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Segregation or celebration?

Nicole Kimble | Thursday, September 6, 2012

After reading Mr. Whichard’s letter to the editor regarding “Segregation at the Tabernacle,” Sept. 3, I took a moment to really think about what he was saying. I participated in a number of those cultural events, and never once did I feel like I was being segregated from the rest of the Notre Dame community. I still attended the same dining halls, the same football games, the same classes and lectures as the other, non-minority students on campus. I also went to many English masses in the Basilica, as well as the Notre Dame Encounter which is a nonethnic retreat.
I attended and worked with the Latino Freshman Retreat, first as a participant, then as a leader. Never, in my time there, were any of the cultural retreats closed to people of any other culture or ethnicity.
Every student on campus is welcome to attend any and all of the cultural retreats and masses. In fact, it is very often encouraged. Every time we had someone of a different background attend it was a matter to rejoice: the fact that someone outside of our ethnic group would find it relevant enough to spend a weekend learning about the culture and background that many of us had been raised in.
Perhaps if Mr. Whichard took some time and attended one of these events he would see these special celebrations are not for the gratification or superiority of a specific race, but rather the celebration of culture. Let’s remember if all of these groups did not exist on Notre Dame’s campus, we would not get to enjoy such events as Asian Allure, Black Fashion show and Latin Expressions. These celebrations are opportunities for students all over Notre Dame’s campus to learn and participate in the cultural differences that make our university beautiful and diverse.
To deny these differences within our student body would be the antithesis of what Notre Dame is striving for. Our Lady’s mission is essentially to prepare us for the world beyond those stone buildings and tree-lined walkways. Last time I checked, the world we live in is comprised of millions of different ethnic groups, languages, creeds and personalities. Wouldn’t you want to be prepared for that?
Ultimately, the God I know and love doesn’t care if I pray in Spanish or English. The God I know loves all cultures, all ethnic groups, all people.
Nicole Kimble
graduate student
off campus
Sept. 5