Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Considering Costumes: Think First!

Halloween is approaching and we often find ourselves embracing the opportunity to explore a character or persona other than our own. The Office of Diversity and Inclusion encourages everyone to remember Tarleton's core value of Civility while making your costume decisions.

When dressing up, consider the impact your costume has on others. Is it stereotypical? Is it offensive? Explore the undertones present in your costuming.  The way you dress matters.

Remember, deciding to dress up as someone from another culture with or without the intention of being disrespectful can lead to inaccurate and harmful portrayals of others' cultures.

Diversity and Inclusion values creativity, inclusiveness, and respect. We encourage you to foster a safe and welcoming environment for all of our community members.

For additional information, please consider these web resources: 

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Civil Rights Day at Tarleton State University

Civil Rights Day

Tarleton State University and the Office of Diversity and Inclusion commemorated the 50th Anniversary of the 1964 Civil Rights Act on October 14th. To celebrate the legacy of the Civil Rights Era of American history, Tarleton State University hosted a day of events on campus, called Civil Rights Day. 

Tarleton students played a major role in the success of the day. Across campus students could be seen advocating civil rights topics, picketing, and engaging in meaningful discussion about the various liberties that were won for minorities during this era. The Office of Diversity brought various student organizations and programs into the mix including MENtal Freedom, Bold, Multicultural Ambassadors, the Gay-Straight Alliance, and Tarleton Allies. Each of these organizations took the opportunity to advocate issues that related to them. 

Even so, this day was not a celebration that was limited to students. Professor Dr. Eric Morrow and The Department of Social Sciences worked very hard to ensure that the celebration included Tarleton staff, faculty, administration, and the community as whole as well. Because of their efforts, Tarleton was addressed by numerous professors like Dr. Marcy Tanter, who explained through poetry, what civil rights meant to her. Many other professors joined in the celebration and each brought a unique perspective and understanding of the legacy created by activists that came before us. 

Although it was an entire day of activities, the excitement of the day peaked near the time the keynote took the stage. Former mayor of Atlanta and an activist at the March on Washington, Shirley Franklin addressed a Tarleton audience that was enthusiastic to listen to her message. The first female African-American mayor of a major southern city, Franklin was elected in 2002 and served two terms until 2009. During her eight years in office, Atlanta experienced unprecedented growth and afforded Franklin the opportunity to partner and collaborate with local and regional leaders in addressing policy changes. She is best known as an advocate of ethics reform in government. In addition to her role as a public official, Franklin’s community service spanned nearly 40 years in Atlanta and included active participation in the arts, higher education and homelessness issues. Franklin delivered an inspiring message focusing on the importance of capitalizing and building upon the “inheritance” that we all enjoy today. 


Friday, October 24, 2014

Film Director, Dr. Enrique Aleman Hosts Film Screening of "Stolen Education" at Tarleton

Dr. Enrique Aleman Stolen Education

Wednesday October 1st, The Office of Diversity and Inclusion welcomed Film Producer, Dr. Enrique Aleman, to the Tarleton Campus.  Upon his arrival, nearly 300 excited Tarleton students greeted him in anticipation of both viewing and discussing his film, Stolen Education.

“Segregated by race. Punished for being Mexican American. Eight children testified against injustice. This is the untold story of how they changed education in Texas.”

A film documentary based in the small town of Driscoll, Texas, Dr. Aleman illuminates the dark history of discrimination that was so common in 1956.  For the elementary school in Driscoll, discriminating against Mexican-American students by segregating them and forcing them to repeat the 1st grade was common practice. Although the school claimed that Mexican-American students were separated on the bases of “language”, the documentary unveils that they were actually segregated for many other reasons. The film brings to life the racial climate of the 1950s to the present, and demonstrates the students’ courage in an era when fear and intimidation were used to maintain racial hierarchy and control. The Mexican-American students won the case, but for almost 60 years the lawsuit was never spoken about in the South Texas farming community where they lived despite its significance. Aleman’s documentary also provides insight into how racism and language discrimination is still prevalent in today’s society.

As the “Office of Diversity” moved into the Q&A portion of the event, the impact of the film on the Tarleton audience became apparent. The students shifted the discussion from their own personal testimonies of discrimination, to the state of racism and discrimination today.

The Office of Diversity and Inclusion would like to thank Dr. Enrique Aleman, not only for his passion, but also for giving Tarleton students the opportunity to experience such an emotionally impactful piece of Hispanic Heritage. One student effectively sums up the feeling you left us with: “Thank you so much for getting our story out there. It made me respect on what my parent went through. I wish my mom could have seen this film. She experienced this. With your film out there, this discouragement is less likely to happen to minority students. Thanks again.”

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Hispanic Heritage Street Dance 2014

Diversity Blog
Hispanic Heritage Month 2014

Each year, we observe National Hispanic Heritage Month from September 15 to October 15, by celebrating the histories, cultures and contributions of our friends and ancestors who came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central and South America.
The observation started in 1968 as Hispanic Heritage Week under President Lyndon Johnson and was expanded by President Ronald Reagan in 1988 to cover a 30-day period starting on September 15 and ending on October 15. It was enacted into law on August 17, 1988, on the approval of Public Law 100-402. The day of September 15 is significant because it is the anniversary of independence for Latin American countries Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. In addition, Mexico and Chile celebrate their independence days on September 16 and September18, respectively. Also, Columbus Day or Día de la Raza, which is October 12, falls within this 30 day period.
The Office of Diversity and Inclusion participates in the celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month by hosting multiple events at Tarleton. On September 17, ODI hosted the annual Hispanic Heritage Street Dance. From playing popular Spanish games, to listening to the latest Latino music, we explored Spanish culture in numerous capacities.

See below for a closer look at the Street Dance:

Soccer at the Street Dance
Un Vaquero Joven
Learning at the Street Dance



Big Sombrero at the Street Dance

Continue celebrating Hispanic culture with us next week as we host a screening of the film “Stolen Education” and welcome its write and producer, Dr. Enrique Aleman. 

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Office of Diversity and Inclusion Cupcake Mixer

Office of Diversity and Inclusion
Cupcake Mixer
As a new semester begins and Tarleton students arrive to campus, the stress associated with all the excitement can begin to be seen. Some students handle it well. Others can be seen idly lingering, offering a confused facial expression that borders between panicky and disoriented. Will their college experience be as pleasant as they always hoped? Is this University even the right place for them? Here at the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, we strive to optimize the transition and experience at Tarleton State by providing students with a safe and accepting environment where they can ponder and discuss questions like these.  

This year “ODI” immediately began working toward this goal by hosting our first ever Cupcake Mixer. A smashing success, many students attended. Although some of them came simply searching for free cupcakes, all of them discovered the resources and support that the Office of Diversity and Inclusion can provide. We even had a visit from the purple poo!

See below for a closer look at the Mixer:  
Purple Poo at the Mixer
#DiversityDuck Enjoying Cupcakes