Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Unity Pledge Forum & Twelfth Night

On November 17 at 8pm, in the 4th floor programming room, I attended a forum on Loyola College’s Unity Pledge. The pledge was made by a group of students and administrators to bring respect and unity to Loyola College as well as to the community surrounding us. The pledge involves “upholding human dignity by respecting one’s ethnicity, religion, gender, class, etc.” The initiative of the pledge is to promote interconnection. The forum involved the Vice President of Policy for SGA, Omani Guy, who introduced seven of Loyola’s students to speak about issues they have encountered. All seven students were involved with either discrimination against their race, sex, or sexual orientation. Others were involved with Juicycampus.com, an online gossip site involving almost every campus in the nation.

The main point of the forum was for students at Loyola College to speak up about problems they have encountered on campus, and to share their emotions with other students at the forum. The purpose of this was to encourage and initiate respect on campus and in the community in order to bring unity between Loyola students and administrators. As a Jesuit institution, we are encouraged to help others and respect all no matter what the circumstance.
The forum itself was extremely emotional and deeply connected to the audience. For example, a student spoke about her life as an immigrant, growing up in a Caucasian family and neighborhood. She explained that she was discriminated against her entire life and people at Loyola, even her friends, continue to make comments about her culture. Although I am only half Hispanic, I am a minority as well and so topic deeply related to me. The audience was able to speak up themselves after the seven students. One by one, people stood to share their own thoughts about unity and respect at Loyola, and how many things need to change before we can all be united.

The reading, “Twelfth Night,” by William Shakespeare can relate to the Unity Forum because both involve respect and harmony. In “Twelfth Night” the characters are all tangled together love triangles, disguises, and more. The moral of the entire Unity Pledge is to have respect and love for one another. In the reading, there are many characters that don’t have respect, such as Malvolio, who only is concerned with himself and his own worth. People like him are the ones in which the Unity Pledge is supposed to reach out to. The pledge is aimed to allow people to be more like the characters of the clown and Viola/ Cesario, who always tell the truth about others and themselves. Most people put others down in order to make themselves feel better, such as Malvolio did. Ambition is a big theme in “Twelfth Night,” and ambition is what usually makes others treat others without respect in order to get what they want. The Unity Pledge is something that was created so that all will be respected and so that we can all learn to live and grow with one another.

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