ABCD Events

By: Emma Klein, Alex Lindeman, Ty Viebranz, Richardson Paye, Gil Castaneda

Institute Information:

The purpose of Anti-Bullying Celebrate Diversity Institute is to discuss and educate about inclusivity in a positive and accepting atmosphere. The event will be held on Friday, March 30th from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the commons and LGI (Large Group Instructional) free lunch will be provided for UW Fond du Lac students.

Interview with the Institute Director

When asked why she created a diversity program for UW Fond du Lac. Professor Kayoung Kim said, it has been an eventful year, and I asked myself how to make our community a more inclusive climate. Additionally, volunteers and sponsors have made this event possible, and community leaders have gotten behind the event. The event is not just for college students but for all members of the community, including businesses and younger students.

When asked what her favorite part of the program is so far Dr. Kim responded that every talk will be her favorite, and the variety of events provided during the lunch hour, including two different exhibitions for the audience to attend, along with an in-depth dialogue session on diversity. She added that she hopes alternate topics can be discussed each year at the Institute, adding more variety and diversity.

Lastly, she says she is thankful for the outpouring support from the campus and the greater Fond du Lac community, as well as the volunteers' enthusiastic and passionate help in making this Institute happen.

Interview with the Diversity Director Becky Vis

When asked about what the program was about. Becky said, "The program is about educating on both a scientific level as well as a personal one. We hope that by speakers sharing their information or stories that we can provide people with a foundation to build upon and apply to their lives.

When asked if she was surprised by the number of people who were willing to help to bring the program to life, Becky stated that she was surprised. "I was surprised by not only how many people were willing to help but how much work goes into putting together an event. Everyone that helped brought their own unique strengths to it.

Becky's closing remark was that her favorite part about the program is that it has helped her to come out of her shell, "I've learned how to lead and how to reach out and contact people that I didn't know personally. I also have made some friends in the process that hopefully, I will continue to have for life.

Interview with Students

When we asked students how they felt about the upcoming ABCD Institute, many of them responded with excitement. Saying they were not sure what to expect but were excited to learn something new.

Other students expressed their happiness for the ABCD event, claiming it is always good for a campus to try to promote diversity. "The more chances people get to learn about diverse issues, the better and closer the community can become".

Interview with Faculty

With posters stapled to bulletin boards and taped to walls, one can easily find something related to the institute within their daily routine on campus. A few faculty members were asked about their knowledge about the ABCD Institute, what they think about the cause and their opinions about how this event could benefit the culture here on campus. The responses were unanimous in the benefits the institute poses. In addition to seeing posters hung in various locations, faculty members were pleased to hear what the institute was about.

The faculty here at UW-Fond Du Lac is excited and eager to have this become a relevant and recognized group, but also to have it started here at our own campus and what it could bring to the students.

Register for ABCD

If you are interested in attending the ABCD Institute we ask that you register online at our website or use our QR code provided. Our QR code takes you to our ABCD registration page. 

ABCD Institute 2018

Summary of Events

By: Emma Klein, Alex Lindeman, Ty Viebranz, Richardson Paye, Gill Castaneda

Keynote Speaker Lisa Hanasono:

Lisa Hanasono talked about bullying and how it is still a very serious problem in today's society. She highlighted the everyday struggle that the victim goes through when they are being bullied. "Victims focus so much on their bullies that they shut out everything else." This means that for someone who is being bullied in school, they will start to fall behind their peers' grade wise, because they are not focusing on their work but are instead focusing on their bullies to avoid drawing their attention. Hanasono also talked about the tricky and somewhat slippery slope that we (the bystanders) have to navigate when we want to intervene in a situation where someone is being bullied. The two types of bystanders that were addressed were those online who witness bullying and then your traditional bystanders. Hanasono's tips for bystanders online was to report the bully and avoid commenting on their posts. This protects you from being drawn into a hostile environment, it helps to stop the situation from escalating and lastly, it keeps you anonymous. Her advice for bystanders in a physical environment was to speak up because bullies tend to stop when they are confronted by bystanders.

Hanasano also talked briefly about the way we talk to people and how although we may not intend to be disrespectful or rude, it can still sound this way. She used the example of people asking her where she is from, expecting to learn about heritage because of the way she looks, she then tells them that she is from the Midwest. They aren't satisfied with that answer and persist by asking her where her parents are from, and the narrative continues until she decides to let them off the hook and explain to them the error they made by asking her those questions. Hanasano explained that it not only is it impolite to assume someone's race and ethnicity just because of how they look, it can be very discriminatory as well. Instead she gave us tips on how to ask where someone is from. You can wait for the person to disclose that information to you, you can ask them what ethnicity they are instead of where are you from.

Ken Smits

Ken was a catholic pastor who told a lot of stories about different people he had helped or guided. One thing I thought was interesting was how he was a part of a program that helped former prison inmates intergrade back into normal society. He also talked about a friendship he had developed with a black Muslim man. The Muslim man was a heavy drug user and tried stopping but ended up getting locked up in prison and eventually ended up getting killed because of drugs.

