Columbia community activist embraces diversity

2 years 7 months 4 weeks ago Monday, February 22 2016 Feb 22, 2016 Monday, February 22, 2016 8:35:29 PM CST February 22, 2016 in News
By: Lishan Guo, KOMU 8 Reporter

COLUMBIA - Traci Wilson-Kleekamp is a community activist who eagers to call people's attention on diversity issue in Columbia. She is the former director of diversity and outreach in MU's School of Medicine who put her eyes on several issues related to race, infrastructure, equity, health care and employment.

"What I see is a very resistant culture to change, and diversity is all about change," Wilson-Kleekamp said.

She told a story of an assignment for elementary students that she witnessed when she was substitute teaching. This assignment required students to form circles of six or less, but the students couldn't do it at first.

"They sat down and talked about this-what happened? Why did it not work? Well, some of them didn't want to leave their friends," Wilson-Kleekamp said. She said what we called "big people" or adults in our community have similar thoughts with these kids, and they go along with stuff that's not functional because they are afraid of upsetting their friends.

"That's what diversity is all about-is moving away from the things that made you comfortable, and working with other people to fix them, which means you have to move away from that place where people you feel like totally comfortable," Wilson-Kleekamp said.

She believes the other barrier that prevents people from embracing diversity is instead of stepping out of the comfort zone to seek solutions, people prefer to have their friends in their teams.

"The way we do it here is we have superficial conversations about why we failed and hope it blows over so we can go back doing what we were doing," Wilson-Kleekamp said.

The Columbia Chamber of Commerce invited Wilson-Kleekamp to join in the discussion and share her opinions on diversity inclusion and race issues with the leaders in Columbia as a guest speaker.

"We've had some great open conversations working with the city, working with school district, and just the university and different entities, in our community to ... how do we do this and do it right and effective." Matt McCormick, the president of the Columbia Chamber of Commerce, said.

Wilson-Kleekamp said diversity and inclusion in leaders are also important issues, and it is more challenging for people in leadership positions to embrace diversity and step out of their comfort zone.

"I'm a little disappointed because it seems to me that their committee seems to pick the same kinds of people, and it is really hard for people to get through those committees," Wilson-Kleekamp said.

She hopes that committees in the community could have a broader understanding that there are a variety of skills and viewpoints out there. 

"It's really about being able to re-evaluate and reflect on what you are doing personally. And then having the skills in your personal tool box to do with other people. That's big stuff," Wilson-Kleekamp said.

She said diversity is a ever changing map, and the entire community should keep learning.

More News

Grid
List
COLUMBIA - Three air conditioning units were stolen from Discovery Church in Northeast Columbia Tuesday night. The pastor of the... More >>
15 minutes ago Monday, October 22 2018 Oct 22, 2018 Monday, October 22, 2018 6:01:00 PM CDT October 22, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - A poster display regarding sexual orientation and gender identity at Gentry Middle School received mixed reviews from parents... More >>
2 hours ago Monday, October 22 2018 Oct 22, 2018 Monday, October 22, 2018 4:06:00 PM CDT October 22, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - Mizzou forward Jontay Porter will miss the entire 2018-19 basketball season after tearing both the ACL and MCL... More >>
2 hours ago Monday, October 22 2018 Oct 22, 2018 Monday, October 22, 2018 3:40:00 PM CDT October 22, 2018 in News
O'FALLON (AP) — A suburban St. Louis man who has served as a Cub Scout den leader has been charged... More >>
3 hours ago Monday, October 22 2018 Oct 22, 2018 Monday, October 22, 2018 2:32:00 PM CDT October 22, 2018 in News
(CNN) - The United Nations' drug strategy of the past 10 years has been a failure, according to a major... More >>
3 hours ago Monday, October 22 2018 Oct 22, 2018 Monday, October 22, 2018 2:17:00 PM CDT October 22, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - Prosecutors filed charges Monday against the driver of a car which crashed late Saturday, killing one person. ... More >>
5 hours ago Monday, October 22 2018 Oct 22, 2018 Monday, October 22, 2018 12:49:00 PM CDT October 22, 2018 in News
KANSAS CITY (AP) — The Missouri Republican Party says a miscommunication caused 10,000 voters in the state to receive mailers... More >>
7 hours ago Monday, October 22 2018 Oct 22, 2018 Monday, October 22, 2018 10:31:00 AM CDT October 22, 2018 in News
JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — The Missouri Supreme Court has allowed an injunction to remain in place against part of... More >>
8 hours ago Monday, October 22 2018 Oct 22, 2018 Monday, October 22, 2018 9:44:00 AM CDT October 22, 2018 in News
KANSAS CITY (AP) — Police say one person died and three people were injured when an off-duty Kansas City police... More >>
10 hours ago Monday, October 22 2018 Oct 22, 2018 Monday, October 22, 2018 7:48:00 AM CDT October 22, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA (AP) — Three black trailblazers at the University of Missouri have been honored on the Columbia campus. The... More >>
10 hours ago Monday, October 22 2018 Oct 22, 2018 Monday, October 22, 2018 7:36:12 AM CDT October 22, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA -The next Mega Millions drawing will take place the night of Oct. 23 at 10 p.m. central time. ... More >>
14 hours ago Monday, October 22 2018 Oct 22, 2018 Monday, October 22, 2018 3:57:00 AM CDT October 22, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - The University of Missouri's 107th Homecoming has come and gone, but left behind a lot of clean up.... More >>
19 hours ago Sunday, October 21 2018 Oct 21, 2018 Sunday, October 21, 2018 10:34:00 PM CDT October 21, 2018 in News
HERMANN - Neighbors in the town of Hermann, Missouri are still grieving after a fatal accident involving a trolley killed... More >>
20 hours ago Sunday, October 21 2018 Oct 21, 2018 Sunday, October 21, 2018 10:01:00 PM CDT October 21, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - The Missouri men’s basketball program suffered a crushing blow Sunday night when it was announced that sophomore power... More >>
22 hours ago Sunday, October 21 2018 Oct 21, 2018 Sunday, October 21, 2018 7:34:00 PM CDT October 21, 2018 in Sports
(CNN) - President Donald Trump announced Saturday that the US is pulling out of the landmark Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty... More >>
1 day ago Sunday, October 21 2018 Oct 21, 2018 Sunday, October 21, 2018 4:20:00 PM CDT October 21, 2018 in News
(CNN) - The Washington Post says Saudi Arabia's announcement about the death of contributing columnist Jamal Khashoggi is not an... More >>
1 day ago Sunday, October 21 2018 Oct 21, 2018 Sunday, October 21, 2018 2:28:00 PM CDT October 21, 2018 in News
COLE COUNTY - One man is dead after being ejected from his motorcycle during a crash Saturday night. Kin... More >>
1 day ago Sunday, October 21 2018 Oct 21, 2018 Sunday, October 21, 2018 9:15:00 AM CDT October 21, 2018 in News
PECULIAR - Fourth generation dairy farmer Jay Fogle is one of many Missouri milk cow operators who are struggling to... More >>
1 day ago Sunday, October 21 2018 Oct 21, 2018 Sunday, October 21, 2018 8:45:00 AM CDT October 21, 2018 in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 66°
7pm 63°
8pm 60°
9pm 58°
10pm 54°