2011-10-11 Holland Sentinel Students find common ground at Calling All Colors Conference

Students find common ground at Calling All Colors event
The Holland Sentinel

Holland —

“We both like to dance.”

“We both like Chinese food.”

“We’re both wearing the same shoes.”

Students found they had a lot in common with one another at the Calling All Colors conference Tuesday — it just took some patience and listening to discover.

High school students from nine school districts gathered at Hope College for a full day of diversity awareness activities, coordinated by the Lakeshore Ethnic Diversity Alliance.

“We are more like each other than we are unlike each other,” Sally Woods, dialogue facilitator for the program, told students.

Woods asked students to stand next to someone they didn’t know, then write down something they had in common and something that made them different from one another.

She then called on them to share their similarities and differences.

“I play volleyball, and she’s a cheerleader,” one student said about her partner.

Woods pointed out it’s often easier to see how someone is different from you than how they are similar, but “what we seek, we will find,” she said. “This is what Calling All Colors is about — when we dare to listen.”

Before the afternoon’s activities, much of the discussion at Calling All Colors focused on racial bias in pop culture.

Organizers try to shift topics each year to keep the activities relevant to students, said Sarah Salguera, program director for the Lakeshore Ethnic Diversity Alliance.

This is the 16th year for the annual conference, but only the fifth year it has included high school students.
“More than ever before, this is a generation of media consumers,” she said. “We want to give them the tools to critically analyze what they’re seeing in the media.”

Topics during Tuesday afternoon’s activity session ranged from immigration to bullying.

Almost 300 students participated in Calling All Colors this year, Salguera said.

Middle school students also attended Calling All Colors on Monday.