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​Unity Week to Embrace a World of Differences

This year’s Unity Week at Providence College is intended to raise awareness of the dignity, freedom, and equality of every person.

Unity Week, from March 17-21, is sponsored by more than a dozen College and student units and organizations, including the Office of Student Multicultural Activities and Balfour Unity Center (formerly BOMA), the Board of Multicultural Student Affairs, and the Office of Institutional Diversity.

The week will showcase the food, music, and customs of the many cultures represented at PC.

Organizers trust the week of events will create an environment of open discussion, reflection, and appreciation among the student body.

Unity Week “is an extension of my work with the Board of Programmers,” said Vincent A. Whalen ’15 (Eatontown, N.J.), a member of the BOP’s Diversity Committee. “It can broaden students’ cultural perspectives and, perhaps, spark dialogue about important issues.”

Among the highlights will be a talk by cultural education specialist Annawon Weeden on Monday, March 18, at 7:00 p.m. in Slavin Center ’64 Hall. Weeden will discuss his experiences growing up Mashpee Wampanoag, with Narragansett and Pequot ancestry, in mainstream American culture.

His passion for preserving his culture has been made evident throughout decades spent working at Plimoth Plantation and the Boston Children’s Museum.

In addition, the documentary film Welcome to Shelbyville will be shown on Thursday, March 21, at 4:00 p.m. in the Slavin Center overlook lounge. The movie shows the town of Shelbyville, Tenn., struggling to come to terms with a new wave of immigrants and with what it means to be American.

Following the screening, a discussion on fostering a more welcoming and inclusive College community will take place.

Several other notable events are scheduled during Unity Week:

• “The Vision Realized,” a forum and discussion on diversity at PC, will take place at the Slavin Center mural lounge on March 18 at 4:00 p.m.

• A panel discussion on “What Defines Us?” will be held on Wednesday, March 20, at 6:30 p.m. at McPhail’s in the Slavin Center.

• McPhail’s will host an evening of cultural dance and music performances on March 21 from 6:00 to 11:00 p.m.

Unity Week will extend to the campus’s residence halls as well. On March 20, the halls will come alive with international music, food, dancing, a talent show, and other activities.

Elena T. Yee, director of student multicultural activities, said that the annual weeklong series of events cultivates an inclusive community consistent with PC’s identity and legacy.

“Certainly, the College’s stated commitment to diversity isn’t limited to an event like Unity Week,” said Yee. “Yet, there are times when it’s valuable to stop, breathe, and reflect on the diverse and united Friar community we are.”

For a full schedule of events, go to the Unity Week Facebook page.  

— John Larson

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