Posted by William Reilly on May 11, 2021
At a recent virtual meeting of the Rotary Club of Lynn, some of the Skills USA team from the Lynn Vocational Technical Institute presented a workshop to the members. The workshop presentation was entitled Building Tolerance and Inclusivity. The presenting team members were: Juan Cubides-Ramirez, Nyssa Lewis, Brian Lopez-Mejia, assisted by Alexandra Rodriquez and Ambar Rodriquez. SkillsUSA is a national partnership, with over 20,000 chapters all over the country, formed by students, teachers and industries working together to ensure America has a skilled workforce. . The Lynn chapter creates dozens of programs every school year.
 
In this time of racial divide and the issue of White Privilege the team of students led by faculty advisor Jason McCuish and co-advisor Claire Price decided on a presentation of Building Tolerance and Inclusivity. The objectives were as follows:
1. Grow in your understanding of empathy.
2. Define: marginalization ,micro aggression, implicit bias, and privilege.
3. Engage in reflections that will support your progression toward more tolerance and inclusivity.
 
During the presentation a worksheet was distributed electronically to the members, which they completed for self-evaluation, and to help to understand if they had unconscious biases. The worksheet had about 30 questions, below, about ones experiences. We were asked to check off the statements which applied to oneself. 
__I have never been discriminated against based on my skin color.
__I have never been the only person
of my race in a room.
__I have never been a victim of
violence because of my race.
__I have never been told “I sound
white.”
__A stranger has never asked to touch
my hair or asked if it is real.
__I am heterosexual.
__I never had to “come out.”
__I have never tried to hide my
sexuality.
__I have never tried to hide my
sexuality from others.
__I am a man.
__I have never gone to bed hungry.
__My family can pay all of their bills
on time.
__I have never felt poor.
__My parents are both alive.
My parents are married.
__I do not have any physical
disabilities.
__I have never been depressed.
__I do not have any learning
disabilities.
__I have never taken medication for
my mental health.
__I have never been shamed for my
body type.
__I have never been shamed for my
religious beliefs.
__There is a place of worship for my
religion in my hometown.
__I have never lied about my ethnicity.
__I am not nervous about airport
security lines.
__I have never been called a terrorist.
__I was not bullied as a child.
__I have never been sexually harassed
or assaulted.
__My family can pay rent or mortgage
on time, monthly.
__I have never had an addiction.
 
After completing the worksheet, a discussion followed. It was an eye-opener when you realized there were experiences many others went through and you never experienced them. It brought home what it meant to have white privilege. 
 
There were many other discussions, too many to repeat in this short article. 
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