Abi Wegner —Staff Writer
Walking into the De Yager Activity Area next to the Grille on Nov. 2, all chairs face a big screen, much like a movie theater. The smell of popcorn is in the air, being freshly popped in a machine beside the stage. There is a lot of chatter among attendees as they wait for the documentary to begin.
The Multicultural Leadership Program (MLP) hosted its first MOSAIC night of the year. The event consisted of watching the Unspoken documentary, eating popcorn and the famous Defender Crunch, followed by small-group discussions around the significance of the film.
The documentary centered around Christian heritage in Africa, as well as how slavery forced individuals to America. It asks if Christianity is a “white man’s religion” and why it may seem that way. It features a group of scholars with vast expertise in history, philosophy, and cultural influence.
Specifically, the film featured Reverend Esau McCaulley, who spoke at Dordt University for First Mondays on Nov. 7.
Through participating in this discussion on the Christian faith and the role of the Black church in its history, viewers from different backgrounds learned to see Christianity through a lens beyond their own.
One of these attendees was freshman Olivia Fedders. Before the event, Fedders “felt very uneducated on the topic” and thought she should seek out more information.
“I could just accept that I don’t know much about it and brush it off,” Fedders said. “Or I could attend events like this to be a little bit more aware.”
She believes it is important for other students to go to similar events, so they can get out of their comfort zone, or the bubble of the things they know.
Fedders especially enjoyed the small group discussion after the video. She learned through hearing different perspectives from both the MLP leaders, as well as the stories of international students that chose to come to Dordt.
“I really enjoyed surrounding myself with a diverse background of people,” Fedders said. “I love making those connections and relationships.”
She hopes Dordt continues to put on events like this one, so that other students can learn more about their own religion as well as the history of other cultures.
Alex Vasquez, the Director of Diversity Initiatives and the leader of MLP, said he was happy with how the event turned out.
“We had over 50 people show up,” Vasquez said. “I was happy that the students were engaging with it and [were] asking good questions.”
Vasquez also believes in the importance of these cultural events so students have the opportunity to have “healthy conversations” about sometimes difficult topics.
His vision is to provide “students the tools to critically think about these things.” The goal of the MLP and MOSAIC program is to create a safe space for all people to learn from each other.
Vasquez said the beauty of MLP is it encourages growth between its members, mentors, and event attendees, not only in growing relationships with each other, but by being pushed to become better people themselves.