Poem Reveals Employee and Student Sentiments from Lee Mun Wah Visit

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On Wednesday, March 30, 2016, master Lee Mun Wah, an internationally renowned Chinese American documentary filmmaker, author, poet, Asian folkteller, educator, community therapist and master diversity trainer, visited the Valencia West Campus Special Events Center and presented to faculty, staff and students a series of workshops. Lee is the executive director of Stirfry Seminars and Consulting, a diversity training company that provides educational tools and workshops on issues pertaining to cross-cultural communication and awareness, mindful facilitation and conflict mediation techniques.

Below is a corporate poem that captures our audience members’ reactions to Lee’s message of mindful awareness as a path to creating a more inclusive culture. The poem is made up of sentences, phrases and clauses from workshop surveys completed by faculty, staff and students.

The seeds of change start with a few who were here
We can come together and fight against racism
Break racial barriers
Come closer together
Pay more attention to discrimination

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Be more observant
Speak up and stand up for yourself and others
Notice sexism
Stop sexism
Speak to people before judging them
See what others think and feel
Be more aware of each person’s heritage and respect it!

Sometimes what you don’t say has a bigger impact than what you do say
We have to be kind to one another
People experience things differently
People are a lot more similar than we assume
Paying attention can make all the difference
We avoid important issues just because we don’t want to feel uncomfortable
If we take the time to talk with others
we could really find out some great things about people
Just giving effort and attention can change anything     
          Just how white our faculty is
          How being in the United States can strip an individual’s culture
          People who criticize without noticing
          People who make assumptions no matter what

When someone comes into a group who is different
think about this as a gift to learn new things
Be aware
The power of story
The vulnerability needed to say how you feel different
The courage that takes
Mindfulness is a responsibility
The art of mindful inquiry helps us understand others and helps communication
It helps people be friendlier, inviting, accepting and understanding
of other people in general, not just toward one culture

Awareness breeds solutions
This event makes me want to take action on racism and racial barriers
It inspired me to know myself and others, and not to stereotype individuals
Be more open-minded
Create more opportunities for my students to express their priorities
I have more of a voice now for other people
I will open my eyes to all of the wrong I see
I will try to stand up for what I believe in
I will take action toward change
If I see sexism, I’ll stand up and do what’s right!

Interested in diversity training like Lee Mun Wah’s? Consider applying for the next Valencia SEED cohort. SEED, an acronym for Seeking Educational Equity and Diversity, is an international project, founded 30 years ago by Dr. Peggy McIntosh of Wellesley College. SEED utilizes a cohort-based, monthly seminar model with the intention of creating gender fair, multiculturally equitable and globally informed educational spaces and workplaces. For more information and to apply, click here.

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