MrJeffDess Speaks: Office of Multicultural Affairs. St. John’s University
Trill or Not Trill?

Where: St. John’s University
Who: Students, staff and faculty
Message: The importance of embracing our diversity

Whenever I have an opportunity to speak at my alma mater, St. John’s University, it’s an absolute pleasure. This speech was from the beginning of the summer at an end of the year luncheon. I had the opportunity to speak to a group of students who worked with or were a part of the Office of Multicultural Affairs. These were students who worked with the office to develop a sense of themselves and strove to foster a culturally pluralistic living and learning environment.  There were about 100 folks in the room and as a side note I was wearing my favorite pair of pink pants. I call those my speaking pants!

This was an exciting audience and I was given 10 minutes to get my message across. I wanted this immensely diverse group to know how much their ideas of difference could impact the world. Today, we as a society are so inundated by the thought of “what’s trending.” I say to that, if everyone is cool and trendy then nobody is cool trendy.  An agent of change is always a more effective than an agent of conformity. So let’s be different!

As leaders of our community it is essential to dig as deeply as possible to reach a true destination of diversity. I challenged the students to create a world with “more Muslim deans of students, more Latino physicians, more Black judges and lawyers and more Asian entrepreneurs and more women CEO’s.” The future is being cultivated as we speak and the growth process is in our hands.  That difference we seek in the world takes work and I am prepared to put in the hours. Are you ready to do the deed and exert the necessary effort for continuous change and development?

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Stay Trill, folks.