‘Professionals of Color’ panel calls for inclusiveness

By Marissa Gugala – 1851 Staff

Professionals of Color Panel 1_preview
The ‘Professionals of Color’ panel answered audience questions and discussed ways Lasell could be more inclusive. (L-R) Jesse Tauriac, Elna Bleakney, Monica Hall-Porter, Brittany Bullard, James Henderson, Danielle Canty, and Charlotte Frazier. Photo by Katie Schenider 

The Donahue Institute for Ethics, Diversity, & Inclusion hosted the ‘Professionals of Color’ panel to highlight individuals of color on and off campus. The panel, held in Arnow Campus Center, featured seven individuals: Jesse Tauriac, James Henderson, Danielle Canty, Monica-Hall Porter, Virginia Knight, Charlotte Frazier, and Elna Bleakney. The panelists answered audience questions and provided advice on how Lasell can increase unity among the community, including a larger spread of the Black Lives Matter movement. Knight spoke on the movement’s importance saying that it draws attention to lives that are taken just for being a person of color. This was echoed by Hall-Porter who said, “Brown and black lives have always been in danger.”

The event was coordinated by junior communications student Brittany Bullard. The setting featured multiple black-colored tables with flags showcasing diverse nations filling vases. Primarily supplied by Bullard’s mother, the food offered a hint of their Haitian culture. “We wanted to host a Black History Month event,” said Bullard. “Black history isn’t talked about in Lasell, unfortunately. This was a way to highlight professionals of color in the industry.”

Bullard says she’d like to see a higher attendance rate for future events. “Once we talk about cultural or racial events the students don’t want to be a part of it,” she said.

Bullard explained the importance of training faculty and staff on diversity inclusiveness. “One of the things I’m really advocating for is incorporating it in classes. It should definitely be its own separate topic,” she said. “It has been discussed before that diversity inclusion is supposed to be taught through every course you take. Truthfully, it’s not.”

A call for change in behavior resonated with the panelists and attendees. When asked what students could do to bring attention to the challenges people of color face, Director of the Donahue Institute and Associate Professor of Psychology Jesse Tauriac said, “Keep doing events. Keep building momentum.”

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