Members of the Knox College community took a short break from fall classes to participate in the Day of Dialogue, a series of discussions designed to enhance awareness and build skills to collaboratively address modern-day challenges.
The Day of Dialogue took place October 17-18, beginning with a keynote address from dr becky martinez, a consultant and trainer with an emphasis on social justice, leadership, and organizational change. She also served as a facilitator trainer for the dialogues and sessions.
In her keynote, “Building Our Capacity to Create a More Inclusive Community,” she spoke about how the campus community can create space for difficult conversations on topics such as gender and politics.
Classes were canceled on October 18 to make way for the Day of Dialogue, which was divided into several segments, including facilitated discussions on race, political ideology, socioeconomic class, and gender. The day concluded with a community dinner for all participants.
About 200 people participated in the event, said Tianna Cervantez, Director of the Center for Intercultural Life at Knox.
“We have heard a lot of positive feedback from the campus community,“ she said. “I am inspired by people‘s willingness to share their lives with each other, even if it means feeling hurt and pain in doing so.“
The Day of Dialogue was proposed and organized by the Multicultural Student Advisory Council (MSAC), a group of students interested in discussing and actively responding to concerns around diversity, inclusion, and multiculturalism at Knox. MSAC is sponsored by the Center for Intercultural Life and Student Senate. The Day of Dialogue was financially supported by a generous gift by Ray Crain '65.
Students thought the Day of Dialogue was a success. Here’s a sampling of what they said:
- “One of the highlights of the day for me was being in the environment with so many students, faculty, and staff all wanting to participate in dialogues and learn from each other. It was also incredible to have the opportunity to learn from and interact with dr becky martinez,“ said Grace Norton, a member of MSAC who was a planner and facilitator for the event. “I think that it is important to be active participants in cultivating Knox’s culture of respect and that the Day of Dialogue provided a wonderful opportunity to have deep, important conversations with the members of our community.“
- “I personally had some very meaningful discussions, and everyone I was grouped with was very respectful and engaged in the conversation as well,“ said Zane Huffman, who participated in the dialogues on socioeconomic class and political ideology. “Another highlight for me was the impact this event has already had on my friend groups. A handful of guys from my fraternity, Fiji, participated in the discussions, and one even acted as a facilitator. I’ve already found myself more at ease in participating in dialogue with these guys, as well as my other friends who attended, after practicing proper ways to carry out these talks.“
- “I think one of the major highlights for me was that I was able to connect to faculty through dialogue outside of the classroom dynamic. I appreciate the faculty who not only showed up but were able to be vulnerable and share their experiences,“ said Niky Washington, a member of MSAC who helped plan the Day of Dialogue. “I think dialogue is a useful tool to better understand ourselves and others while raising critical consciousness.“
- “I left the Day of Dialogue with more clarity and, unfortunately, more questions as well. The core belief I think this day gave to me was that conversation and dialogue are nuanced,“ said Leonard Monterey, who was a participant and facilitator. “The Day of Dialogue is a living example of what Knox College stands for and what makes our community unique.“
Cervantez said she hopes that through the Day of Dialogue, “those that needed to be heard were heard, that those that were exposed to different lived experiences for the first time left wanting to learn more, and that most left wanting to do more in regards to the privilege that they carry. We also hope that everyone realized that we all have the ability to learn and teach each other if we give each other the space to do so.“