Safe Space, Brave Space: How CDI Created an Inclusive Environment to Process and Discuss Recent Events - University of Houston
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July 21, 2022

Many residents of Houston are still recovering in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey and numerous natural disasters affecting other neighboring states and countries only to realize that those are not the only concerns our country is facing.  Other matters include the uncertainty that affects our DACA students, the controversy surrounding kneeling during the national anthem, mental health challenges, along with the horrific shooting in Las Vegas. During moments like these, individuals often need time and space to dialogue with others and to feel a sense of community. On October 4th, The UH Center for Diversity and Inclusion (CDI) offered an option: a campus conversation titled Healing, Understanding, and Support.

“I thought it was important to attend because just knowing that you are heard and that other people are feeling the same hurt as you, even if they come from a different background,” said Nubia Reyes, Student Leader with the Urban Experience Program. “If we can unite in pain, we can unite and grow.”

Through this conversation, CDI offered a space to all UH students, faculty, staff to engage in an open forum in which participants had the option to process their emotions aloud or engage simply by listening. The atmosphere in the room felt unified around common emotions such as “overwhelmed,” “numb,” “disappointed,” “afraid,” and “helpless.” Participants of the conversation contributed with their own stories, and shared the difficulty of grappling with a burden of emotions.

“[It was] a good way to express yourself, to talk to someone, because many times it’s difficult to open yourself to others, but here nobody will judge you,” stated an attendee.

Various campus partners were in attendance, and they not only lent their support, but also provided a number of resources available to the UH community. Counseling & Psychological Services (CAPS) offered ways to seek counsel with a program called “Let’s Talk” that provides consultations with CAPS therapists with no appointment needed. UH Wellness shared that they host free meditation sessions, and offer Mental Health First Aid Training. Representatives from the A. D. Bruce Religion Center shared resources that students can receive that includes talking to a spiritual leader within the Center.

“With so many challenges facing our community, it was important for the Center to provide a space for the campus community to come together to exhale, share their thoughts, and discuss ways we can empower ourselves and others to make a difference,” stated Niya Blair, Director of the Center for Diversity and Inclusion.

For a full list of upcoming events, visit the Center for Diversity & Inclusion website.

About the Center for Diversity and Inclusion
The Center for Diversity and Inclusion promotes a learning environment where UH constituents are better equipped to understand multiple perspectives, practices, and promote a culture of inclusion. The Center for Diversity and Inclusion hosts similar events like this one throughout the year called Cultural Conversations which provide a safe space to discuss relevant and current topics. For more information on upcoming events, visit our office in Student Center South B12 or visit our website.