By: Rachel Gonzalez | Contributing Writer
W.O.K.E. shared an evening of laughter, serious discussion, and eye-opening perspectives as students of all nationalities and ethnicities gathered in the Humanities building for a general meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 18th.
Students were asked a series of questions about stereotypes and assumptions and were told to sit down in desks placed in the middle of the room if they could relate. Students were then asked to share an a example or time when they faced either discrimination or a stereotype. Cultural differences seemed to vanish as students shared stereotypes and judgments that were made of them by others.
“The focus of this organization is to bring people from various backgrounds and let them have a seat at our table,” said Jumoke Sanusi, president of the organization. “We want to hear their ideas and their viewpoints; we may have similarities and some disagreements, but it’s honestly a way to connect and grow,” Sanusi said. “You know more about yourself when your opinions and notions are tested by different ones,” she added.
Many nationalities were represented that evening, from India, Togo, Germany, Colombia, Norway, and more. Despite the cultural differences, students were able to find some common ground. The purpose of the meeting was to get students to think not only about assumptions and stereotypes that people have made about them but about the ones they have possibly made about others as well.
Kaan Oezpenpe, an international student from Germany and a member of W.O.K.E. expressed his reason for joining. “I really like the W.O.K.E. community because I get to see very different people, new cultures, and get to make new friends on campus,” he said. “It’s important that we all come together to interact, share our ideas and what’s on our minds,” Oezpenpe concluded.
“I know it’s scary to place yourself in uncomfortable situations, or an area where no one looks like you, but when you do that you find out more about yourself and about others. You learn new perspectives and that’s how you grow.” Sanusi said.
Meetings and events are held once a month on the third Tuesday of the month. Be sure to follow WOKE on Instagram: Woke_USA for more information regarding upcoming meetings or events.