University tradition celebrates diversity

Zeeshan Tisekar/ Contributing Writer

The 13th annual celebration sharing of diverse cultures and customs returns to FIU.

On Tuesday, Sept. 30, Campus Life will be hosting Diversity Day in the Wolfe University Center at the Biscayne Bay Campus, from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Faculty, students, and guests are invited to put aside any prejudices against a person’s age, race, nationality, ethnicity, gender, disability, or sexual orientation, and celebrate each other’s differences.

“Diversity offers a lesson to agree with and open to things which has set us distinct,” said Andres Bermeo, marketing coordinator of Campus Life.

Bermeo said after celebrating so many years, the day has become a tradition at the University.

The event will host various activities and lectures from guest speakers, who will share personal experiences of discrimination in hopes of inspiring others going through the same.

Diversity Day will provide a platform for people to start dialogues, develop new interests, and exercise their leadership capabilities.

“Diversity, according to me, is the exploration of various differences in a safe, positive and nurturing environment,” said Omkar Mankame, an international graduate student. “It is about moving beyond simple tolerances to embracing and celebrating the rich dimensions of diversity contained within each individual.”

First to speak at 9:30 a.m. is Alexa Chavarry, a Tumblr blogger with over 14,000 followers, who inspired many to overcome drug addiction and suicidal thoughts by suggesting to draw a butterfly on themselves to symbolize something or someone they love — hence her blog title: “butterfly-effect.”

Chavarry will speak on how she overcame the same obstacles herself.

Next up at 10 a.m. is Gayle Brooks, vice president and chief clinical officer of The Renfrew Center — who was also featured in publications like the New York Times and People Magazine — will discuss issues relating to eating disorders, in addition to cultural diversity.

At 11 a.m., Lida Winfield will share her experience of growing up with dyslexia, followed by lunch at 12:15 p.m.

Tony Porter, of the TED Talks video & panel, will give a lecture at 1:15 p.m. on domestic and sexual violence issues

Bryan Anderson, a Purple Heart Iraq war veteran who lost several limbs from an Improvised Explosive Device, will give a motivational speech at 2 p.m.

A book signing and dessert will be held at 3 p.m., before Dr. Marilyn K. Volker, expert sexologist for over 40 years, gives the last speech on transgender discrimination at 3:30 p.m.

Dr. Volker urges students and staff to honor their unique sexuality and to protect themselves physically, emotionally and sexually.

Ultimately, the event will bring students together to embrace the characteristics that are often polarizing.

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