Student Blogs

Safe, No Brave Spaces (and Difficult Discussions)

September 29th, 2016 kblack18

Let’s just jump right into this one, yes?

Perhaps you’ve heard of the phrase “safe space.” A safe space is usually referring to a discussion, a room, an event with an open atmosphere. What I mean by that is people in these rooms and discussions are encouraged to speak their minds, to share their stories with no fear of judgment. These spaces are vastly important, because without them, there are not many other spaces to fully and freely express oneself.

Holy Cross, like many other institutions, still does have some way to go in terms of having more and more similar spaces as the ones mentioned above. However, I can say that these spaces do exist on campus. Surely there are not always going to be people who share the same views or backgrounds and that can lead to tension. What many organizations and groups on this Holy Cross campus emphasize is the importance of “agreeing without being disagreeable” or the adage “agree to disagree.” I am most inspired when I attend an event where people from all different faith traditions, political standpoints, and cultures are having open and respectable dialogue. These events are needed when the atmosphere in the nation often seems so divisive and quite frankly, terrifying. These events provide a great deal of comfort to many during such times.

Examples of some of these open discussion events within this first month at Holy Cross:

1. The Art of Difficult Discussions: “Themed Parties”

2. Ignite: a workshop series focused on the experiences of women of color in predominately white spaces

3. Screening of the film “Profiled,” a documentary regarding police brutality and racial profiling, as well as a Q&A with the producer Kathleen Foster

4. A Social Justice retreat this upcoming weekend at the new contemplative center

And much more.

My last point is a phrase I’m hearing more and more often. I was talking with a peer on my way to the Ignite and we were discussing how wonderful it was to have such a workshop. I said I was so happy to have a “safe space.” My peer smiled and said, “I prefer saying brave space.”

I thought that was so powerful. There is such power in safety, in feeling that when you stand up or speak out, you will still be supported and comforted by those around you. You can be brave, because you have a ton of people rooting for you.

Yes, not everyone is on this brave space bandwagon just yet. There are still those students who aren’t necessarily actively rooting for everyone, still those who refuse to look beyond their own views and beliefs. However, I think the Holy Cross community is taking those essential steps toward the bandwagon’s door. My evidence? The photos posted below.

 

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The Ignite Workshop Flyer. This workshop began just last year, but already it is already a favorite workshop here at Holy Cross.

 

The flyer sent out for a Multicultural Peer Educators event last week.

The flyer sent out for a Multicultural Peer Educators event last week that was fully attended. 

 

A demonstration that took place during our Homecoming football game.

A demonstration that took place during our Homecoming football game. A range of students supported this demo, that being men, women, students and faculty of color, as well as termed white students and faculty. It was inspiring to see the community, even if just a selection of it, come together. There are more photos of the demo below.

 

 

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Stand Against Racism shirts that many wore to the game demo. Some wore Black Lives Matter shirts as well.

 

The group gathered to take a picture in front of Kimball Dining Hall before walking down to the field.

The group gathered to take a picture in front of Kimball Dining Hall before walking down to the field.

 

Father Boroughs, the president of the college, also joined the students during the homecoming game.

Father Boroughs, the president of the college, also joined the students during the homecoming game.

 

So, the blog take-away is: There will always be issues in the world at large and on the Holy Cross campus. Nonetheless, I will find people, groups, and even faculty who are willing to discuss and discern these important issues with me. I will find my brave space on the Hill. 

 

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