Panel addresses cultural diversity

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Multiple cultures participate daily in campus life at Cal State Fullerton.

A discussion voicing these opinions allowed campus professors and community members to acknowledge such differences.

“One of the things that I hope would come (from this event) is the same thing happening here tonight, an opportunity to discuss and share histories. An opportunity to get in touch with different backgrounds. An opportunity to learn about one another,” said Julie Stokes, afro-ethnic studies professor.

Stokes and five other speakers participated in a Town Hall Meeting panel discussion on citizenship in a multicultural society on Tuesday night. The event was held in the Titan Student Union as an open invitation to campus and community members to speak about multiculturalism.

Along with Stokes, the panel consisted of Orange County Sheriff-elect Mike Corona, Orange County district attorney Andrew Do and Western State University Professor Neil Gotanda. CSUF political science professor Raphael Sonenshein and Sister Carmen Sarati, representing the Sisters of St. Joseph, completed the list of panelists.

Orange County Human Relations Director Rusty Kennedy moderated the event. Political Science chair Keith Boyum served as master of ceremonies.

Students and audience members asked questions concerning race and community involvement.

Acknowledging the changing complexion of Orange County, Corona said that part of the change in policy and perceptions must be ushered in by leaders in law enforcement and the community. Corona urged young people to consider law enforcement as a career path to help foster positive change.

“Racial color blindness is neither mutual or fair,” Gotanda said. He warned the audience that ignoring the issue of race and culture could be destructive.

Do questioned the leadership capacity of those “systematically deprived of knowledge, sensitivity and understanding” toward the non-white community.

Sarati shared her views on being a good citizen as it related to being a good human being. She attributed these learned traits to tolerance.

Sonenshein shared a different perspective on the issue at hand by asking everyone, “can multiculturalism save citizenship?”

He hinted that naturalized citizens might play a more pivotal role in restoring the meaning of citizenship in the United States.

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