Marc Thompson Welcome Speech for Chico Cultural Collaboration Reception 2012 Speech

Thank you Luann Mans DiRienzo for sharing Marc’s speech from November 29, 2012.

In case you missed the Cultural collaboration reception here is Marc Thompson’s speech. I’m so blessed to have Marc in my life and after reading this you can understand why.

“I’d like to start off by thanking all of your for coming here today and I’d like to say welcome to the first in what we hope will become Chico states annual Diversity Days collaboration reception. I think it’s a true moment to be treasured when a variety of unique people such as yourselves are able to come together for a weeklong celebration of multicultural education, entertainment and engagement.

This week we have set the stage for the Chico campus and community to come together and share with one another the experiences which influence who we are and what we stand for. I have heard from many people that when we bring focus to the differences we have as people, we are only increasing the separation between us, and they have also asked me what is the point of all these workshops? I simply tell them understanding, understanding connects us more than anything else, it’s what brings us to care for and appreciate each other. When we are educated on the perspectives of our neighbors, we are then empowered to enact more justice for that perspective.

I’m a firm believer that people don’t care about strangers. When I say strangers, I don’t mean someone you don’t know personally, when I say stranger, I mean a perspective that you don’t understand and can’t relate to. In essence our goal here is to help to mitigate the number those we call strangers and maximize the number of people you’re willing to call a friend. I don’t mean to overly simplify such complex structures in so simple of terms, but the truth of the matter is that it is simple.

Invite your culturally different neighbors to dinner, when designing that structure consider those with mobility issues, when you make that flyer avoid using male normative or hetero-normative language and keep it green. Stop following me in stores, because I can assure you, you’re not slick or invisible and I can see you. Stop cat calling women, and understand that no means no, and give women the power to regulate their own reproductive health. Get out of the bedroom business of others. Know before you speak, considering before you act and think before you buy.

We want to create awareness, because with awareness, we’re no longer able to claim that we didn’t change because we didn’t know. It is true Knowledge is power and I hope that in the future Diversity Days will continue to empower us all to became the changes we wish to see.”

Marc Thompson, 2012

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