‘Courageous Conversations’ fight racism
By Chloe Gregg
Lansing Community College demonstrated its dedication to diversity, inclusion, education and bettering the world by hosting its first-ever “Courageous Conversations” session Sept. 29.
Courageous Conversations is meant to be a bridge to undoing racism. It is led by LCC Chief Diversity Officer Tonya Bailey.
“As we move forward in virtual engagements,” the LCC website reads, “the college’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion will continue to provide training on implicit bias, foundations of power, privilege and oppression to ensure adherence to LCC’s values of inclusivity and opposing oppression.”
Over 100 members of the LCC community spent two hours in open communication about racism and how the community can battle it. “Courageous Conversations” gave educational resources to its participants and included prompts for participants to think about and discuss.
“I believe that to create a society that’s more equitable, as well as a level of change and making change for an anti-racist education, that we’ve got to commit to making unbiased choices daily, consistently, (and) actively,” Dr. Bailey said during her closing statement.
“You have become a bridge within the course of two hours that seem like 20 minutes. We have talked. We have been courageous. Some of us have cried. Many of us have (done) some deep thinking and I want to thank you for being here.”
LCC student Romel’o Ellis, or Mellow Ellis as his friends call him, was present for the entire two-hour virtual meeting. Although he knows that this first “Courageous Conversation” is only the start, he said there are a few things he would have liked to have seen addressed.
“As a young black male, I personally didn’t feel (the meeting) was beneficial,” said Ellis. “Yesterday (Sept. 29) was just the surface, just an introduction. In the next ‘Courage Conversation,’ I would like to hear them discuss accountability and open-mindedness. I want to see more accountability in the black and white communities.”
Ellis encouraged people to be more open-minded.
“Try new things or be more open to things you might not have been so comfortable with growing up,” he said. “Don’t take your background and use it as, ‘This is why things are done how they’re done today.’ Things can change.”
The next Courageous Conversations sessions are scheduled for Thursday, Oct. 29 from 3 to 5 p.m., and Friday, Nov. 20 from 1 to 3 p.m.