Celebration embraces diversity

Published 1:45 pm Friday, April 22, 2005

By By ERIN VER BERKMOES / Cassopolis Vigilant
CASSOPOLIS - We should celebrate our diversity was the message given Friday by Dr. Gottfried Oosterwal, director of Andrews University's Center for Intercultural Relations to students at Ross Beatty Junior-Senior High School's second annual Color Me Human: A Diversity Celebration.
Oosterwal, the keynote speaker at the event, asked the students to take a fresh look at diversity.
He explained "cultural codes." These are a set of values, beliefs and morals of a particular group of people. They are used to put order in peoples lives and tells them how to act with others and in different situations.
Oosterwal said if we all just take time and learn a little bit about one another's cultural codes, we will all better understand each other.
The students attended a number of other events throughout the day including, a discussion from Dr. Yan Searcy who is an assistant professor at Chicago State University on the subject of "race".
Voices of Faith, a musical choir from the University of Notre Dame performed, as well as Vincenzo Carrasco of Rhythm Works which helps to teach the students about diversity through music.
Ross Beatty students Carmalita Peak and Monique Harris, sang songs they wrote, and the dance team performed.
Michigan State Sen. Ron Jelinek, R-Three Oaks, was able to attend some of the afternoons activities.
Color Me Human started last year after there was some racial graffiti found in a bathroom at the school. This incident caused some tensions and a group of students from the schools student minority coalition decided to organize an event that helped to celebrate diversity with the school.