Fighting for Our Rights at “Where’s My Place”

Rutgers University- Camden does not have an Office of Diversity and Inclusion. For those of you who don’t know, an Office of Diversity and Inclusion is an office that focuses on making sure that ALL students regardless of race, gender, sexuality, ability, religion, and other social identities feel safe and included on their campus.

My social justice organization, Underground, and I have spent the last three months collecting petition signatures, and planning an event called “Where’s My Place”- a storytelling event that highlighted student, staff and faculty leader stories in order to showcase our need for an ODI at our institution. This event happened Monday, March 27th at Rutgers Camden.

UndergroundWMP
The Underground EBoard; From Left to Right- Sonjanit DeFrank, Radha Prabakaran, Jasmaine Quashie,Tiara DeGuzman

The night was really special. The music was cultural, there was a taco bar, and there was love in the room as we built a safe space where everyone’s story was validated. Even, a few administrators showed up ready to hear our stories.

The speakers and performers, especially the students, really stole the show. They spoke with such vulnerability and authenticity- diving into stories about microaggressions, intersectional oppression, racial trauma and more.

I, of course, spoke about my love for books, and the power of creating representation for myself as a woman of color in a world where we’re often erased, and taught to be seen but not heard. Click below to hear a clip of my story!

P.S. Rutgers Camden is currently in the midst of creating an Office of Diversity and Inclusion, and says that it should be available for students on campus this fall!

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