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The Impact D.E.E.P. Impact Had On Me

I’ve always considered myself to be what D.E.E.P. Impact defines as an “ally.” I pride myself on having an open mind, and I firmly believe in things like white privilege and advocating for the importance of movements that do not affect people like me, like Black Lives Matter. I thought I was the kind of person who could listen to any opinion, respect it and use it to shape my own opinion into a more informed, educated one. However, when JMU’s D.E.E.P. Impact program came to my association to give diversity training, I learned something very important about myself: I’m no longer growing.

Diversity Excellence Education Program, or D.E.E.P. Impact, is a program within the Center for Multicultural Student Services (CMSS) that offers diversity education programs to clubs and organizations on campus, and also holds events that promote their values. As a member of the Student Government Association (SGA), I participated in a program they had planned for us as a part of our orientation retreat.

What affected me the most about this was not the program itself, but my peers’ response to it, one peer in particular. For the first few days I really looked up to this peer because of her leadership skills and bubbly personality. I didn’t even consider the psychological struggles she might have overcome to become who she is, accomplish what she’s accomplished and even keep a positive attitude despite the lack of diversity here at JMU. After the program, she spoke up about the struggles she faces everyday as a black woman. She mentioned how she usually doesn’t like diversity training because it’s typically majorly white people and when she speaks, she feels the weight of having a black person’s perspective. She feels like everyone around her assumes her opinion is representative of all black people, and that’s a big burden to put on someone. She talked about the struggle of walking into a classroom and not knowing if there would be someone else that looked like her. All of these things I hadn’t considered. It shook up my identity because I considered myself someone who could influence others with my open-mindedness.

I thought so highly of myself and my beliefs, as I found them all to be well-thought out and researched. D.E.E.P. Impact helped me realize I must not become stagnant in my beliefs. If I am to become the person I want to be, I must never stop actively trying to learn more about the struggles of people not like me. I must never stop thinking of others, their backgrounds and what makes them who they are. I must never stop being curious and willing to listen. I must never assume I know everything or that I can stop trying to learn more. I have to always work to better myself and the world around me. So thank you, D.E.E.P. Impact, for opening my eyes.

If you have a similar story or you would like to share the struggles you face for being you, comment below. I would love to hear them!

I aspire to be the perfect combination of Beyoncé and Leslie Knope.
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