Meet the 2005-2006 facilitators.
Hometown: Albuquerque, New Mexico
Major: Sociology Major, Psychology Minor
Class of 2006
President of First Nations (Native American Culture Club), Mentor for Native American high school students, Dance (Hip Hop, Ballet, etc.)
Dialogue has become my life. It has given me the language and knowledge to speak about issues of oppression. It has given me a new understanding of life and how oppression affects our daily interactions. Dialogue has empowered me as a Navajo woman, and has given me a voice. These are all the reasons why I do dialogue. I took my first dialogue class my first year at Occidental, and since then I have continued to explore and learn about social identities. I have taken 2 peer inter group dialogue classes, and the facilitator training course. This year I decided that it was time to switch from being a participant to being a facilitator. I want to continue my growth on this social justice trail. I believe dialogue is one of the most effective ways to get closer to a more Just society. I love the environment and community that dialogue creates for two different groups to come together, and the reflection, development and friendships that are established through this life changing experience. It is an amazing sight to see the personal reflection that happens in dialogue and the love and support that grows between members of different social identities. It gives me hope that one day we will live in a more diverse, democratic and accepting society that will be communal and supportive for all members of society.
Hometown: Oakland, California
Independent pattern of study with a concentration in “Race and Gender Politics”, minor in Spanish
Class of 2006
Painting, hiking, and engaging kids in environmental and social justice and learning with them.
“It is not our differences that divide us. it is our inability to recognize, accept & celebrate those differences.”
The moment when I decided to participate in a 110 Dialogue is a blur in my memory, it was almost as if a track of destiny guided me down the path of dialogue. Dialogue really has shaped who I am becoming and the way that I want to lead my life. Dialogue is the process of reconstructing the way we interact in the world and learn from as well as engage others. To me this is a very radical, empowering, and socially moving process. Because I believe in the power of dialogue, and would like to further my life education by becoming a teacher; I felt that facilitating would help me continue to learn and become the kind of “teacher” I want to be. The amazing thing about dialogue is that we are all teachers and students of each other. Imagine what could happen to our communities and society if everyone learned to share in our commonalities while suspending judgement to learn from our differences. Dialogue teaches us all to live from the heart.
Hometown: San Francisco, California
Class of 2006
I dialogue because too many times in my life I have witnessed and also experienced the detrimental results of systematic oppression in our society. In- and outside of Oxy, I participate in social justice efforts in support of worker rights and cultural diversity, but my work experience, research and studies have predominantly focused on women’s rights and gender violence. Through my involvement in the Intergroup Dialogue Program, as a former student and also facilitator, I feel that I am able to positively change my community little by little in ways that correspond with my beliefs in achieving social change. I believe that the only way to resolve injustice in our communities is through the education of people of all backgrounds and through peaceful confrontation of social inequality. The Intergroup Dialogue Program does exactly that by bringing together diverse groups of people to read and talk about difference, power and privilege. I hope to continue participating in the dialogue program in the future, and I will also continue my work in social justice outside of the program as well, always keeping in mind all that I have learned from the Intergroup Dialogue Program.
Hometown: Las Vegas, Nevada
Urban Environmental Policy Major
Class of 2007
My main interest is following social justice praxis (the dialectic between theory and action) in order to be part of a global effort toward making this universe a better place. I am in the process of dedicating my life to denouncing “down”-pression and announcing a more compassionate, loving, and truthful society. This brought me to dialogue, which I appreciate for both its ontological and phenomenological aspects, as well as its practical ability to help people grow as individuals and as members in a community. I see dialogue as one of the most important aspects to changing ourselves and others in a positive way and hope to contribute to it as much as possible. I hope to learn and teach simultaneously and that is what I am doing now. Dialogue has brought me to a group of fascinating and passionate people and I hope it continues to do so.
Hometown: Riverside, CA
Class of 2007
Social justice, Museum of Tolerance, ResLife, Football
The question of why I choose to participate in dialogue can be addressed in a number of ways. Dialogue gives students the ability to take action through listening and work towards finding common ground across our difference. One of the more cliché underlying reasons for my work is the fact that dialogue changed my life. I know that this particular saying may be popular and is somewhat overused. But to not include this very valid truth in my list of motives, would deny the core factor of my commitment to social justice. Participating and facilitating in dialogue has given me an outlet for more progressive views, connected me to a beautifully diverse group of people, required me to challenge myself through honest reflection, and opened other people’s whole world to me. I believe that these outcomes qualify the dialogue experience as “life-changing.” Through the culture of listening and understanding that dialogue facilitates, the experience of a “discussion” is enhanced and enriched by the equal interaction of everyone involved. Dialogue moves people to think in terms of “I” and “thou,” in order to foster the respect needed to effectively talk about hard and conflict-oriented issues. I have come to relish in these types of discussions. The honesty, vulnerability, and passion exhibited by those who take part in dialogue, energize and inspire me to continue to contribute to the struggle for social equality. I think the overall reason that I participate in dialogue is that it offers a feeling of optimism and tangible hope in a world that thrives off the oppression of marginalized people. I have seen members of different group with conflicting beliefs, cultures, perspectives, and power dynamics find common ground through dialogue. I have witnesses the transformation in individuals who were internally hopeless, as they empower themselves to action through dialogue. And I have reaped the benefit of the forceful re-construction of a more empathetic, caring, and progressive consciousness through dialogue. This reality of change is what gives me hope.
Hometown: River Forest, IL
Class of 2006
Social Justice, Writing, English, Education
The dialogue program really changed my life, as the others have said, and I figured that if it had such a positive effect on me and on others (which I’ve had the benefit of observing) I wanted to be a part of that positive effect. I think that if it doesn’t make any big changes now, then it might have a big impact on the future. This Kurt Vonnegut anecdote illustrates the point nicely I think: “Semmelweis observed hospital routines, and began to suspect that doctors were bringing the infection to the patients. He noticed that the doctors often went directly from dissecting corpses in the morgue to examining mothers in the maternity ward. He suggested as an experiment that the doctors wash their hands before touching the mothers… They at last agreed to do this in a spirit of lampoonery, of satire, of scorn. How they must have lathered and lathered and scrubbed and scrubbed and cleaned under their fingernails. The dying stopped- imagine that! The dying stopped. He saved all those lives. Subsequently, it might be said that he saved millions of lives- including, quite possibly, yours and mine. What thanks did Semmelweis get from the leaders of his profession in Viennese society, guessers all? He was forced out of the hospital and out of Austria itself, whose people he had served so well.”
- Director: Dr. Jaclyn Rodríguez Swan 337 (323) 259-2747 firstname.lastname@example.org
- Assistant Director: Kenjus Watson, M.Ed. Swan 332 (323)259-4687 email@example.com
- Social Psych Lab: Swan B203 (323)341-4887 firstname.lastname@example.org
- FAX: 323-341-4887