TEANECK, N.J. – When Joshua Pierce of Teaneck was a student at the County College of Morris, a professor asked him if he wanted to be the president of the Black Student Union.
Pierce thought about it for a couple of days, before he came back with a counterproposal.
“’Instead of a black student union, what about a diversity organization? What about something that everybody can be a part of?’” Pierce said he asked the professor.
“’I want to be able to have something that’s bigger than just one race,’” he recalled saying.
With that conversation four years ago, the Diversity Organization was launched. Pierce went on to recruit 400 members in the first semester, and 700 members by the second semester.
That is when he said he knew: “This was a big idea and that we should expand it beyond one school.”
Since then, Pierce, 23, now a senior at New York University, said the Diversity Organization has partnered with schools such as Hackensack High School, Teaneck High School and William Paterson University.
With a staff made up of 20 young people of different genders, cultures and races, the group goes into high schools and colleges to teach students about diversity. They host performance-based assemblies to bring people together in an engaging, contemporary and positive way, he said.
“In high school a lot of people learn about the maths, they learn about the sciences, they learn about the languages, and that’s important,” Pierce said. “But it’s also important for you to learn how to interact with somebody who is different than you.”
Pierce said they teach students about diversity being a benefit.
“If you surround yourself with people of different genders, people of different races, people of different ages, the benefit is diversifying and broadening your perspective,” he said.
Pierce said this is just the beginning for the organization -- they hope to expand nationally.
“The Diversity Organization is about bringing different cultures, races and ages together, so that we can better understand each other and move past differences,” he said.
To watch a video on the organization, CLICK HERE .
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