The Lumberjack student newspaper
(Photo by Michael Weber) Pictured is the "Book Tree" set up in the Arcata Plaza on Oct. 27 for Diversity Day. The books that are available for children and parents to read come from different cultures.

Diversity on the Plaza

Diversity Day aims to create dialogue of race between HSU Cultural Centers and Arcata locals


Diversity Day aims to create dialogue of race between HSU Cultural Centers and Arcata locals

Arcata’s typical Saturday morning farmer’s market looked more cultured than usual on Oct. 27 during Diversity Day, an event hosted by We Are Your Community and The Campus and Community Dialogue on Race.

Janaee Sykes, the lead student associate for the African American Center for Academic Excellence was tabling in Arcata plaza to reach out to the community.

Sykes talked to the people of Arcata and said she had some interesting conversations with the locals.

“You never know what people can take away from a three to five minute conversation,” Sykes said.

Sykes represented one of the many multicultural organizations invited by We Are Your Community, a continuing project created by Amy Mathieson last year for her master’s degree in social work.

Mathieson said she created Diversity Day to get multicultural clubs from Humboldt State to “build bridges with the community outside of campus.”

Mathieson said she wants to create dialogue with people outside of HSU so that they are more accepting of the different cultures the school brings.

Some of the multicultural organizations in attendance were the Latinx and African American Centers for Academic Excellence, the Black Student Union, the Global Connection Club and the People of Color Group from Outer Space Arcata.

The Global Connection Club performed a dance for the Arcata community.

Parents and children read from the “Book Tree,” where books dangled from a tree like floating fruits.

“All of the books are from different cultures, and there are free books for kids to take,” Mathieson said.

(Photo by Michael Weber) Father Steve Spain is reading a book to his son Oliver Spain, age 4, in Arcata Plaza on Oct. 27. The “Book Tree” was prepared by We Are Your Community for kids and parents to read culturally diverse books.

People also interacted with “The Umbrellas of Understanding,” a semi-private place to have a free conversation.

(Photo by Michael Weber) Two people have a private conversation under the “Umbrellas of Understanding” in Arcata plaza on Oct 27.

Volunteer for Sanctuary Campaign Brenda Dirks-Perez attended Diversity Day to promote Measure K. Measure K is a local ballot measure that promotes changing Humboldt County into a sanctuary county.

Dirks-Perez said the farmer’s market doesn’t normally allow political campaigns to set up at Arcata plaza, but an exception was made for them on Diversity Day. Dirks-Perez said she is grateful that Mathieson could mediate with the North Coast Grower’s Association.

(Photo by Michael Weber) From left to right: Brenda Dirks-Perez and Lisa Pelletier for the measure K sanctuary campaign are tabling in Arcata Plaza on Oct. 27. They were invited to Diversity Day as an exception to the farmer’s market rules that ban political activism.

Dirks-Perez’s husband Willie Dirks said political freedom of speech is important for “making a law protecting diversity in the community.”

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