SA showcases cultural acceptance

By Sophia Phillips

DeKALB — NIU community members gathered in the MLK Commons Tuesday to listen to students speak about fears surrounding cultural differences as part of #OneCultureNIU.

#OneCultureNIU is a four-day event being held over the course of this week that was planned by the Student Association Public Affairs Committee.

“We noticed that there’s a lot of differences between cultures, and there’s a lot of separation going on within the campus,” said Terrance Powell, SA Public Affairs Committee secretary. “And we came up with #OneCultureNIU for a way to bring all our cultures together.”

The SA plans a cultural event at least once a semester. This semester, the committee decided to coordinate a weeklong cultural event so more people could attend, said Andrew Smith, SA Public Affairs Committee chairman.

Smith said the committee was able to vary the theme on a day-to-day basis because the event was extended to four days. The themes for each day were breaking stereotypes, don’t fear me, my culture matters and together in unity.

“Every single one of those days pretty much feeds off the other day,” Smith said. “And then it concludes [Thursday] with bringing everybody together in unity to kind of help people — not just, you know, students at NIU but just in general — to shine light on all the issues that we’re actually having with racial relations and the culture clash that we actually have here.”

Each day featured student speakers from various groups on campus including the SA Senate, Black Male Initiative, S.I.S.T.E.R.S. and DREAM Action NIU. Students shared their thoughts and experiences with cultural differences.

Tuesday’s theme was “don’t fear me,” and student speakers discussed fears that often come from stereotypes.

“Fear in regards to stereotypes affects all of us,” said SA Senator Lukuman Dada. “Not just black people, white people, Mexican people or etcetera.”

SA Senate Speaker Christine Wang said diversity is necessary, and cultural events should continue to happen on campus to promote diversity.

“I think especially in the wake of the recent political events that are happening in our nation I think it’s really important to have a different perspective,” Wang said.

The final event for the week will take place 2 p.m. Thursday in the Stevenson Multipurpose room.