'I, too, am Iowa' using pictures as their platform - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

'I, too, am Iowa' using pictures as their platform

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A photo campaign is hoping to shed light on prejudices on the University of Iowa campus.

It's called I, too, am Iowa and its goal is to spread awareness of the experiences minorities face on campus.

The visual movement was created by a group of students along with UI’s chapter of National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.

They say using pictures as their platform is just a simple way to educate.

“Well, I’ve dealt with a lot of micro-aggression while being here and I’ve noticed that a lot of people don't do it intentionally,” said Yasmin Elgaali, a Sudanese American.

Elgaali is just one of dozens of minority students who took part in the movement inspired by a similar campaign called I, too, am Harvard.

Although this group of student-participants admits the campus is diverse, Sandra Bigirwa says there is still awareness that needs to be addressed.

“As part of this campaign, I just felt like this is the perfect way to explain how I feel about how other people react to where I’m from and how that makes me who I am,” said Bigirwa.

They say they've dealt with intentional and unintentional behavioral shame forcing their culture and color to be marginalized and sometimes devalued.

The group of participants simply wants to show ignorance still exist, when it comes to the ill experiences they have to face.

“It's definitely been the whole 'hey girl how you doing' and they'll turn around and say hi regular to someone,” said Tayo Ajose. “I think everyone wants to be treated with respect, but also I want people to treat me the way that they would turn around and treat someone that is of the same kind as them.”

Azzah Nasraddin says having a workshop or course on cultural competency would help individuals understand, they too are Iowa.

“Just because I’m Muslim, doesn’t mean I’m a terrorist,” said Nasraddin. “Somebody has like an image of somebody who has a head scarf on their head, and then they talk to me and this happens a lot. Then somebody’s like wow, I didn’t think that or I’m supposed you didn’t have an accent, or I didn’t think you would talk like that.”

Participants say the university does have diversity resources out there, but the issue still needs to brought to the forefront.

They say educating people to know they want to be treated like an individual and not just a group or stereotype is all this photo-campaign is for.

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