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Continuing Conversations

Continuing Conversations

Matania Shares Her Perspectives on Diversity and Inclusion

By Kiersten Ekkens 

On January 29, the Revival Project hosted a panel discussion about diversity and inclusion. In the event announcement on Instagram, the Revival Project prefaced the discussion by stating, “we are not looking for definitive answers, we’re here to learn how to empathize with each other.” Alele Kennedy Matania ta’etasilenuiatuliatua Moaga Aiolupotea is a sophomore strategic communication pre-law major and Revival Project music co-director. After the discussion with the Revival Project, she agreed to an interview. Questions and answers have been edited for clarity. 

Q: What topic of discussion did you feel was the most important for students and faculty at WWU to consider? 

Aiolupotea: I think the most important topic for students at Walla Walla is just to celebrate each other’s cultures and backgrounds and not box people in. Everybody has their own personalities, and we should never tell people to be quieter and louder. We all have different things to add and bring to the table.  

Q: Which topic resonated most deeply with you and why? 

Aiolupotea: When you’re given an opportunity, take advantage of it; stand up and take it. Not only to represent your own culture and background, but God. Everybody worships differently, but celebrating our diverse backgrounds shows how they all still point to God. 

Q: What does the celebration of Black History Month mean to you? 

Aiolupotea: It means a lot to me, growing up you hear the different stories and the trials of people, and I feel like we are always stuck on that and we don’t remember that they have overcome so much stuff, it’s encouraging to see people make it up there and do good things.  

Q: How would you like to see it celebrated differently here on campus? 

Aiolupotea: I would love to see more CommUnity or social events centered around Black History. I would love to have the whole month where we students can look into how they live life and worship and the different activities they do.  

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Q: What has been your experience on campus with diversity and inclusion? 

Aiolupotea: WWU does a good job with including all the different types of people that come here, I love when the clubs collaborate with each other, how it gives us an opportunity to take time to celebrate and learn. Its like WWU is giving us an opportunity to celebrate the different cultures represented here. I like how our peers do a great job of not boxing each other in.  

Q: Are there women that you look up to as role models? 

Aiolupotea: My grandmother, because she was first person in our family to move from the islands to the US. She worked 3-4 jobs and had seven kids, her hard work inspires me. I also really admire and look up to Cassandre Beccai. I admire how strong and loving she is. Like her character is so amazing, the way that she lives her life shows God’s character. [1] 

Citations 

  1. Interview with Alele Kennedy Matania ta’etasilenuiatuliatua Moaga Aiolupotea.  
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