By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN
BG Independent News
An educational series on reducing prejudice is planned in Bowling Green – with one requirement for those attending. “Just come with an open mind,” said Dr. Krishna Han, assistant director of the BGSU Office of Multicultural Affairs.
“It takes a village to build a caring community,” said Han, who will be the facilitator in the three-part series looking at the power of words, “isms” and safe zones.
The programs are being hosted by Not in Our Town Bowling Green and the BGSU Office of Multicultural Affairs on April 20, May 17, and June 1. All programs will be held at the Wood County District Public Library from 6 to 8 p.m. and are free and open to the public.
“Raising awareness, building knowledge, and developing skills on multicultural interaction and communication is an important and on-going aspect of self-work that every individual should take it very seriously,” said Han, who provides leadership for the BGSU Office of Multicultural Affairs Diversity Education Program, and oversees the Ethnic Student Center and LGBTQ+ Resource Center Programs and Services.
“We all have something to learn from each other. As we all come from different backgrounds, often times we don’t have the developed skills that allow us to engage each other with grace and productive ways,” Han said. “This workshop will help participants look at the topic of multicultural interaction and communication from a positive perspective, and empower each other on skill sets that enable them to carry-on and spread the caring spirit and knowledge in their community.”
The first in the series is “The Power of Words: Microaggressions and How to Respond,” on Thursday, April 20.
“This is a two-hour long workshop that provides critical reflection on perspectives of our past and an opportunity to look at past experiences in order to see how those experiences impact current thinking and behaviors in classroom, workplace and community,” Han said. “Through interactive presentation and activities, I hope participants begin to pay more attention on how past learned experiences and messages may still influences how we interact now, so that we can improve our interaction and communication with informed grace and compassion, carving space for us all to form connection, learn from each other and continue to grow together.”
The second program, entitled “A Discussion of ‘Isms’” is Tuesday, May 17. The workshop is interactive and designed to be a springboard for discussions of the sensitive topics and issues around various –ism issues and to get participants thinking about assumptions, stereotypes, and choices. These topics are areas that can and do impact the community. This workshop utilizes the principle that every issue counts.
“We benefit from hearing stories relating to life experiences, especially those who identified differently from us. We can shift attitudes and build allies,” NIOT stated about the program.
The final program in the series on Thursday, June 1, is on “Safe Zone Training.” This workshop provides education concerning LGBTQ+ issues and seeks to improve the environment for LGBTQ+ people.
“Safe Zone training is more important now than ever in the face of a changing political landscape and as we know more and more Bowling Green community members openly identify as LGBTQ+ than we have seen historically. The main goal of the workshop is to strengthen and expand a support network of allies for the Bowling Green LGBTQ+ community,” NIOT stated.
Not In Our Town has offered educational programs in the past, including “Real Talk with Real Cops” held at BGSU, plus programs on Black Lives Matter and Islamophobia. More series will be planned in the future, according to Linda Lander, of Not In Our Town.
Reservations are not required. The sessions are free and open to the public.
“If you are planning on attending this workshop, I encourage you to bring a friend, a neighbor, a colleague, or even a family member. The more people we have in the room, the better,” Han said.
To learn more about the programs and the topics, go to the Not in Our Town Bowling Green Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/Not-In-Our-Town- Bowling-Green-411179839042009/). Posts and videos about the program topics will be included on the NIOT BG Facebook page.