diversity Grants & Get Funding for an Event/Conference!

Hello Everyone! As the Chair of the Budgeting Committee for the Office of Multicultural Affairs (OMA) I encourage YOU to apply to the many diversity grants we have available. The OMA offers funding for students and organizations interested in diversity-related programming and conferences.

Our diversity grants can be split up into three main categories:

Diversity Initiatives Grant: offers up to $300 to sponsor a Haverford student/club’s event, workshop, or project related to expanding our collective understanding of the challenges and opportunities of creating a truly diverse community.

Conference Grant: offers up to $300 to sponsor Haverford students to attend domestic and international conferences aimed to expand their knowledge on issues of diversity and/or help immerse students in multicultural settings.

AMA Experiential Opportunity Grant: offers up to $100 to AMAs to
create an experiential learning opportunity that would broaden their customs group’s understanding of multiculturalism through an event or workshop that engages diversity-related issues.

If you are interested in talking through ideas, getting feedback on plans, or finding help with the application process, contact the OMA Budgeting Committee at omabudgeting@gmail.com or drop by the Stokes 111 office to speak to one of the interns.

For additional information, visit www.haverford.edu/oma/funding/

OMA Spring Break: The 2015 White Privilege Conference

I’ve spent this week in emotional and physical recovery mode from the engaging and eye-opening White Privilege Conference in Louisville, Kentucky. It’s that feeling you get upon walking out of an amazing or dramatic movie: amazed, drained, and perhaps not fully ready to jump back into daily life. Haverford sent 27 students, 2 alums, and two faculty members, Ben Hughes and Walter Sullivan. The team drove almost fifteen hours to get to the conference, but in my opinion, the 15 hours were well worth it. Workshops offered included “New Racism and Progressive Northerners,” “Allies and the Privilege of Oblivion,” “Placing ‘Ferguson’ and ‘Black Lives Matter’ in the Historical Struggle for Civil and Human Rights”, and hundreds of others.

Students were free to pick the workshops they attended, and most students attended the keynote speaker and caucuses (affinity-based discussion spaces). The Keynote speeches ranged from activist to legally focused to academic, spanning a wide range of topics from Native American (in)visibility in the United States to race in current pop culture. Though some workshops felt more like lectures, I feel that overall the set of workshops I attended pushed me out of my comfort zone and encouraged me to speak honestly and vulnerably. My favorite workshop was “Allies and the Privilege of Oblivion,” a workshop about fostering allied behavior and strong listening skills, in which the group answered questions like “When did you fail as an Ally,” and “What is an issue you have the privilege to not have to think about?”. As someone who has considered herself an ally, it was important for me to acknowledge and unpack the many times in which I have failed to do so.

This is not the last you will hear of the conference. If you have questions, thoughts, or just want to hear more about WPC participant experiences, come to the ReAct discussion on April 1st from 7-8. We will discuss the conference and make some plans for turning these conversations we’ve had at the conference into action on campus. The conference happens every year, and will take place in Philadelphia next year, and next year we hope to bring an even larger group.

For more information, check out http://www.whiteprivilegeconference.com.

