Columbia is trying to take steps toward inclusion and equality throughout the community, and last night was a small step in that direction. The Diversity Awareness Partnership- Columbia, hosted a community panel discussion to give people an opportunity to hear from concerned leaders. The panel consisted of Dr. Cynthia Frisby, Councilman Ian Thomas, Traci Wilson-Kleecamp, and Michael Hosokawa. They were asked questions that were needed to make educated decisions about creating a more inclusive community.
The host of the event was Nikki McGruder who is the Regional Manager of Diversity Awareness Partnership- Columbia. She let the audience know that forums and discussion like these are needed and they were in a safe space to feel comfortable. McGruder led the dialogue by asking the panel questions that have been left unanswered. One of her first questions was, “Many believe that the issues at the University of Missouri was a result of students not getting what they want and raising a fuss over a few isolated events. What would you say to those individuals?”
Answers varied among the panelists, but they all revolved around taking a walk in another person’s shoes.
“I think if you don’t associate in worlds besides the one you are comfortable in, you will have no idea what other people experience, and it’s very difficult,” Traci Wilson- Kleecamp, said.
Throughout the event there were several questions answered and raised by the panel, that Diversity Awareness Partnership said they hope left the community feeling a little bit better about where the community is headed in regards to inclusion.
Diversity Awareness Partnership-Columbia said they are committed to continue these discussions where they can talk about the problems, create solutions and be a resource for the community going forward. They will be holding two more events called “Listen. Talk. Learn. Session” on Thursday and Friday.