New ULM group focuses on raising awareness on cultural diversity

Published: Apr. 27, 2021 at 8:53 PM CDT
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MONROE, La. (KNOE) - The University of Louisiana Monroe has a new organization aimed at improving cultural diversity awareness and education for everyone on campus.

The Cultural Diversity Council was created after students voiced concerns following the Black Lives Matter protests in the summer of 2020, according to council president Erick Burton.

“That’s how the Cultural Diversity Council started. It was conversation. It was a group of individuals who felt the same, had the same concerns. And we got together and we was like, ‘Okay, how can we make these things happen?’” said Burton.

“The goal is to make a difference. The goal is to show people how culturally diverse ULM really is, what ULM is really about, what really makes us ‘the best on the bayou’. Times are changing, but you can see in the world that there’s still a lot of dislike and hate,” said Burton.

The council also brings conversations to the university’s forefront about any injustices happening across the country.

“We want to educate the students, even faculty and staff and say that ‘Hey, everybody in the world does not look like you, dress like you, listen to the same music as you, but in one way or another, we are one, we are the same,” said Burton.

Cameryn Thompson is a member of the council. She joined to make sure her voice is heard.

“I joined because I feel as though we need more groups like this on campus to really include everyone and to really include like, all kinds of backgrounds, cultures, and just walks of life. So everyone feels like their voices are being heard, and everyone feels like they’re being seen on campus,” said Thompson.

Thompson said the council wants to make sure all students feel understood and safe.

Another member, Cameron Ott, said the council is also a great way to meet people.

“Cultural Diversity Council is an excellent place to get started, because it’s a place where there’s different types of people from all different walks of life from campus, all in one place,” said Ott.

The faculty at ULM is on board. Advisor Brooke Foy said what makes the group unique is it encompasses a wide range of students to provide support to the student body.

“Embracing everything we are, everything the students are, more diversity. I think we do have NAACP, which is a really great organization that focuses on the Black community. But this allows us as a group and our students to help educate on all that we are as a university,” said Foy.

In January, the Cultural Diversity Council brought ‘Black Lives Matter’ letters to campus for cultural diversity month. They also participated in a Black history walk to pay tribute to African Americans and other minorities.

In March 2021, the council spotlighted different women who’ve made an impact on campus. On April 28, 2021, the Cultural Diversity Council plans to host a networking panel with minority professionals on zoom from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Anyone can attend.

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