NEW KENSINGTON, Pa. – The Westmoreland Diversity Coalition, in partnership with Penn State New Kensington, will host a youth panel town hall meeting to discuss building stronger, inclusive and welcoming communities. “The Hearts and Mind of Our Youth” event is free and open to the public and is scheduled from 5:30 to 8 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 16, in the campus’ Forum Theatre.
The event is one of four scheduled throughout Westmoreland County.
“The coalition is holding the discussions at multiple locations in order to get some insight on how to make Westmoreland a thriving community economically, as well as culturally,” said Yasmin Ray, records specialist in the campus’ Office of the Registrar.
Ray is also moderating the New Kensington campus panel, which will consist of four college students and two high school seniors, all from Westmoreland County.
Being involved in the event is something Ray felt moved to do.
“I was born and raised in New Kensington,” said Ray. “My mother lives here, as well as my closest friends and strongest support systems. Plus, I think it is important to hear the voices and opinions of the next generation that will be raising their future families in the area one day.”
The purpose of the event and the coalition’s mission is to promote unity and understanding, while also learning how the county can be welcoming for all. Ray stresses that the meeting is for anyone in Westmoreland County who cares about their local communities.
“The common ground should be wanting to know how to improve the environment in which you live,” explained Ray.
Ray also hopes the event will bring a deeper understanding about the importance of diversity and inclusion.
“I have personally been surrounded by diversity in my community since the day I was born,” said Ray. “The issue is that the words ‘diversity’ and ‘multicultural’ can be misunderstood. Real diversity doesn’t just focus on race. Diversity includes people of different ages, different backgrounds and those with different beliefs.”
She continued, “I think simply being aware of the true definition of diversity and inclusion, and recognizing that intentions can be misconstrued, is a great step in the right direction in strengthening relationships in the community.”
For more information about the event at Penn State New Kensington, contact the campus’ Office of Student Affairs at 724-334-6062.