Embracing Diversity Through Fashion

 

With all the tumultuous events that have plagued the nation recently, the United States appears to not prioritize safety as a promise to the citizens and immigrants of our nation. To change minds and to foster safety, events of and relating to varying cultures, color, and identities delegates a sense of security to all people. The recently elected President, Donald Trump, has made a strong social impact on people of color, the LGBTQ community, and countless other minority groups. Tides of anger shook the nation, and many now brave their souls to live their lives to the best to their ability, and as safely as possible. An umbrella of unspoken worries and fears hover their heads. Lately, at the forefront of many minds is the fear of being brutalized or deported.

As a community with varying identities and cultural backgrounds, Gallaudet has aimed to provide safe spaces and resources to meet the unique needs of every individual. There are events hosted representing different cultures such as the Latinx Student Union (LSU), Asian Pacific Islander Association (APIA), Saudi Student Organization (SSO), Rainbow Society, and other international/religious student organizations. This allows the students to feel they are capable to express and demonstrate who they are without any barriers. Everyone deserves this right of freedom of speech and security. Diverse events on campus are embraced and valued, and your attendance is encouraged by the leaders of Gallaudet.

As part of these events, the Black Student Union (BSU) hosted a magnificent fashion show. It was such a package deal for the students involved, providing not only the opportunity to socially engage in a safe space, but also encouraging change and opening of minds. The show was hosted by Claudia Giordano and Lola (Ololade) Olosanoye. The emcee duo introduced four different kinds of catwalk themes which included; be yourself, cultural, king of the pop, and formation. The show was beautifully choreographed with confident models, of varying identities, genders, backgrounds, shapes and sizes on the catwalk with vivid, colorful lights and a black curtain closing behind them. One spectator commented, “We all contributed to this show in a unique way. We united as a crowd, and unity is what the world needs right now. Embracing diversity is beauty within itself.”

The connection between models and their audience was deep, obvious, and heartfelt. The students could clearly feel and witness the black power, and portrayal of their culture’s purity and growth that came from the struggles within the system. During intermission, BSU gave out free velvet cupcakes and introduced Gallaudet’s two free-standing and extremely talented dancing clubs; Gallaudet Dance Company and Bison With Attitude (B.W.A.), accompanied by awesome music provided by DJ Nico Dimarco. In conclusion, the fashion show offered our community a cultural dialogue about freedom of expression, the Black Lives Matter movement, and validation of cultural identity with aid and support from Gallaudet’s campus resources and safe spaces. Those of us involved in the creation of this article aim to address anything that challenges the safety and provision of safe spaces on campus while also explaining why such environments are necessary to ensure the emotional and mental health of all Gallaudet students.

 

 

 

 

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