By Kris Storey
Editor’s Note: dr. becky martinez spells her name in all lowercase.
The University of Mississippi’s Division of Diversity and Community Engagement program has put together a three-part series named, “Dialogues On Diversity.” The program looks to foster in an institutional change through these discussions.
The event hosts a different speaker each night that started this past Monday with dr. becky martinez. Payton Head will lead a discussion on “Intentionally Intersection Leadership” Sept. 19, and Dr. Fernanmi Okanlami will conclude the series on Oct. 29 with a discussion on “Disabusing Disability.”
On Monday night, martinez led an inclusive dialogue on “Engaging Inclusion Through a Class Lens.” This was not a lecture but a conversation between her and the audience.
martinez led her discussion regarding class and where one finds oneself in it, emphasizing the understanding that everyone is different.
“I’m always or often straddling class, figuring out where I am in this moment and what it means to me… We don’t talk about it, and we are taught not to talk about class,” martinez said. “Through and through we never talk about class, but we are always talking about class.”
martinez spoke about how often views are shaped by the class one is apart of in society. That is the lens that people view their everyday lives through, she said.
University of Mississippi student Jordy Wyms shared her perception of class and the way her view of it has changed.
“I am going to stop trying to form opinions about people from just based off of what I can see. Also going to try and reach out to different types of people in different classes,” Wyms said.
This is the type of reaction Martinez hopes to get out of those that hear her speak. She said she hopes to open people’s minds to think about things that they have never thought about before.
The program believes that these types of dialogues are the key to seeing a change that many people believe Ole Miss needs. Dr. Tanya Nichols, project manager of diversity, said that these types of dialogues and events are apart of their purpose.
“Part of being in a college setting is to prepare people for the real world. Apart of our institutional initiatives is to have everyone feel comfortable, having everyone feel included. We need to make sure that we think about the intersection of class,” Nichols said.
For more information on the Division of Diversity and Community Engagement. visit the program’s website.