Last week, hundreds of Wharton students arrived on campus dressed in black.
The demonstration was a coordinated act of solidarity orchestrated by the student-led coalition Return on Equality and the Wharton African American MBA Association (AAMBAA) as way to both share and engage in meaningful conversations with their peers.
Word of the event spread to students at other business schools who organized and held their own campus events.
Yesterday afternoon, students, faculty, and staff filled the auditorium in Huntsman Hall for a “judgment free” open forum to continue the conversation. Over the course of nearly two hours, students dug deeper into the issues, shared personal stories, and engaged in open dialogue.
“Having these difficult conversations now can have major impact later, and I’m so grateful for the allies who have stepped up, asked the tough questions, and sought understanding,” said Divinity Matovu, WG’17. “I’ve been particularly impressed by the proactive stance and compassion from international students at Wharton who have very little context for the deeply ingrained racial issues in the USA’s history. Wharton is an incredible community and I’m so happy and humbled to be here.”
We spoke with a few other student organizers about why starting this conversation at Wharton is important to them as future business and community leaders:
“It is our responsibility to have this consciousness. I have a responsibility to make a change, to affect action now and later on.” — Antonia Singleton, WG’18
“This is a small part of what is going on around us. Implicit racism is all over the world, we need to fight it from all angles.” — Sebastian Apud, WG’17
“As future business leaders, Wharton MBAs are in a powerful and unique position to influence the trajectory of our nation along with students from our peer schools. Our perceptions about race/ethnicity and implicit bias will affect how we build our networks, how we engage with our coworkers, and how we lead organizations and communities.” — Divinity Matovu, WG’17
“Antagonistic dialogue, violence, and ignorance only drive us further apart when we should be standing together as students, and citizens, to take a deeper look at the issues affecting all of us.” — John Allan, WG’18
“Here we can take advantage of our environment to engage with the difficult issues the world is currently grappling with, whether social, political or economic, so that we can go out to become the most informed and empathetic leaders we can be.” — Dimia Fogam, WG’17
“Don’t discount having the benefit of the doubt. I don’t have that luxury.” — Chris Merriewether, WG’18
“This is a part of my life. This matters to me. This matters to my family.” — Charity Wollensack, WG’17
Posted: September 30, 2016