America is one large melting pot. Many come from different backgrounds and beliefs, yet we are still one country.
On Wednesday, November 2, Perrysburg Schools held their own Diversity and Inclusion Forum at the Commodore Building auditorium and to say the least, it was amazing.
People from all ages, genders, and ethnicities gathered together and celebrated, recognized, and understood the amazing diversity that is gathered in our town. 11 individuals, sharing their stories, came together to recognize one another. If you missed the event, here are the individuals that stood on the panel Wednesday night:
Don Christie- PJHS Administrator and also parent, representing multiracial/adoption
Imam Eid- Islamic Leader- Islamic Center of Greater Toledo
Carolyn Glasser- PHS Sophomore, representing Judaism
Kevin Hofmann- author of “Growing Up Black in White”-representing multiracial/adoption
Monisola Oyeleke- PHS Senior, representing Nigeria
Scott Rothstein-Jewish Community Relations Council Chair
Olivia Simkins Bullock- representing LGBTQ community
Anita Serda-Executive Director at Sylvania Area Family Services- representing Latino Culture
Christy Shona- Perrysburg parent of a student living with a disability
Sharon Subreenduth, Ph.D.- Professor- BGSU, parent, teacher, educator, immigrant
Priyanka Vemuru- PHS Senior, representing Hinduism
A common topic brought up in the event was reducing gaps and misunderstandings that happens between all the different cultures. As a community, they wanted to celebrate all these differences and recognize them. Hearing each story from all the individuals was incredibly interesting. Audiences members learned that everyone has different backgrounds, and started understanding those differences.
Ignorance was discussed and how people with physical disabilities are treated differently and excluded. It truly was a learning experience. The audience learned correct ways to approach and ask question of someone who may be different. Everyone has their own identity, and as people it is important to understand and celebrate those identities.
I was lucky enough to interview one of the individuals on the panel, Carolyn Glasser, a PHS Sophomore representing Judaism. Carolyn explained to me how much she loved the ideas of it all and hearing different people, different experiences, and working to fix the problems.
She explained the overall experience was interesting and eye-opening.
Glasser said the diversity forum helped her not feel alone, and that she saw other people relate to her experiences.
During the forum, Carolyn mentioned she had went to Israel the past summer and had become closer personally and gained a sense of pride for her religion, which was very interesting to hear about. She explained, she learned more about her heritage but it was also like a history lesson. And saw first all of her ancestors, and people who had fought and died so people like her could live peacefully and a hometown for acceptance.
Overall, this event was extremely informational, interesting, and a great experience. Learning about all of these backgrounds is truly eye-opening. Diversity is everywhere, so learn about it, celebrate, and recognize it!
Other stories by Leah Cote:
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