Identity Card Program used to shine light on diversity


DaeQuan Fitzgerald

A poster explains The Identity Card Project implemented by the Intercultural Engagement Center.//Photo by DaeQuan Fitzgerald/ The Guilfordian

According to the Guilford College website, students come to Guilford from 38 different states and 16 different countries. Furthermore, students of color make up 40 percent of the campus. Diversity is one of Guilford’s seven core values, and to epitomize this, the Intercultural Engagement Center has implemented the Identity Card Project, designed to bring a visibility to the campus’ variety.

Community members are invited to craft six words that express an aspect of their identity. These submissions will be shared in Founders Hall, King Hall and Hege Library.

The project was spearheaded by Associate Vice President for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Krishauna Hines-Gaither and junior resident adviser Dayna Bryden. A web developer in the office of IT&S at Guilford, Precious McKoy, went to a conference where the national Race Card Project was introduced to her. McKoy shared the project with Hines-Gaither.

“(McKoy) came back and said to me, ‘I just learned about this great project. It would be great if you brought it to Guilford College.’ So I looked up the project and fell I love with it,” Hines-Gaither said.

The same day, Bryden approached Hines-Gaither about her application to become an assistant community director. To earn the position, a plan to impact and engage the entire campus is required.

Coincidentally, Bryden wanted to do something with diversity. Hines-Gaither shared her plans of bringing the Race Card Project to the campus, and Bryden suggested using “identity” in place of “race.”

“Dayna was actually the person who said race can be very limiting,” Hines-Gaither said. “People have a lot of identities, and race might not be the one thing that everyone wants to talk about. People can talk about where they are from, their sexuality, religion, hobbies, ability status and more.”

The project has already generated support just off its announcement in the Guilford Buzz. Since launching two weeks ago, 40 cards have been submitted.

“It honestly means a lot to me,” Bryden said. “I’m glad people are drawn to it and want to do it.”

The pair will be presenting at Black History Kickoff on Feb. 6 at 1 p.m., where Hines-Gaither’s predicts around 200 to 300 people to be in attendance from the campus and community.

The project will also be presented at the All Black Everything Symposium on Feb. 27, and another presentation will be provided to 60 students from neighboring Dudley High School as well, where the Identity Card Project will be implemented as well.

“I feel like it is an awesome gateway for students to express themselves and share what their identity means to them,” Bryden said.

Bryden has a vision for using the project within the residence halls across campus.

“For me personally, I’d like to do this once a year around the residence halls as people are coming onto campus,” Bryden said. “I think it would be good for resident advisers and assistant community directors to all make one to be placed in their (respective) dorms.”

Hines-Gaither expressed the main goals for the Identity Card Project: visibility, conversation and community.

“We have three goals of the project,” Hines-Gaither said. “They are simple goals, but we hope they will have a big impact.”

The visibility goal focuses on bringing light to the different identities that encompass the campus.

“We are going to be printing different identity cards every month,” Hines-Gaither said. “So different experiences and identities will be highlighted each month.

“One of the gifts that Guilford has is how diverse the campus is,” Hines-Gaither said. “It is growing in its diversity every single day, and we don’t want to pretend like that’s not happening. We want to be visible about that, so this is a way to showcase that diversity.”

Three posters are printed each month. Four cards are on each poster, totaling 12 different, featured identities.

“We are hoping people will see (those on the identity cards) and the words that they chose, the reason they chose the words, their identity, where they are from and what their culture and ethnicity is, and actually start having conversations with people about those things,” Hines-Gaither said.

Junior Candice Burch participated in the project and shared her reasoning for her words. Her six words read “Always remember, with pain comes strength.”

“God only gives his toughest battles to his strongest soldiers,” Burch said. “Whatever you go through in life, know that everything happens for a reason and that there is a purpose for life.”

The Identity Card Project offers a new way for the campus to engage with one another.

“We’re hoping that the identities that are underrepresented or just in the margins will come to the forefront,” Hines-Gaither said.