Lifting up more voices


Zach Zimmerman is a junior molecular biology/biochemistry and chemistry double major from Archbold, Ohio.This story originally appeared in the spring/summer 2015 issue of The Bulletin.

“I grew up in a fairly homogenous community as a white Mennonite male. Consequently, I chose Goshen in order to learn from a community that values diversity. Since coming to college, I have had wonderful opportunities to attend Black Lives Matter protests in Goshen and Washington D.C., the Anabaptist Vision and Discipleship Conference and a sexual violence prevention training, to name a few. On campus I have learned about Ayotzinapa, Jeju Island, Palestine and the People’s Climate March. Here, I have learned a lot from a diverse set of voices, built lifelong friendships and developed a passion for social justice.

But, there are still many voices that go unheard here by the dominant white Mennonite culture, and I struggle with my own participation in this exclusion. We too often expect “the other” to meet us where we feel comfortable, and only then do we listen. I celebrate the diversity I have experienced at Goshen, but mourn the voices that are not yet encouraged to speak here. Wouldn’t we be better able to promote intercultural learning if we had more professors of color and changed our hiring policy to include LGBTQ+ professors? I believe striving for diversity in all aspects of Goshen’s culture will only expand the learning and mentoring opportunities for all students.”