South Asian community "speaks up" on diversity

    Following several days of similar discussions, Northwestern’s South Asian population made their voices heard Wednesday with “Speak Up: A Discussion on Race, Diversity and the South Asian Community.”

    The forum, styled similarly to Friday’s NU4DiversityNow event at Deering Field, asked the approximately 40 attendees in Swift Hall to form small groups and discuss the state race and culture at Northwestern. Participants were encouraged to share their own experiences with racism or inclusion at NU.

    The event stemmed from threads on “Apna,” the general South Asian community’s Facebook group. “Apna” is a Hindi translation for “us.” The organizer of the event, Weinberg senior Ajay Haryani, said those involved online wanted to bring the discussions to a face-to-face format.

    “The South Asian community hasn’t played as big of a role in these issues as we would like,” Haryani said. “We felt this was a fantastic opportunity to people to push themselves out of their comfort zones.”

    Topics of discussion involved race and diversity on campus, segregation of groups and perception versus reality.

    Although many students voiced that they had not faced blatant racism here, many also admitted that there are discriminatory undertones at NU, including groups closing themselves off from others who do not fit a certain stereotype.

    “Even if we don’t say [groups on campus are] closed, it’s the mentality,” said Weinberg junior Rajul Parekh. “It may not be intentional but we have to recognize it.”


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