I did not know what to expect when I walked into Lunch and Learn. I immediately sought out a table with a few familiar faces. Being the extrovert I am, I immediately introduced myself to the others at the table, and felt content to have a couple friends already at the table.
Of course, my comfort did not last long. After everyone had shuffled in, the group facilitator asked us to move away from those we knew. Seeing as my table was filled with people I knew, I reluctantly got up to sit at a new table. Besides the table leader, I was the only girl at my new table. I was slightly intimidated, as it seemed that the boys at the table all clearly knew each other, whereas I was the stranger.
Our initial instruction was to dialogue with the person across from us, starting off with simple questions. “What’s your name?” “What’s your major?” “Describe a family tradition of yours.” The questions slowly got more deep and personal, as we had to talk about our personal experiences with discrimination and inequality. During the table discussion, an urban African American male talked about some very real experiences of discrimination he personally faced, both on campus and off campus. From store managers keeping an eye on him to make sure he didn’t steal anything to students on campus acting fearful of him, I was honestly horrified to find out how often discrimination happens … especially to someone who goes to the same school as me.
We have a long way to go, and we are far from perfect. However, it is through opening up in events like these that we can raise awareness and slowly change the scene to a more positive and uplifting community. I was grateful for attending Lunch and Learn, so that I could better understand the lives of the peers around me.