Diversity Speaker Justin Brown enlightens Cal U students

Diversity Speaker Justin Brown enlightens Cal U students

Briana Hendriksen, Staff Writer

Diversity speaker, Justin Brown presented a Diversity Awareness program on Wednesday Nov. 2 in the Natali Performance Center as part of the Whine Free Wednesday series.

Athletic teams, Greek organizations and various groups of individuals were in attendance to the high-energy diversity presentation.

Justin Brown, a Resident Director from West Chester University, has been a diversity speaker for eight years after noticing the need for diversity presentations and bringing people together at Slippery Rock University, where he was a student in his undergraduate years.

“I started doing diversity training at Slippery Rock University and the more I kept doing it the more I saw the need for schools across the country and I wanted to do it more,” Brown said. “Especially with the way that society is now there’s definitely a need. The need allows me to continue to travel and have fun with audiences and break boundaries and break barriers.”

The interactive and enthusiastic presentation stepped away from the typical workshop that Cal U students are used to.

Brown made a point to inform the audience that they need to stop wasting their time. Stepping outside of your comfort zone and never allowing people to step on your toes will provide you with the pathway to living a more diverse lifestyle.

Topics of discussion throughout the night included privilege, prejudice, stereotypes and what it truly means to live a diverse lifestyle. Brown ensured that there were plenty of interactive activities to keep you on your feet throughout the presentation including “I like that”, “This or That.” and “Stereotypes

Charades”. These activities allowed the audience to relate to each other while addressing topics most people try to avoid to steer clear of judgement and confrontation.

Towards the end of the seminar, Brown gave the men and women in the room the opportunity to freely speak their minds about the opposite gender. The women were given five minutes to openly speak out about the issues and concerns they had about the male population, and when their five minutes were up men were given the same opportunity.

The purpose of this exercise was to give the men and women in the audience the chance to better understand each other while addressing issues they needed the opposite gender to understand.

Inspiring individuals to ‘learn to unlearn’ and make the necessary changes in life to reprogram themselves so they can live more diverse experiences.

“I try to inspire through actions. I poked fun at myself a lot too because I want to show everybody that just because I am a diversity trainer doesn’t mean I have it all together,” Brown said. “We all have things to work on, we’re all works in progress. I want individuals to be able to look at thyself and be like ‘Hmm these are areas I need to work on’.

“I hope to inspire individuals to say ‘You know what even Justin has things to work on but he had a lot of information to say so that means I can have things to work on as well’.”

Getting your message across to college students can be hard, especially when addressing issues that come second nature to them.

“I don’t think that there are any experts in this field,” Brown said. “I think everybody brings in experience, and their experiences, their knowledge and their current state of development is all valuable. That’s why I think it’s so important that we have everybody at the table because everyone has something to contribute.”

When it comes to one’s life philosophy, Brown’s is simple.

“I think everybody wants to be heard, everybody wants to have a voice and everybody wants to know they matter,” Brown said. “We just have to provide them with the means and the stage to show them that they matter.”