Cultural Competence: Being Proactive

Submitted by jalee2 on Tue, 08/31/2010 - 10:30

From Linda Epps (Class of 2007 / Cohort 7):

To be a culturally competent professional, you must be able to see that all people are treated equally.  I am in a position in a predominately white university.  When I first came here, I noticed how students of color were not treated equally.  Although I brought this to my team's attention (being proactive - requires a lot of tact and at least one good supporter in the team); I felt I should do more.  I also began to do outreach.  I went to many student associations meetings, introducing myself, advising students of my position in the library, inviting them to set up displays of their organizations in the library and to visit me.  The Gay/Straight Alliance was amazed, that one, I came to visit them as they said they felt invisible on campus and two that I asked if they would set up the library display in March re: Gay Gender issues.  I also volunteered to be an unofficial advisor to one of the 'minority' associations.  As a result, I see more students of color in the library.  A measure of my success is displayed whenever I see students; I get many hugs from students of all hues - especially when I go to the University cafeteria.  A co-worker asked "Why do you get all these hugs?"  I reply "because they know I respect them".

Linda Hance Gabriel Epps aka Linda Mxhaten
Ntlakapmx Nation (Interior Salish)