NACOGDOCHES, Texas - Stephen F. Austin State University's Office of Multicultural Affairs will kick off its annual Diversity Week Monday, April 3. The week will feature social and educational programs demonstrating the value of diversity and multiculturalism and creating meaningful dialogue in the SFA community.
The Diversity Week kickoff event will take place from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday in the Baker Pattillo Student Center Plaza and will feature a diversity canvas, where students are encouraged to help paint a mural showcasing SFA's diversity.
"We hope the canvas helps create a sense of unity within the SFA community," said Veronica Weaver, director of SFA's OMA. "We invite students from all walks of life to participate because our diversity is our strength, and we hope this canvas will serve as a symbol to remind all of us that we are stronger together."
OMA has several other events slated for Diversity Week.
OMA Peace Meal
OMA's annual Peace Meal is scheduled for 6 p.m. Tuesday, April 4, at the Yellow House Christian Student Center, located at 201 East College St. OMA invites SFA students and faculty, staff and Nacogdoches community members to break bread with each other.
"The Peace Meal invites people to come together and discuss topics that concern us all," said Dr. Griselda Flores, assistant director of OMA. "We hope the Peace Meal pulls the veil from how we view our everyday world and allows us to find where we connect. It is our hope that the dialogue continues after the meal."
The OMA Peace Meal will feature guest speaker Hoan Do, a student success coach, author of "Succeeding in the Real World" and competitor on NBC's hit show "American Ninja Warrior." The International Examiner also recognized him as one of the best youth mentors in the nation.
This event is free and open to the public, but donations are welcome. Proceeds benefit the Romani Relief Project, which helps the Romani in Romania break the cycle of generational poverty.
Cherry Steinwender, the executive director and co-founder of the Center for the Healing of Racism, co-author of the seminar "Dialogue: Racism" and author of "Bread is a Simple Food: Teaching Children about Cultures," will lead OMA's Microaggressions Workshop at 6 p.m. Wednesday, April 5, in the student center's Tiered Classroom.
Throughout the workshop, Steinwender will discuss and help define microaggressions: the casual, common and unintentional ways ethnic and religious minority groups, as well as the socioeconomically disadvantaged, are marginalized in societies around the globe.
"Microaggressions are difficult to understand and even more difficult to address," Weaver said. "We hope this workshop will help people understand what microaggressions are and how they marginalize the people they affect. We also hope it will provide students and SFA community members the tools they need to eliminate microaggressions and learn how cultural differences enrich the fabric of the world."
This event is free and open to the public.
To conclude Diversity Week, the OMA will present Salsa Magic at 6 p.m. Thursday, April 6, in the student center plaza.
OMA urges SFA students and faculty, staff and Nacogdoches community members to join them to listen and learn to dance to salsa, merengue, bachata, reggaeton and today's hits.
Lee "El Gringuito" and Kat "La Gata," an international dance duo specializing in the bachata, will lead Salsa Magic. They will be offering instruction and pointers as they teach participants the basics of Latin dance.
This event is free and open to the public. In the event of rain, Salsa Magic will be moved to the student center's Regent's Suite A.
For more information about these events or Diversity Week in general, visit OMA's website at sfasu.edu/oma, or email OMA@sfasu.edu.