Multicultural Communual Spaces

When imagining how to foster a strong vibrant community, I think one of the most vital resources that helps promote these values of inclusion and openness is having a noticeable communal space that is well used. One of the greatest lacks I have become aware on Haverford’s campus is this very communal space. The layout of Haverford’s campus does not have an area that is viewed as a communal space where students come together and just relax and hangout. The main areas where students gather are the library, Zubrow commons, and the coop. These environments offer a good space to do work or collaborate on projects but still lack a communal atmosphere and usually most students focus on their work or a few friends. This concept of a communal space also is vital to the mission of multiculturalism, having a space that is marked as cultural spaces play a vital role in providing areas where students from various backgrounds can come together and foster cultural exchanges. These spaces also provide niches for certain communities who want to explore their identities. There three spaces on campuses that are labeled as cultural centers. The first is the Ira Reid House or the Black Cultural Center. This space is a convenient location on campus and also plays a vital role as a space where various affinity groups hold meetings. However, the space also serves as a dorm which limits its use as a communal space. By being a living space there is an implicit element of privacy that people must respect when they are using the space. The second space is the Multicultural Center which is a great space that even has a kitchen. However, the space has developed a more formal atmosphere because it is one of the most accessible meeting spaces for administration. While talking discussing with fellow students where to hold an event, a student mentioned how holding it in the MCC would give it a more formal atmosphere. This perception of the MCC is shared by many in the student body. Our partner in the Tri-Co, Swarthmore offers a prime example of multicultural communal spaces. Swarthmore has their version of the MCC called the Intercultural Center which offers a warm and welcoming space that can serve as a hangout space and foster a diverse cultural exchange. Next to this space there are

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Swarthmore Intercultural Center Big Room

various small meeting spaces assigned to the affinity groups and other clubs on campuses which are decorated by these clubs and provide a meaningful space that can help foster greater community within these individual groups and also greater collaboration by being in close proximity to one another. Haverford has a few spaces designated to certain affinity groups and clubs however they are spread thin across campus, many times in non-ideal locations. In fact, the Haverford Asian students association used to have a room in the Dining Center basement, not the most ideal location; however the room now due to the lack of available spaces is being used by another group the Clerk. The campus seems poised to recreate many spaces on campus do to the renovations of the Library and Ryan Gym. The OMA as well has made a commitment to trying to change the perception of the MCC and is now announcing its free hours during the day so students can come and hang out or do homework.  I urge the diversity task force to make an effort to advocate for the creation of communal multicultural spaces as part of their mission. Community is a vital part of diversity; these communal spaces offer places of cultural exchanges that can combat the divisions across campus and can help foster a diverse and open campus.
Just some thoughts
Rafael Moreno ‘17

Bridging generations within the Haverford Community

Hi friends,

This past weekend, I was grateful to attend the Alumni Reception that was organized by Ben Hughes, the OMA Program Coordinator. The reception served as an informal get-together where alumni of color and current Haverford students could get to know each other, hear each other’s experiences on this campus, and build a multi-generational network within this community. For the first part of the reception, we were free to mingle, and I used this time to catch up with some friends from Haverford House. The second part, we did formal introductions. Students were asked to describe their involvement on campus, particularly related to affinity groups. Alumni were asked to speak about their jobs, and their most significant moment of their Haverford career.

As can be imagined, we heard of all sorts of stories! The alumni were graduates of all years spanning early 1970s, to coed integration in 1980s, and some from the first AMA class of 2004. Their significant moments were filled with struggle, struggle to be one of the four students of color on campus, having IDs checked when questioned if they belonged here, maintaining and creating affinity groups that served as their only representation on campus. Those stories were also filled with pride in their own success and the ability to return to campus and be a true representation of “Lives that Speak.”

I was honored to be in a room filled with alumni who paved the way for other students of color. It was a humbling and inspiring experience, and I do wish the OMA continues to foster this network of alumni of color.

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Community Book Talk from Asali Solomon

My name is Clara Abbott, I am a first year student here at Haverford and the newest intern at the Office of Multicultural Affairs! Diversity-related work, particularly support for LGBTIQ students, was a big part of my high school career, and I am so grateful that the OMA team is letting me continue that work in such exciting ways.

One of my favorite new things about working for the OMA is the chance to organize and attend so many interesting events at Haverford about which I might not have heard otherwise. This past Thursday, the OMA hosted a book talk by Asali Solomon, assistant professor of English here at Haverford and author of a new novel, Disgruntled. Disgruntled follows a young girl, Kenya Curtis, as she moves a sense of home in her community. Asali read aloud a passage from her novel then answered questions from the crowd about her inspirations, her recent interview with Terry Gross on Fresh Air, and her second most-recent work, Get Down. Asali spoke casually and The event was an amazing chance to bring together diverse group of Fords as with members of the greater community to discuss about race, culture, and coming of age, all through a literary lens. The event was a huge hit and the beginning of hopefully many more eye-opening and refreshing book talks, organized by OMA intern Oluwatobi Alliyu.