Another story was about how he a helped someone who was transgender transition. He had removed them from their home away from their parents and tried to just help them with transitioning. He also talked about how his church was very accepting for anyone who came into the church and was a part of the LGBTQ community.

Rudy Bankston

Rudy Bankston's presentation brought attention to the vulnerability Black children share as targets of unjust treatment and denied opportunities and their potential victimization by the school to prison pipeline, allowing ABCD participants to consider the impact of systemic racism, related conditions, and individual attitudes and behaviors on children's development. Rudy Bankston is man who served 20 years in prison for a crime he did not commit. Growing up in a racially charged environment in Milwaukee played a humongous role in that incarceration. Receiving unjust treatment just because of the color of his skin. Rudy Bankston after all his trials and tribulations chose to stand above all the nonsense and be the person he is today. A man who is free and educated, dismantling racism by sharing his story to help others open their eyes.

Rudy Bankston is an inspiring story. He showed the willingness and will power one needs to overcome issues such as racism, peer pressure, and negative environments. That regardless the circumstances, people are always there willing to lend a hand to someone who chooses to take it. Rudy Bankston is a man who dealt with quite a bit, but still has the determination to have all people be treated as dignified human beings through anti-racist actions.

Sandra Neumann

Sandra Neumann's presentation defined what a social justice ally is, what we can do to fight oppression, and how to stay strong in the face of opposition. Allowing ABCD participants to reflect on this new insight and choose where to go from there. Sandra Neumann educated her audience with new terms to help promote being a social justice ally. She made an emphasis on the difference between equity and equality. Equity is giving everyone what he or she needs to be successful. Equality is treating everyone the same. She also discussed the term privileged. Being privileged is belonging to a dominant group, who receives different treatment for belonging to it. A social justice ally is someone who belongs to a dominant group and recognizes the issue and goes through the proper channels to improve the issue for everyone in the best way fit for everyone.

Sandra's presentation was comforting. That people who have a stronger voice (the privileged) are seeing the problems in our society and are trying to come up with new methods to try to solve and or if not, at least improve the situation. She understands and even warns the audience that this will be no easy battle but with perseverance and awareness of the situation you choose to support, that it will be achieved. That one must recognize which side he or she stands on and must accept it and choose to fight for what they believe is right.

Lora Vahlsing

Lora Vahlsing's presentation discussed discrimination in her own home and many hardships she endured growing up. Vahlsing was an orphan and was eventually adopted. Her family was Caucasian and she was Asian so she didn't quite feel like she fit in. She didn't have the opportunity to celebrate and learn about her country and her origin because it was not one she shared with her adoptive family. In family photos it always was exceedingly clear to her that she wasn't like her family.

Vahlsing found an outlet for dealing with her struggles by expressing herself through art. She took what she dealt with and put it out onto canvas. Though her family did not necessarily intentionally discriminate, it still was a big part of her childhood and adolescence. Until she traveled and found her biological family, she never had the closure and comfort of feeling like she fit in. Once she met them, she had that sense of ease that went along with knowing where she came from.

Fenaba Addo

Fenaba Addo discussed how the debt incurred by student's changes based on race. With African American students accumulating more debt on average than white students, by 130%. Four factors impact this debt: parents finances, choice of college (African Americans are more likely to be pursued by for profit universities than whites. One-third of attendants at for profit universities are African American's and for-profit universities often charge substantially more for the same degree than other colleges), credit availability differences between whites and African Americans, and lastly how likely a person is to get a job after completing college.

The average student leaves college with $37,000 in debt, however there are a lot of outliers with many having much more debt than this and if people are unable to pay immediately the interest grows until it is insurmountable because even declaring bankruptcy (in Wisconsin) does not release a person from student loan debt. These factors have a huge impact on people's lives and the lives of their children. Additionally, this debt dis-proportionally impacts African American's and their wealth security in times of job loss and injury which may influence racial wealth disparities over generations.

Bret Evered

Bret Evered talked about how to balance cultural life in an everchanging and fast paced society, and how multiple cultural groups can be hard for young people to flow between. She then continues to say that managing her culture is especially hard because she is both Native American and a modern woman and it can be very difficult to live in two worlds.

However, living a multi-cultural life can be made easier for people by learning about history in the community and the country from a variety of perspectives even though many groups may have great pain in their cultural past. One way that she continues her culture is through a practice called "Mino Bimaadiziwin" an Anishinaabe/Ojibwa phrase for "living well" she feels it gives her life balance getting back to nature and spirit something that we all need in a fast-paced world. Her main message is to find your spirit and joy and to live a life full of cultural pride rather than shame.

Chandra Waring

Chandra Waring spoke about how acceptance of racial differences in the United States seem to be changing how the anti-miscegenation laws forbidding people of different races to intermarry was repealed by the supreme court and the 2000 census was first-year people could check all that apply in the category of race. Additionally, the bi-racial and multi-racial population has grown from 3% to 7% of the population and is expected to reach 20% by 2050.

