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MCC Diversity Gallery Walk is Mar. 26-30

Diversity Gallery Walk photo (Andre)

Andre

Diversity Gallery Walk (Lindsey)

Lindsey

It’s a rare individual who hasn’t “judged a book by its cover” now and then, in some respect or another. But Marshalltown Community College students are hoping that next week’s Diversity Gallery Walk will cause people to pause before making assumptions or judgments about others. When it comes to people, MCC believes there’s always more to someone than meets the eye.

Sponsored by the MCC Diversity Committee, the Diversity Gallery Walk will be open to the public Monday through Friday, Mar. 26-30, from 8 am to 5 pm in the Ray Frederick Gallery at MCC. The Gallery is located in room 302.

Diversity Committee member Carolyn Briggs said the idea for the Gallery Walk came from Sally Wilson, MCC Biology Faculty, who saw a similar project at a professional development conference.

“Initially, I asked students in two of my Composition classes what people have assumed about them based on appearances, and what kinds of things they’d prefer to have people know about them,” says Briggs. “Students turned those in without names attached, and I read them aloud in class. It was really powerful.”

The Diversity Gallery Walk will feature large photos of the MCC students with whiteboard messages about how they’ve been stereotyped and/or what they’d like others to know about them. Briggs says she and Professor George Johnson asked some of their classes if they’d like to volunteer for the Diversity Gallery Walk project, and nearly 25 students stepped forward.

“We were really impressed with how many students volunteered for the photo project, because they’re risking something and making themselves vulnerable for this cause,” says Briggs. “Some of our students have shared painful and deeply personal circumstances with the belief that it’s our duty as citizens and students to educate each other. A college should certainly be about improving communications and eliminating prejudices, misconceptions and inaccurate assumptions.”

Johnson adds, “This project makes a bold statement about the value this college places on diversity and about the increased diversity we see in our staff and student populations here at MCC. We believe that this Diversity Gallery Walk will help bridge the communication gap and build mutual support and understanding for all who participate.”

In addition to the Diversity Gallery Walk being open all week for public viewing, the College plans to host a more pointed Tiger Chat discussion with students, staff and faculty. The Tiger Chat will begin with a tour of the Diversity Gallery Walk, and will then move to a discussion the topics and issues raised by the participants. “This will be a great experience for our students,” Johnson asserts.

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