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Check out Asali’s interview on NPR: http://www.npr.org/2015/02/05/383836303/novelists-disgruntled-heroine-is-drawn-from-her-own-childhood

Culture Clash on Campus: an inter-religious/inter-spiritual discussion on drugs and partying.

Last week the Religion and Spiritual Life Office invited community members to talk about their experiences with alcohol and drugs as well as partying on a college campus. While partying can be an important part of college culture it often goes with drinking which while illegal the majority of campus, still happens, and plays an important role in creating friendships, bonding, and more. Often students who choose not to partake in these activities feel alienated and feel that they cannot participate in a big part of campus culture, due to respect for their spiritual and religious culture. This is the space in which this conversation took place. How does one negotiate the different cultural beliefs and expectations as a person of faith and a college student. The OMA asked a represenative from the Office of Religious Life to give their take on the conversation that took place last week. Here is what a representative had to say.

Diamond Henry, an intern at the Office of Religious life said this “On Wednesday, February 11, the Committee for Spiritual and Religious Life hosted a  inter-religious/inter-spiritual discussion on drugs and partying. It focused on how different religious or spiritual groups view Drugs, Alcohol and Partying.  During the conversation, we explored different Bible and Koran verses that covered the topic. We realized both were saying the same thing,  not that we shouldn’t  drink, party or do drugs, but that you should know your  limits.  The conversation was much less what the text said about drinking, and more about how we interpreted them and  how we put them  into practice. Our conversation included topics like how do we know our limits, when do you know you have gone too far, and how do we do these things without straying away from God and our beliefs. Next Month, Wednesday, March 18, the Committee of Spiritual and Religious Life  will also be hosting another discussion on  the question: ‘What Makes Me Spiritual and /or Religious?’” 

There will be more discussions on interfaith and inter spiritual topics happening throughout the semester.

-Cathy

OMA-ISSO Open House

Last Wednesday from 7-8pm in the Multicultural Center (MCC) we had a joint Office of Multicultural Affairs/ International Student Services Office open house with milk, cookies, coffee, and board games! It was great to see everyone who came out for the event, and we want to stress that the MCC is a place for all students. Come study, hang out, use the kitchen, this space is here for you!

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“Spare Parts”

What did you do over break? What was your highlight? What was something I did, you ask? This past break, I saw the movie “Spare Parts” featuring the awesome Latino comedian & actor Jorge Lopez. This is not your typical comedy or inspirational movie. Rather, it is a portrayal of the difficulties families of illegal immigrants have while living in the USA. If you haven’t seen the movie already, watch it!!! It is about how four young high school boys come together, despite their hardships, and compete against top-notch universities in an underwater robotics competition.

So the movie is about Latino illegal immigrants. “Why should I care?” you might wonder. You may, you may not. I am an immigrant from Mexico, and I was able to connect immensely with the movie. Maybe not with the hardships from being an illegal immigrant, but definitely with the underfunded high school, undervalued students, and with the culture that was presented in the movie. It was interesting for me to hear my aunt talk about how her kids, my cousins, did not have such a strong reaction to the movie as we did. Why? Because they are American-born. They did not experienced the journey of immigrating to the USA- legally or illegally. This definitely shows how some people might care and others won’t. However, it also shows how watching the movie can help you get just a little bit closer to these people’s experience. You may or may not get much out of it, but watching this movie might help you understand more about Latino culture, immigration issues, the Arizona high school system, and definitely about the feelings and concerns youth have while being illegal immigrants.

I have to admit, I am a movie fan. Even though most are inaccurate and exaggerated, movies do have some truth to it. “Spare Parts” definitely portrays truths from real people, real communities, and real issues.

