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Auburn Freshman Students Join Racism Conversation

Wednesday, October 28, 2009  
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The City of Rockford is preparing to join the National Conversation on Race, discussing issues, attitudes, and beliefs that often separate our community.

Posted: 5:07 PM Oct 28, 2009
Reporter: Tyaisha Robinson
The Rockford YWCA is hosting that open dialogue tomorrow. but today, 23News sat in on a similar conversation with a group of young people at the Auburn Freshman Campus. Students on campus received a lesson in racism today, learning how to build rapport with their peers who share cultural differences.

Michelle Griggs, Global Education Director of Kobe-Regent's Center at Rockford College was instructing today's Unlearning Racism Workshop. The students were clearly separated by those of color and Euro-American descent. One-by-one students pulled random question cards, asking the other ethnic group their thoughts and feeling about racial issues.

The questions were geared towards things like; how does it make you feel when your race is targeted for being violent, or told due to your race, you are unqualified for a position. Other topics included, language barriers, upbringing, and all the unique things that makes us different. it's not an easy conversation to start, but it's a beneficial one.

Auburn Freshman Campus student, Yazmin Sanchez says, "People don't think racism is really a big deal, like some people just do it because their family, their parents do it. I think it will be nice for people to listen to us, and see that its really bad and you're like hurting people feelings without knowing it."

"I wanted learn what it means to be African American or Hispanic, and see what they go through on a daily. Being here for two minutes I've already learned a bunch of stuff," said Evan Wheeler, another Auburn Freshman Campus student.

Rockford College has been celebrating Diversity Month, and all week long the college has been hosting an Unlearning Racism Week. The community is welcome to the events.

Meanwhile, the Rockford YWCA is hosting the National Conversation on Race, October 29th-30th. Residents across the stateline are strongly encouraged to register and join the conversation on race. For more information or to register, please visit their website

This story appeared at on October 28, 2009.

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