I’m that really loud friend who jumps in calling someone out for being disrespectful, inappropriate or just plain mean on anything uncalled for related to physical features. You’ll actually see me take off my rings for a good old keyboard fight. I was raised to practice that “as soon as you start putting someone down on their physical appearance, you have automatically lost the debate”. Yes, that means “you’re ugly” is not a good comeback, ever. But that also doesn’t mean we should be blind to our differences, because it’s our differences that makes us, us.
This week we saw a whole lot happening on campus, from the SLC Grand Opening where our Provost and Vice President Academic, Mohamed Lachemi, shared the importance of a diverse student body at Ryerson, to some uplifting April Fool’s Day pranks to bring all kinds of pranksters together, to the Mass Exodus showcasing unique fashion styles, to the RSU Spring Meeting discussing the stolen Native American lands our school stands on, and now to Everybody Matters Day; I have truly never been more proud to be a Ryerson Ram (and I have a shirt to prove it too, just saying).
Out of all of those big events, Everyone Matters Day came out on top as a favourite. I am so honoured to be a part of a school that not only encourages diversity in personality, gender, race, and abilities, but that also embraces and celebrates what brings us together rather than what creates further boundaries. Students, from all parts of campus came together on Gould Street today to write what it meant to be a Ryerson student on the pavement (may I say that that this was a lot better than the road paint job, ammirite?), get some snacks, and explore diversity through artistic expression.
It’s important to recognize that events like these are meant to open conversations, to ensure spaces to talk about these important issues of systematic discrimination, and building platforms where people affected by these issues can speak themselves and have their voices heard. Yesterday, Ryerson University was designated a spot as one of Canada’s Best Diversity Employers for 2015. This award means that our school is actively working towards being inclusive in its accessibility for staff, faculty, and most importantly students. It’s a step of recognition for something that should be the norm, everywhere.
Cover photo by kayla.larocque