Maria Sanelli, Director of the Kutztown Frederick Douglass Institute, is an advocate for encouraging young adults to search for social justice in their own communities. On Thursday, Feb. 13 she spoke to Bloomsburg University students about just this and how we can broaden our understanding regarding intersectionality.
Sanelli mentioned how we, as students, have to learn to match our talk with our walk.
“A lot of people talk a good game but do you actually walk the walk that matches your talk?” said Sanelli. In other words, many of us tend to talk about what we think needs to be done but put no action towards making it happen.
In order for us to practice what we preach, Sanelli brought up transformative learning which challenges what we practice in class every day. Instead of mindlessly memorizing information from lectures, she suggested taking that information and applying it to your everyday life. Doing this, she insisted, will open up your mind.
She also brought up the concept of emotional intelligence, which we gain every day through our own lived experiences.
“Experiences give you the opportunity to navigate things that happen outside of the classroom.” This includes things such as social skills, self-awareness, empathy, self-regulation and motivation.
To successfully “walk the walk”, you have to be able to recognize how you feel while also understanding how someone else feels. Essentially, by being able to understand other people’s points of views and interact with different groups of individuals, you gain the ability to effectively broaden your understanding of intersectionality.
Sanelli left her audience with one final message, saying, “Try something new. It’s scary and it’s exciting. There are hard lessons sometimes but it’s worth every minute.”