Diversity speaker says ‘It’s hard to hate close up’

By Sophia Gerner
October 13, 2020

“It’s hard to hate close up,” Nydia Han, 6ABC News anchor and Emmy award-winning journalist, said.

Nydia Han during her Xenophobia discussion on zoom. Photo taken by Sophia Gerner.

On Oct. 7, the Office of University Diversity Initiatives, Black Student Union and Pura Vida hosted Han in a virtual discussion that invited the Cabrini community to join in on. Han talked about xenophobia and racism in America. Xenophobia is the fear or hatred of those who are foreign. Han talked about the hardships that came with growing up as an Asian American and how life has become harder with people blaming all Asian Americans for the coronavirus.

Han went on to talk about an altercation she had with a driver while she was walking across the street one day. She explained during the event how the driver proceeded to yell out of the car window, “This is America.” This moment sparked a discussion and is what made Han want to dig deeper into that comment. She described what the feeling of not belonging and what “not as American” felt like to her. “After 20 plus years as a journalist, I had hoped people would see me as an American journalist,” Han said.

Han decided to turn this situation into an opportunity to have a conversation with all different types of people. She started interviewing anyone she could and ended up creating a documentary series called “This is America” with the hopes it will lift each other up and help make this country an inclusive place.

Image from Nydia Han’s “This is America” documentary series during the discussion. Photo taken by Sophia Gerner.

Han described how, especially right now, so many different communities are hurting and the only way to fix that is to come together and help each other. “No one community can do this alone,” Han said. “And it all starts with a conversation.”

“America is always a working project, it’s never finished,” Han said. She left us saying this experience has made her come to realize that the more she embraces who she is, the happier of a life she lives. She hopes if we can remember anything from her talk, that is the message we leave with.

Naiser Warren-Robinson, sophomore communications and black studies major and president of BSU, was one of the many who attended Han’s talk. As one of the sponsors of this event, BSU strives to have a positive influence on the community and were excited to take the opportunity to be one of Han’s sponsors.

Warren-Robinson talked about how Han’s discussion directly and indirectly affects the world we are living in today and said it was an obvious answer to say yes when they were given the opportunity to sponsor it. He said, “Struggling and racism is universal and it requires the unity and the voices of everyone to ensure that everyone is treated with the same equality in this country and in this world.”

Another one of “Xenophobia in America” sponsors was Pura Vida. Pura Vida members hold

Photo taken from Nydia Han’s “This is America” documentary series during the discussion. Photo taken by Sophia Gerner.

meetings about the social injustices in the community.

Hawirk Munoz, junior international business and political science major and social media coordinator of Pura Vida, said the group wants to continue to sponsor as many events as they can to keep the name fresh in the community’s heads so students know there is a group that is welcoming and there for them.

When asked what message she thinks people should take away from this discussion Munoz said, “You are a part of the beautiful culture that we have on campus, it’s something made for the campus to know that we’re growing in diversity.”

“Xenophobia in America” ended with the message telling everyone to reach outside of his or her own bubbles and to have conversations to actually get to know each other. “It starts with a conversation.”

Sophia Gerner

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