Promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion
If you are from Iowa, you may think the state lacks diversity, but though the population is 90 percent white, there is a lot of diversity within our boarders. This is especially true at Marshalltown Community College, where we have students from all over the globe studying with us. At MCC, faculty and staff spent MLK Day learning, with a portion of that day was spent acknowledging differences and, at the same time, appreciating commonalities among MCC employees themselves.
The Mission Statement for the Iowa Valley Community College District states:
“We are committed to providing quality learning experiences, ensuring student success, and partnering to address diverse community needs in an inclusive and respectful environment.”
The Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee at MCC works to educate faculty, staff, and students. Speaker events in the last two years have included David Radcliffe, the director of the New Community Project, a nonprofit focusing on earth care, human justice, and experiential learning; Micah Meyer, an American travel journalist and LGBTQ+ rights advocate; and Saul Flores, the son of immigrants, who walked 5,328 miles through 10 countries to document how grueling and dangerous the journey can be for immigrants to the United States.
The Champions for Change program featured a panel of Marshalltown community leaders focused on violence and unrest, but highlighting the positive contributions of people to build community and work for positive change. To honor this past International Women’s Day, a panel of local women shared stories of their challenges and triumphs.
More passive activities have included a display of traditional clothing from countries represented by students and staff and a poster series featuring notable Native Americans. All of these events and activities highlight the cultural richness of the U.S and give opportunities to share, sympathize, and develop new knowledge.
Several student groups provide safe spaces for self-expression and building bridges. These include 1) the Multicultural Club, focused on welcoming students from diverse cultures: 2) LULAC (Leagues of United Latin American Citizens), and 3) the LGBTQ+ Alliance (Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual, Transgender, Queer Plus (Allies)) Alliance.
We at MCC are actively engaged in learning so that all individuals who enter our doors feel there is something here for them. My challenge to you to meet somebody new, someone with whom you might not otherwise interact.
Vickie Unferth is the co-chair
of the MCC Diversity, Equity,
and Inclusion Committee.