Community Dialogue

By Danielle Hagerty

Every semester, FRCC-Westminster holds an open dialogue that is sponsored by the women’s studies program and the Student Life Office. On Wednesday, March 7, many of the student body and staff attended this dialogue at the Rotunda speaking particularly on “Community Conversations on Privilege.”

The dialogue emphasized that truly reflecting upon our advantages and disadvantages will help us better understand each other. Our identities are so important to us and complicated. Three guest speakers – Josie Ivy Nixon, Marcie Smith, and Jacob McWilliams – attended the conversation, discussing their own identities and how they all came with different advantages and disadvantages that were, at many, times undeserved.

“These intersections of privilege are important to recognize so that we can have real, open conversations,” said Cecilia Gowdy-Wygant, a history and women’s studies professor at FRCC. Wygant discussed the various types of privilege we all may go through, and shared personal stories. As a history professor, Wygant has faced disadvantages in regard to her gender, at many times being judged in comparison to men.

“Believe it or not, men are not the only ones that made history,” said Wygant.  She mentioned the different types of privilege, discrimination and systems for individuals, and how as a society, we tend to compartmentalize these things and create in and out groups.

“My takeaway is that all of us who attended gained emotional and logical perspective,” said Ryan Patterson, a student at FRCC, “and an embarrassing insight of what it is like to have or to be challenged with privilege.”

These events hope to raise awareness in the college community and to create empathy.  How does privilege impact your life and others?


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