However, there are still problems for bi-racial and multi-racial people in our society many of the terms used to describe them label them as other before even a positive or negative connotation of a word is added. In addition, many bi-racial or multi-racial people are labeled as "confused" for wanting to belong to multiple racial and or ethnic groups. This makes it very hard for people with multiple backgrounds to understand their identity. These beliefs that being bi or multi-racial is a bad thing has begun to change. Seeing the ability to consciously change behavior based on what group of people a person is with can be seen as an asset, and that these people are adaptable rather than confused. These changes in viewing others more positively may cause people to change their thinking about one another.

Jody Siker

Jody Siker spoke about how we should consider disability as a social category, and not look at those who have a disability as another or someone who is different. Siker also advised an A-Z acronym to challenge the way we previously viewed what a disability is, and how we can utilize tools to be inclusive in our interactions.

One of the key points that was addressed was the concept of neurodiversity. Neurodiversity is a concept where neurological differences are recognized as human variations in terms of one's ability to think. These can include those labeled with mental differences like Dyspraxia, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Autistic Spectrum, etc. Siker's presentation was eye opening on a subject that is often overlooked and dismissed and offered a different way of looking at this issue in a way that was easy to connect with.

Christopher Szymczak

Christopher Szymczak talked about the LGBTQ community, and what it is like to be LGBTQ in his presentation "Does your family know you are straight? As a former student of the UW system, Szymczak shared personal experiences that ties into the realization that our campus is not very active in Gay Straight Alliance, which limits a student's ability to become successful as barriers stand in front of them that prevents unity with other students.

His message was about inclusiveness, and not to tokenize the members of the LGBTQ community, as they are people just like everyone else. Furthermore, they are our fellow classmates. At campus it is important for everyone who attends to have the same opportunities to achieve excellence.

Laura Khoury

Laura Khoury talked about the recent events that we have seen on the news over the past several years about police officers killing unarmed black men. Khoury said that although the officers who are doing the killings are part of the problem, the biggest reason for what we see now lies within the police system. In the police system officers are trained unconsciously to be suspicious of black people. There are techniques of how they target black men, for example if they see a black man driving a fancy car in a relatively poor neighborhood, they are taught to follow them because it's suspicious for a black person to be driving a car that nice. These techniques have created a sense of hostility towards black men and that intensifies when they are stopped by police. This is where the problem lies, and where many lives have been unfortunately lost. The most moving part of Khoury's speech is when she wanted to leave her young boy in the car to buy groceries, on her way up the stairs she stopped and went back to get her son because he fit the profile of the recent killings. A seemingly innocent boy who is profiled and unjustly killed.

Khoury's suggestion for how to stop these killings was to change the way the police system is set up. She argues that laws such as stop and frisk are targeted towards racially profiling people of color. Her suggestion was to change the way police determine who is a suspicious person when they are out on patrol.

Lunch Exhibits

The lunch hour event held in the LGI (Large Group Instruction) room focused on sharing personal information with people in a safe environment. The purpose of the sharing was to show that even though we are all different we can all make an effort to understand each other and to accept one another. One of the activities that took place was naming something you liked. Each person in the room had to name something they liked, if someone else liked that thing they would stand up. The activity went on until everyone in the room was standing. This showed that we all have something in common, we can all find common ground.

Another lunch hour exhibit was the Exhibit of Firsts which were posters on people who were the first in their field. For example, the first African American basketball player, or the first woman to go to space. These people are important because they show the accomplishments of often underrated and overlooked groups of people who are deserving of our respect for their achievements. This exhibit was brought to the ABCD Institute by students in the Psychology of Discrimination class at University of Wisconsin-Fond du Lac.

Another exhibit was on Native American culture and history brought to us by the Native Nations Student Organization of University of Wisconsin-Superior. They had beaded pieces with amazingly intricate and detailed design. They also provided pamphlets on the Anishinaabe/Ojibwe tribal history and culture. The group, also provided small globes for participants to take home as a reminder that we all live on this earth, and we should respect each other's cultures and beliefs.

Audience Responses

One student was surprised by how well the presentations went that we were well organized, and he did not feel like this was our first time having a program like this. One professor said it was nice to see the speakers how she had spoken with them before the event over e-mail and was glad to finally meet them in person. Furthermore, it is nice to meet people who are interested in doing work similar to what she does. Multiple professors expressed this same feeling and many of the guest speakers and professors expressed a desire to keep in contact. The audience was willing to communicate their personal thoughts and feelings about issues that are normally not discussed in the open and seemed excited to talk about these issues. For your willingness to talk we thank you, you made this event a success.

Thank youfrom the ABCD Institute Newsletter Committee

Additionally, Dr. Kim the Director of ABCD Institute felt the event went very well, and acknowledged the passionate contributions of student staff, institute colleagues, speakers, and audience. All of us at the institute want to thank those who have supported, assisted, or attended the institute we could not have done it without you.