Organizations collaborate to promote voices of diversity

Students dipped their hands in paint and used their handprints as a stamp to signify them taking a pledge to respect each other at the Promoting Unity and Respect for Everyone event Thursday afternoon on Fountain Mall. Photo credit: Liesje Powers

By Joy Moton | Staff Writer

The LatinX Coalition, Better Together BU and the Hispanic Student Association collaborated to host an event called P.U.R.E., which stands for Promoting Unity and Respect for Everyone.

The event took place from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Thursday on Fountain Mall. It involved Baylor students sharing stories to increase social awareness and encourage students to respect each other.

Houston junior Damian Moncada, president of the Hispanic Student Association, said the event occurred for the first time as a collaborative effort of students who have a desire to promote unity and respect on campus. Moncada said Baylor has been having these conversations for a really long time, but this event serves to actually put how students feel into perspective.

“While we were implementing more diverse and inclusive policies and statements across our university, at the same time we saw a lot of violence and a lot of disconnect between students. I think now that we’ve had time to reflect on the year, we can actually look back and maybe start the conversation again,” Moncada said.

The event set a platform for students to express themselves and call for unity and respect on campus. People from groups such as the African-American, Muslim, Latino and LGBTQ communities shared brief stories about their experiences at Baylor from their diverse perspectives.

“We can have very narrow views about all the people at Baylor University. We can typically think a person is just a Baptist coming from a Christian school coming here to praise God and have that sort of mindset from your typically white, middle class family, and that is a large portion of Baylor, and they’re great people, and they add a lot to this university,” said Springfield, Mo., junior Noah Ward, co-president of Better Together BU. “But there are a lot of other people at Baylor University who often get pushed to the sidelines, who don’t quite fit in with the normal crowd, that we want to bring them back in and help everybody recognize that they, too, make Baylor what it is.”

Students from various multicultural organizations had the opportunity to share about the work they are doing on campus. Ward said this served to inspire people to attend multicultural events so they can witness how full of diversity Baylor actually is.

“There are so many other opportunities to learn rather than just from a classroom or from a professor. You can learn from your fellow students about the world you live in, about the university you go to and about where you fit in that society,” Ward said.

Ward said students who attended looked forward to food, conversation, friends and artwork. There was a creative and interactive display where students dipped their hands in paint and used their handprints as a stamp to signify them taking a pledge to respect each other.

“Our organizations are dedicated to creating an inclusive, collaborative and educated environment, seeing that our students also continue to thrive academically, spiritually and socially. We are truly excited to host this event that calls on unity and respect,” Moncada said.