Salem put on another successful Diversity Monologues on Wednesday, Nov. 14, in Bryant Hall, where many brave students were able to stand up and share their stories with their peers. Topics ranged from identity to sexuality, with many more in between.
The Monologues are a way for students to get to know each other’s personal stories, Peyton Corder, a sophomore and Diversity Educator, explained.
“Unless you know someone’s story, you don’t know them,” said Corder. “It takes a lot of courage to stand in front of your peers and talk about personal, painful experiences.”
Corder says that she and the other Diversity Educators work closely with Dr. Alan Mueller and his graduate students. This year, they visited first year seminar classes to do a class of training on diversity and inclusivity.
The impact on speakers is an important one as well. First-year student Jessica Driver says that she had been interested in sharing her story ever since she heard the Diversity Monologues given at Orientation.
“Ever since Orientation, when the OLs spoke, I knew that I wanted to speak at a similar event when given the opportunity,” Driver said. “At that time in my life, I was very content with where my relationships were with my parents and family, which are key components in my story.”
Driver also acknowledges that the event is a heavy one and nervousness comes along with the territory.
“My Monologue was not the first time that I had shared my story with classmates,” she said. “I realized that I was nervous because I was terrified that the results would be opposite than what I had hoped.”
Certainly, speaking about personal stories in front of an audience can be difficult, but Corder hopes that it is a positive experience for all.
“I hope all that come to the Diversity Monologues leave with a better understanding of others’ stories and the importance of being kind to all,” she said. “And I hope those who speak find it both cathartic and empowering.”
The Diversity Monologues have the makings to be an important, long-standing tradition at Salem. Here is to another one in the books, and the hopes for many, many more.