Hundreds attend first diversity conference at SFA

Published: Jan. 31, 2015 at 9:25 PM CST|Updated: Jan. 31, 2015 at 10:30 PM CST
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Source: KTRE Staff
Source: KTRE Staff
Source: KTRE Staff
Source: KTRE Staff

NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - Hundreds of people are gathering at Stephen F. Austin University to learn about each others diverse backgrounds to discuss how multicultural conversations are teaching them about the beauty behind diversity.

SFA held their first ever, diversity conference Saturday. Students and people from all backgrounds came together to start a powerful conversation.

"We all are different. We all look different but we can experience the same things," said SFA student Nytesia Ross.

"In order for us to get to know each other a little bit better and share our stories and learn from each other," said SFA associate professor, Sudeshna Roy.

Topics of discussion ranged from the Trans gender Experience to HIV and women of color in East Texas to the Hidden Faces of first-generation and undocumented students, gender and disabilities, the hidden faces of Berlin...the list goes on.

There were 16 presentations in all including the identity negotiation of minority cultures in small town America, hosted by Roy.

"My daughter and my son they frequently discuss how they are negotiating their identities in small town America much of it is positive but some of it is negative -- and challenging but I think that is the case with every form of human interaction," Roy said.

Roy and her panel discussed their personal experiences.

"We're having people that are talking about their personal experiences and people that we wouldn't normally ask, you know we wouldn't go up to them and say well can you tell me your story," Ross said.

Ross delivered a poetry performance about how a mother would feel about bringing a child into this world.

"I think it will help us and help us realize that we need to treat each other differently and better," Ross said.

"I hope Nacogdoches incorporates more and more people from other countries in different roles as a community because if small town America if you think it might be homogenous in terms of culture but it is actually very diverse," Roy said.

Nearly 300 people registered to attend. Organizers in the office of multicultural affairs said they plan to make the multicultural conference an annual event.

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