Diversity Day highlights culture and student experiences

Students crowded the Great Hall at Pierce College for a chance to show their talents at the open mic event in honor of Diversity Day, Thursday, May 1.

Diversity Day was sponsored by the Diversity Committee (PDC) and the Direction Literary Magazine of Pierce College and included many activities hosted by clubs.

“There is a great cross section of students who come together and share their talents,” said Christine Valada, co-chair of the PDC.

There were no limits set on what students could do. Some students sang, others read poetry and haikus. There were also two video presentations and a brief comedy act toward the end of the event.

“This event is a creative forum that allows students to celebrate diversity,” said Maria Bates, co-chair of the PDC and an English professor.

Among the first to perform was Shaina Barnett, 23. She sang an a capella  version of  “Will the Circle be Unbroken” originally sung by the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band.

“I made a rendition of the song, so it will be in tribute of a dear friend I lost seven years ago,” Barnett said.

There was also a student band called “The Voxes.”

“I loved seeing the Voxes. I have them in my English class, and they’re always talking about how they love music, but you can’t see that inside the classroom, I can only see how they write,” Bates said.

In between performances, students were able to enjoy free food and participate in raffles.

“Plenty of students engaged and there was lots of student participation,” said Gus Sandoval, president of the Associated Student Organization (ASO).

The International Student Club showed two videos toward the end of the event.

One video, titled “Diversity Awarness,” was a short video about a few students who came to America. It also touched on some misconceptions about cultures.

“Someone once asked me if I spoke African,” an African-American student who was interviewed on the video said, “I told them Africans have their own languages and many of us speak English as well.”

Abdullah Alawaja, vice president of the International Students Club, showed a brief video of Saudi Arabia, where he is originally from.

The PDC is planning another event set for Thursday, May 8 called “Achieving the Dream.” Lisa Suki will be the guest speaker covering organizational leadership, according to Bates.

“It’s mostly directed to faculty and staff, but anyone is invited to attend,” Bates said.