River Walk Discussions Spark Conversations on Racial Injustice

By Sarah Chesek, Staff Writer-

Race Talk on the River Walk was created to engage students and faculty in conversations about race in a meaningful safe way.

The event is broken up into three sessions were participants are able to walk the river walk while having personal conversations about racial injustice and its effects.

Mubrra Amir, a student who attended the events, stated.

“It is much easier to have meaningful conversations about a heavy topic while walking with a beautiful view.”

The coordinators of the walking series are Bengt Carlson, experiential learning coordinator, and Darrell Walsh, Assistant Professor for the department of social, cultural, and justice studies.

The series was inspired after Carlson and Walsh had discussions about race and wanted to expand these conversations to a larger audience.  

Currently the event consists of 15 to 20 people, most of which being faculty.

The overall goal of this event is to find a way to talk about racial issues in a non-controversial way in order to learn and grow as an individual through group conversation.

Amir continued,

 “We met on the river walk path, introduced ourselves and started walking. We talked about our experiences with people from different races, current social situations, what we can do about it, how to make our campus more diversity inclusive…we had a diverse group of participants and everyone discussed openly and without hesitation.”

This event allows participants to engage with people of different race, cultures, and ethnicities to better understand their individual experiences while seeing race through a new lens.

Monica Cheung was another student at the event who explained that she loved hearing about other cultures; she descried it as an “experience you take with you.”

“Having meaningful conversations on race that serve as a space for learning and action planning, I think we can hope that this dialogue will act as a first step for change and equality for our future. We live in a place where we can do great things and coexist peacefully, but it takes having conversations,” Walsh stated.

Darrell expressed that people can do their own research online but having casual conversations with colleagues and friends has a greater impact

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