Identity Week Unifies Campus Community

Students came together at the Upstander walk to stand in unity against discrimination as they walked around campus with arms linked this past Friday, April 6. This was just one event in the Second Annual Identity Week.

The theme of the week this year was intersectionality, or “the complex, cumulative manner in which the effects of different forms of discrimination combine, overlap, or intersect,” according to Merriam-Webster.

The week began with a brief presentation on intersectionality and culminated Saturday with the International Festival.

Ric Baker, senior associate dean of students, said the event began four years ago as Identity Day. When the Myatt Center for Diversity & Inclusion opened in 2016, the event expanded to a week.

Josh Carbajal, senior forensic science major, has been involved with the week for years and said that this week felt more inclusive.

“Before it was for us, so to speak, now it kind of felt like it was for everyone,” said Carbajal.

Juan M. Hernandez, director of the Myatt Center for Diversity & Inclusion, felt the week was successful because it allowed students to embrace differences and feel comfortable talking with their peers.

“To be quite honest, they’ve been some of the most powerful conversations I’ve been in since I’ve arrived here,” said Hernandez.

Carbajal said that these topics were important and that not many people often think about them. He said that “many people just exist” without barriers in their way, but it is important to recognize that some students do not get this privilege.

“Each and every single one of our students is different and different doesn’t mean bad,” said Hernandez. “So I preach that we should celebrate those differences.”

Carbajal said that it is always possible to learn, even from those in one’s own community.

By taking the time to share and celebrate what makes us all unique and at the same time similar, we are making space to include everyone in our community, and foster understanding of people whose identities may not align with our own,” said Baker.

Baker said his favorite part of the week was the Upstander Walk because it is “an opportunity for the entire campus to come together” in support.

Chazz Mair

“Even though we’re different we are all a part of this community, the UNH community,” said Carbajal.  “We’re different but we’re still us.”