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With more than 30 workshops, “Inclusion Starts with Me” Teach In Sparks Conversations About Diversity and Inclusivity

Nearly 3,000 attendees participated in more than 30 workshops and talks across campus on Thursday, Feb. 13 for the “Inclusion Starts with Me” Teach In. Teach In sessions informed and inspired students from all majors to think about diversity and inclusivity and act in their work fields and social environments.

Art as Activism
Art as Activism Workshop

The fourth annual Teach In covered a wide range of topics — from environmentalism and health, to inclusive design and race relations, to prison reform and feminist media. Cal Poly professors across colleges, guest professors from the University of California, deans, Cross Cultural Centers leaders, Disability Resource Center leaders, and researchers led sessions based on their areas of expertise to provide an inclusive learning experience.

Ethnic studies professor Mario Espinoza-Kulick presented “Mobilizing Under Threat: Latinx Immigrant Health Advocacy on California's Central Coast,” a session based on his current research that looks to connect the dots between the anti-immigrant discourse in the media and the persisting immigrant health movements. An estimated 60 people showed up for the session, including students, faculty, staff and community members.

“There were a lot of questions at the end that spurred discussion among participants, which was really cool,” Espinoza-Kulick said. “It felt like people care. There are people here on this campus who are champions of diversity and inclusion. One question at the end was, ‘What can we do?’ I was able to give people options and resources to show what people are doing right now to advance health access and equity for immigrants. I saw a lot of folks writing down that information.”

Espinoza-Kulick said the Teach In was an important opportunity to emphasize the purpose behind knowledge production. With scholars spreading their findings and ideas to students across campus, the Teach In turned research into activism and action.

“I think it’s important to step out of the classroom in our roles as professors to support each other as teacher-scholars,” Espinoza-Kulick said. “It’s also important for students to participate and view what happens when there’s purpose driving knowledge. It’s not just a routine of showing up to class, but it’s making a decision about what you want to learn and what you want to do after that.”

Teach-In Speaker
Perspectives from Cal Poly's Multiracial Community

The day-long Teach In concluded with a keynote speech at the Performing Arts Center Pavilion from Anna Ríos Rojas, the Susan Currier Visiting Professor and Associate Professor in the Department of Education Studies at Colgate University. Before her keynote talk, Ríos Rojas led a session called “Art as Activism,” which informed students on ways art can be used as a form of social justice. During the session, students painted posters advocating for a cause of their choice.

Art as Activism
Art as Activism Workshop

“I find that since art can transcend cultures and languages, it is one of the most effective forms of activism,” said journalism senior Hannah Benson, who attended the workshop. “I found myself more hopeful for my campus’s future after this session as everyone was kind, inclusive and passionate about the topic.”

Students interested in learning more about this year’s Teach In workshops can email the speakers for more information. A full list of workshops is available on the College of Liberal Arts website.

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