By Nakoa Nunies | Staff Writer

Celebrating the 3rd annual diversity month, Kapi‘olani Community College has a wide variety of activity plans for October. Funded by the Student Equity Excellence and Diversity (SEED) Initiative for Diversity, Equity, and Success (IDEAS), Diversity Month is a series of events held at the Lama Library from 12:15 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. It is open to students, faculty, and community members and is admission free.

This year’s theme is “Religion In Hawaii.” Each week speakers of religious communities will come to talk about their religion and to clear up the stereotypes, and misconceptions about their beliefs. There will also be film screenings held in Lama 116 that goes along with the theme of religion. Free popcorn will be provided at the film screenings.

“We want to create opportunities for additional education experiences,” said Kelli Nakamura, a professor of history at KCC. “It’s to provide avenues for understanding and potentially creating commonalities.”  

Nakamura is one of the few people who work hard to organize this event for the community of KCC. With her is Joy Oehlers, a librarian at KCC, and Eric Denton, a professor of religion at KCC. This event is held not to promote religion but to provide a safe space for people to ask questions and explore other religions without feeling judged or attacked.

This week Bishop Eric Matsumoto will be coming to Lama Library Alcove to speak about Buddhism, on Tuesday, Oct. 4. They will also be playing an episode of “South Park” on Wednesday, Oct. 5 to discuss Mormonism in a comedic, and controversial way. Later this month they will be having speakers from the Mormon, Jewish and Islamic communities. They will also be showing “The Taqwacores” and “Persepolis.”

“We want our students and our campus to be culturally aware,” Oehlers said. “In our society, we have a lot of stereotyping, we have a lot of discrimination, all the ugly words, and all the ugly thoughts.”

Diversity Month is held to provide the students with opportunities to understand other cultures, so we can ensure that our campus is a safe place for everybody from every community.

“I was inspired to provide the same kind of experiences I had in college,” Nakamura said. Having had opportunity’s to hear from great speakers like Margret Thatcher and Henry Griffinger pushed her to help form Diversity Month.

Previously Nakamura, Oehlers and Denton had a week dedicated to “Sexual Diversity” thanks to students who reached out and asked about this topic. They discussed issues and concerns about the LGBTQ community, providing the campus with a further understanding of what it means to be LGBTQ. KCC is a college that is fortunate enough to be able to benefit from opportunities like this.

Diversity Month schedule:
*all events will start at 12:15 p.m.

Speakers (in the Lama Alcove):
Tuesday, Oct. 4: Buddhism, Bishop Eric Matsumoto
Monday, Oct. 10: Mormonism, Brother Dennis Kim
Thursday, Oct. 20: Judaism, Rabbi Ken Aronowitz
Wednesday, Oct. 26: Islam, Dr. Abdul-Karim Khan

Movies (in Lama 116):
Wednesday, Oct. 5: “South Park” (a controversial, comedic look at Mormonism)
Thursday, Oct. 13: “The Taqwacores” (about marginalized Muslim-American individuals in the punk scene)
Monday, Oct. 17: “Persepolis” (an animated film about growing up in Iran and facing prejudices in Europe)