Program provides tips on handling discrimination

Workshop provides tips on how to discuss inequality

JOEL KEMEGUE, Evergreen mint editor

Monday afternoon, as part of the MLK Program, Matthew Jeffries, Gender Identity/Expression and Sexual Orientation Resource Center director, and Trymaine Gaither, recruitment coordinator for the Honors College, facilitated the workshop Mindful Dialogue: Tools When Having Difficult Conversations around Social Injustice.

“If we’re not going to sit and understand … their experiences,” Jeffries said. “How can we stand with those from marginalized backgrounds?”

The workshop centered on how to have conversations about racism, gender inequality and social injustice.

Jeffries and Gaither introduced the R.A.I.N. method: Recognize the problem, Allow yourself to feel what you feel, Investigate what exactly elicited the reaction and Nurture the knowledge. The method is meant to help those who experience bigoted statements and actions.

Gaither used his personal life as an example for the workshop. He explained both personal generational trauma his family has gone through and a racist encounter only weeks ago.

“I learned a lot by setting it up with [Gaither],” Jeffries said. “I think it’s informing my practice because I can often … be so sucked in to the heavy things at work that I can’t just look away from the suffering. I need to look at it, I need to process through it and think about how to move forward.”

Sophomore global politics and French major Nicole Craze said the workshop left her more optimistic toward the future.

“A lot of people don’t focus on the positive attributes and what we can do to fix the negative attributes,” Craze said. “Having a place where everyone has a different way of looking at things is very eye opening.”

Freshman broadcast news major Kaitlyn Hornbuckle said she believed events like this would lead to a more successful future.

“We have a lot of negativity that surrounds our world,” Hornbuckle said. “To have somewhere a room of people that are willing and wanting to make the world a better place … it’s something that’s really impactful.”