Beyond the classroom: covering diversity and racial issues in our community

Published: Jul. 8, 2020 at 6:07 PM PDT
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RENO, Nev. (KOLO) Racial equality and diversity have always been a hot topic.

“Now is our moment for youth to take action that maybe youth previously did or didn’t but its our moment now and it belongs to the youth,” explained Jody Lykes, a professor at the University of Nevada, Reno.

Protests continue to sweep the country in a call for action.

Jody Lykes with UNR students
Jody Lykes with UNR students(Jody Lykes)

“Moving it from the person who did it to the person who received it... What’s it like to have a family member missing from your table and would that change our behavior more to than just saying police are bad?,” said Lykes.

The steps to transform our nation are endless, but the push for justice and fairness begins right in our own backyard.

‘‘We joke a lot in the activist community that this is all going to go away and people aren’t going to pay attention to it anymore,” added Lykes. “But for the family who lost somebody that memory of the loss is there forever so we have to find ways to work together in the community even after its not trending on Twitter.”

Lykes spearheads the African Diaspora program at the University of Nevada, Reno. He also works at The Center meeting with students from different backgrounds to help them succeed on and off campus.

”We have to cross this bridge of people thinking they don’t belong on campus or have a fear of being on campus and the university but we invite a lot of school age kids and their families to do some of our programming,” said Lykes. “We work a lot with the school district and the office of inclusion.”

While many cultural programs/events offered at the university is extended to everyone in Reno, the work and commitment to preserve an inclusive society never stops.

“There isn’t enough black business in Reno and I don’t think that’s a coincidence because it’s hard to create a business, but we just put out a black resource guide for students and faculty and create a community of where people know where to get their hair done, nails done, so we can support them and the collaborate with businesses,” added Lykes. “We’ve taken that approach for a long time to work with businesses in the community.

That’s why Lykes encourages you to keep the ball rolling.

“There are challenges with COVID and I feel like if we come together in community, we’re going to teach each other and heal each other,” said Lykes.

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