Project Portfolio - COMM 250
The original proposal consisted of two parts: the first one was the interviews and the second one was an event where we were going to present different artists from the community. The primary topic of the presentation was going to be diversity in all its shapes and forms. The shows would include slam poetry, local bands and visual artists. The interviews were going to be put within a documentary style video that was going to be shown at the event. These interviews would include people from different backgrounds speaking about themselves. We focused on allowing them to express themselves freely, providing them with a guideline but not specific questions.
Goal: To embrace diversity by shining a light on a different perspective about individuals from different ethnicities, races, sexual preferences, etc. We wanted to focus on the individual. We did this by focusing on the racial and ethnic differences, then asked questions about their day their day to day life. These unique people showed us that even if someone seems different, or might view life differently, isn't a reason why you can’t connect. Everyone eats, drinks, sleeps and dreams.
Explanation of what we did
We started by crafting an email to send to clubs and get involved at a larger level. We did not get any responses. That is when we decided to conduct personal interviews ourselves.
Our first round of interviews was with three different people: Kareem, Abdullah, and Angelica.
Interview 1, Kareem
Kareem hails from the country of (Iraq). Growing up he says he loved his country, but found that the war-torn country was becoming all too burdensome. Once he was able to leave, he left and made a trek to Lincoln, Nebraska. Starting out he said there was a lot of difficulty with not knowing the language, and his daily struggles with the language still persist, but that hasn't stopped him from living the American dream. He has a loving wife, a beautiful family, and a job that allows him to support the former. The primary message from Kareem is that he wants to be known as a man who overcame the hardships of living in a war torn country, overcame struggles of immigrating to finding work, and ultimately being able to be successful in this new place. Furthermore, what he truly wants to show the world is that he will do anything for his family (including a physically demanding job at the age of 74). Being a strong family man and provider for his family and allowing his children to pursue the American Dream is what truly makes Kareem extremely unique.
Interview 2, Abdullah:
He is from the United Arab Emirates. The main idea that he wanted to deliver is that he is a Muslim and he is a human being whose only purpose is to grow as an individual and create a better future for him and his family. He was a really shy and family oriented person until he went to High School and had the opportunity to study abroad. He wants to be a businessman and continue with his family’s business. He loves spending time with his friends, old movies, and reading. He loves meeting new people from different parts of the world with different perspectives and learning about cultures and individuals.
Interview 3, Angelica:
She is a 20-year-old Native American who was born at the Winnebago tribe in Nebraska. She was four years old when she moved to New Mexico to live with her dad. In New Mexico she was surrounded with different cultures, but especially the Mexican culture which greatly influenced her style of life; for example, her favorite food is Mexican food and people often believe she is Hispanic. She is a Civil Engineering Major at the University of Nebraska Lincoln and her goal is to help her tribe to make houses that will eventually be sold for a cheaper price, considering that many banks do not allow Native Americans to have loans.
We have created online presence through Facebook. To start, we asked people to share selfies and express their unique story and their favorite hobby, posting videos of examples of how people can come together and participate in positive communication, and ending with posting interviews with minorities. We also included surveys and emails for those who didn’t feel comfortable sharing their story on social media or over interview. We received approximately 33 answers from these. We will post the results in the documentary.
Our Facebook page has a reach of 575 people and a post engagement of 101+, and it continues increasing. We try to generate content everyday so people know we care about this project. We share YouTube videos, posts and quotes and ask people to engage. Also, we pay attention to answering all of their comments and letting them know we value their opinion. We noticed that most of Andrea’s friends in Facebook speak Spanish, therefore we decided to share content in both languages, reaching people from Mexico as well, who liked our page.
Evidence of intervention
Based on just discussing the idea of identifying the similarities between major minorities (race/ethnicity) in public places, people offered to give interviews. We asked them what made them want to offer their time and they expressed that explaining their story would help their cause of promoting equality amongst different races. It also let them educate us by explaining that even with the hardships and differences between the minority and the majority, they still enjoy the same things like time with friends/family, hobbies like reading and trying to balance their dreams with school, work, family.
Just within ourselves we have learned a lot about how different people’s backgrounds are but what truly dictates who they are isn’t how they look or where they are born. It is how they have reacted to life and keep pushing to be better people.
We have had many people willing to take time to read our Facebook, and emails. Pour their lives on camera and be role models for the other minorities who need some support. Besides what embrace diversity has done to further understand how we can better assimilate the differences of people, even the university believes that to have a better college, we need to incorporate everything that makes us different while also being in the same place or our community.
We currently have three interviews completed, and three left to get. One of the interviews yet to be had, is a professor from communications studies. She will provide us with important facts and information about Diversity on campus and UNL’s goals in studying diversity. We are trying to get interviews from people with extremely different backgrounds. Another example next week we are interviewing a Cuban girl to address the stereotype that all Latinos are Mexican. We also have someone from Africa and a member of the LGBTQ community. At the end we will also share our stories to allow people to learn a little bit more about who we are and why we decided to address this topic.
If we were to do it again
What we had problems with the most was getting people to answer email surveys. People were more than willing to do interviews. So starting with grabbing interviews right off the bat would have been really nice. This also would have made editing the documentary better by having more time to refine some rough spots and gather a really strong sense of message. Also looking for experts within the college at an earlier time would have been good. Experiential guidance on such a large subject would have been very reassuring.
We mention in on our Facebook about the university trying to map and learn exactly what are all the differences that makes up this school. Getting a better understanding of this effort and trying to better associate ourselves with it, would have created a much stronger effect. We as of now are continuing to make an effort to make a larger impact through the university or other macro level channels of that degree.