Diversity and Unity
More than 350 enthusiastic listeners packed into Gonzaga’s Jepson/Wolffe Auditorium to hear brave and creative students share their stories, from letters to mothers to say sorry, to odes describing the power of Christian rap. The presentation of Gonzaga’s fourth annual Diversity Monologues was held in late March, and this is the second year it has received support from The Community Building Foundation.
Incoming Foundation Director, Katy Sheehan, has been intrigued by the event since its inception. “I was excited by the opportunity to support the Diversity Monologues because I think the more we consider the experience of others, the better we understand neighbors in our community. The project is all about creatively expressing the experience of diversity which fits squarely within the three basic ideas of our mission to ’empower local organizations to help our community experience justice, vibrancy, and sustainability’.”
The Diversity Monologues at Gonzaga is one of three main events held each year by the University’s Unity Multicultural Education Center whose goal is to further build a community of equity and inclusion. According to Assistant Director David Garcia, the Center was formed in the late 90’s in response to a galvanizing incident on campus when African-American students were targeted by hate crimes. Under the leadership of Jesuit activist and University President Bernie Coughlin, the University pledged to do more to help students learn from each other and become better global citizens.
The express purpose of the Diversity Monologues is to provide encouragement and a forum for students to share their stories and experiences with diversity. “In many ways, to hear the experience of others is an act of justice all on its own, but I think it fosters discussion of what justice means in Spokane, too”, said Sheehan. “Understanding diversity also promotes better connected and therefore, more sustainable communities. Finally, I think diversity and creativity are vibrancy. The Community Building Foundation’s contribution helped to open the conversation to the public which gave more people the chance to better understand diversity in our community. “
The participants who performed their pieces were actually in competition, and the winner of this year’s event was Devin Devine who wrote “Never Nested”. The text of the monologues is printed in a small booklet, available at the Gonzaga’s Unity Multicultural Education Center.
A video of the performances can be viewed through this link: