Rowan students dine-in for diversity

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Four tables were placed together, though only two were used on the green in the Holly Pointe Commons cafeteria for a small group of 10 Rowan University students from “Dining For Diversity.”

The Social Justice, Inclusion, and Conflict Resolution (SJICR) series continued on Wednesday in Holly Pointe’s cafeteria. The event had what is known as “The Green,” all to itself. The Green gets its name for being the dining area inside the cafeteria with a green rug for a floor.

Dining For Diversity is organized and run by Dr. John T. Mills, the assistant director for Multicultural and Inclusion programs, which is supported by SJICR.

This week’s topic focused on multi/biracial relationships in America. Dr. Mills sat down for his evening meal and discussed the history of biracial relationships. He said how race classification was created in the United States, along with ideas of its current state.

Mills continues to coordinate these events because he wants students to have opportunities to talk about different issues with their peers.

“The issues that we do talk about are issues that educates the individual, but also educates the community,” Mills said.

He said placing students in the relaxed environment like the classroom gives students a comfortable space for discussion away from their busy schedules.

“It’s not in a classroom setting. You’re hanging out eating, you’re able to mix and mingle with people, and sometimes that’s a better way to get people to open up or listen better,” he said.

The open discussion of biracial marriages and relationships used different examples from students.

Nyesha White, a senior biochemistry major, used an example of a biracial relationship with a Cheerios commercial that featured an African-American man and a Caucasian woman with a daughter.

Dr. Mills mentioned the film “Loving” to illustrate the history of biracial relationships in the United States. “Loving,” an upcoming film distributed by Universal Pictures is set to be released on Friday, Nov. 4. The group is also organizing a bus trip to see the film.

“Loving” tells the story of Richard and Mildred Loving, a biracial couple who fought for equal rights for their marriage in the Loving v. Virginia case.

White said she has been to five Dining for Diversity discussions so far. She added that her job in the Social Justice Department and her love for learning about cultures is what makes her keep coming back.

“I feel like these conversations are really important to engage students in learning about the environment that they’re in,” White said.

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