Simpson honors MLK day with campus dialogue


Photo by Chase Thurston

by Chase Thurston, Staff Reporter

Racial justice, equality and inclusion were central topics of a campus dialogue on Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

Held in Hubbell Hall on Monday afternoon, the event sought to engage students in a discussion about their different perspectives and experiences. 

The dialogue was hosted by the Multicultural Student Alliance and split the attendees into discussion groups led by facilitators. The intent of the event was to celebrate the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and honor his message of creating dialogue to bring about change.

“I think dialogue overall is a good way of engaging issues like this rather than being talked at,” said Josiah Sutton, an attendee of the event. “I do think the dialogues are a pretty effective way of doing it because you get to hear from different perspectives and come to this more nuanced understanding of it.”

The groups were prompted with questions about how Simpson can best promote equality and inclusion on campus. Facilitators encouraged attendees to speak their mind and understand others’ views without turning the discussion into a debate. 

The dialogue was the fourth in the Simpson College Dialogue Series. Over the course of the 90 minute discussion, all attendees had ample opportunity to discuss their personal opinions and experiences. 

Every prompt allotted each attendee two minutes to speak, with additional time for discussion and questions. Attendees were briefed and, afterward, debriefed on the guidelines of the event. 

Another central topic of the discussion was promoting the values of racial justice, equality and inclusion on a predominantly white campus, and understanding the varying backgrounds of the student population. 

Attendees also discussed the personal responsibility each student has in promoting and understanding those values by involving themselves in dialogue. 

The dialogue was closed with everyone sharing what they had learned during the course of the discussion. Several attendees spoke on the benefits of hearing perspectives from others with different backgrounds than their own.