National Diversity Education Program: Corpus Christi, TX
Submitted by vkm on Wed, 2007-05-16 14:16.
Corpus Christi, Texas
Project focus: Public forums to increase cultural diversity awareness
Public forum: Corpus Christi’s first-ever Cultural Diversity Forum
Participant: Olivia Chapa, Kaffie Middle School
Program advisor Melvin Musick; Olivia Chapa; Senator Carlos Truan
National Diversity Education Program participant Olivia Chapa, a middle school Spanish teacher, organized the first-ever "Cultural Diversity Forum" in Corpus Christi, Texas. Bringing together a cross section of educators and community members to share information and experiences, Chapa also asked them to consider the Program's essential question: "How and why is diversity the foundational and functional basis for American Democracy?"
"I truly believe that our educational system must begin to more fully address this issue because misunderstandings caused by racial, linguistic, and ethnic differences are straining our society," said Chapa. "Children in our classrooms suffer when we fail to address their needs as distinct individuals with diverse backgrounds," Chapa added. "Many young people are not interested in school because they feel excluded."
The three-part forum Chapa organized included displays, performances, and group discussions that culminated in the creation of A Community Guide to Promoting Cultural Diversity, to which each participant was asked to contribute. Senator Carlos Truan delivered the keynote speech: "Diversity: the Foundational and Functional Basis for American Democracy."
"The opportunity to provide this connection and expansion for the community was exhilarating," said Chapa. "Bringing the topic of diversity as the foundation of democracy to the forefront of the everyday experience for hundreds of people, including my students, was one of the most important parts of the experience."
CULTURAL DIVERSITY FORUM
Break-out session with students
Preservice Bilingual Education teachers from Texas A&M University participate in Forum's community display area
FOR DETAILS OF CHAPA'S CULTURAL DIVERSITY FORUM, CLICK BELOW:
In addition to the forum, Ms. Chapa wrote an article about her thoughts on the future of cultural diversity education, her experience with the National Diversity Education Program and how anyone can use this model to further diversity education. "True believers in a democracy in which diversity flourishes follow similar paths on their journey—acknowledgement, acceptance, understanding, appreciation, and celebration. Many of us believe this is the path that will lead to peace," said Chapa. "As Emiliano Zapata, a Mexican hero once said, 'El respeto del derecho ajeno es la paz.' That is, 'Respect of others rights is peace.'"