Link to trailer: www.youtube.com/watch?v=myjar5KoqZA Spare Parts Movie

Unity Day in Pictures!!

Proof

On December 6, 2014, Haverford’s affinity groups and performing groups from neighboring colleges and universities got together for a day of celebration. More specifically, a day of celebrating our community’s diversity, culture, differences and overarching similarities.

The three hour event was held in Founder’s Hall where students and other community members got to enjoy food, music, interactive workshops led by affinity groups, and performances.

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Interactive Workshops included:

Haverford South Asian Society presents Henna & Hot Pockets (Samosas):

Community members had the opportunity to get beautiful Henna tattoos and enjoy delicious samosas and mango juice.

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SAGA - Drag Makeup Tutorial:    

Talented makeup artists demonstrated on willing volunteers techniques to create fierce and fabulous facial makeup masterpieces.

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JSU - Havdalah workshop:  

Community members learned how to make besamim, or spice bags, which are used in a ceremony to end the Sabbath.

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SOA – Voting under Jim Crow:    

What was it like to vote during Jim Crow as a person of color? Community members had the opportunity to try the literacy test given to people before they voted during Jim Crow in Louisiana and saw if they meet the standards to vote [Pastries symbolized the right to vote].

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Diabolo playing with HASA:  

Otherwise known as Chinese yo-yo, the diabolo is a traditional Chinese toy as well as a form of cultural performance, sport, and art.

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ISA – Tasty Bites:

Food from all around the world – Turkish baklava, Chinese dumplings, French Baguette and cheese, Greek dolma, and many more.

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The Women*s Center Does Self Care:  

Take one and leave it–write down a pledge/note of encouragement of self-care and give it to the pile, and take someone else’s for yourself. There was also a laptop with a Google form for sharing pledges/notes with the community if participants felt inspired to.

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PERFORMANCES!!

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Yalah Bryn Mawr

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Rince na Mawr

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The Outskirts

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Penn Chinese Dance Group

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Ford S-Chords

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UPenn Yalla

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African Dance Troupe UPenn

And to make the event official OFFICIAL, we had a Unity Day cake:)

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Haverford Blackout Board

Some of you have probably seen the Blackout Board in the lobby of the DC. There has recently been a lot of buzz going around campus about the Board and there was even a Clerk article on the Board. I think it is particularly sad to see how the campus has responded to the Board and how the Black Student League has been accused of not fostering a productive conversation on Race. According to BSL, the board was meant to give a space for students to voice their opinion on their very important event Blackout which was meant to bring attention to the lack of awareness or conversation about the countless acts of racial violence in the US like cases ranging from Rodney King to Trayvon Martin to recently Michael Brown. The board has been taking as an impediment to a conversation on Race on Campus, when the board was a place for people to anonymously comment on a event that rose awareness of racial issues in the country as a whole and also race on campus. BSL has been targeted by people for creating tension and a unproductive conversation when the board has just highlighted a tension and lack of conversation that has already existed on Campus. BSL held both a open forum before and after Blackout that only had around twelve people that attended yet the anonymous board has had over 70 responses. The board seems to be the way in which the community has taken to talk about Race and has successfully brought a conversation about race on campus from the response to the board. Since I have been at Haverford, the board has created the largest conversation about race across multiple groups more than any other event I have seen so far. I think the board reflects the uncomfort on campus about addressing the reality of race relations on Campus. The fact that an anonymous board is the way in which a conversation about race has been started points to this uncomfort. I agree with many that obviously there are many comments that aren’t constructive on the board but that happens on any anonymous online space but at least many people have had the opportunity to voice their actual opinions. I think its about time that we actually have a real and constructive conversation about race on Campus that stretches to more of the student body. The administration has recently put an emphasis on these issues by the creation of the diversity task force and I think its time for the student body to really address the issue of race relations on campus instead of continuing to believe that Haverford can exist outside the pervasive racist structures that plague our nation.

Just some thoughts,

Rafael Moreno ‘17
OMA Intern