By Christie Citranglo
The 2016 U.S. presidential election revealed a world that fails to recognize and celebrate diversity. One of the causes of the current political climate comes from the rise of the so called “alt-right” movement. The movement swept the nation and overtook the Republican Party, drawing on white supremacy and neo-nazi principles over governmental policy. With the election results mirroring elements of white supremacy and the demeaning of those who aren’t natural-born Americans, white, heterosexual or cisgender — celebrating diversity in the U.S. has become increasingly difficult. Several sources Ithaca Week spoke to described feeling afraid and ashamed following the election. Others mentioned how they felt the country was regressing rather than moving forward in time.
Ithaca Week, an online and local magazine powered by Ithaca College’s multimedia journalism students, recognizes the current climate of the U.S. The publication has devoted this issue to the theme of diversity. This issue draws heavily on investigative pieces, exploring how Ithaca and the surrounding Central New York region tackles diversity and inclusion, two closely related but different concepts. Ithaca Week draws upon the naturally diverse climate of Ithaca, both from its citizens and students in higher education.
While Ithaca is known as a particularly liberal and inclusive city, Ithaca Week is digging deeper into the climate of Ithaca. This issue analyzes diversity through several different lenses. Following the defeat of Hillary Clinton, the magazine explores how women in Ithaca have reacted — including women in media, who have been criticized harshly by the president-elect. Similarly, students from Ithaca College and Cornell University contribute to the diverse population of Ithaca, undocumented and international students notwithstanding. Ithaca Week examines how the election impacted students that are not natural-born Americans, international students being an often overlooked demographic.
Racism is another heavy topic discussed in this issue, challenging legislation in the police force, Native-American environmental racism and housing diversity. With a vice president–elect speaking vocally against the rights of the LGBT community, Ithaca Week also uncovers the discrimination LGBT individuals face on the college campuses and the rights fought for in the city.
The publication is striving to keep the conversation of diversity going, despite the rhetoric of the president-elect and his supporters. It would be an incredible disservice to the Ithaca community for Ithaca Week not to recognize and respect diverse perspectives. This publication values diversity and inclusion at the same time. It calls attention to the issues people have faced, currently face and will continue to face. It includes topics that have been excluded from the conversation of diversity and populations that have been forgotten in mainstream media coverage.
The conversation on diversity is not over — it has just begun.