Tanisha Watts - University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia

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Tanisha Watts

Vice President of Education, USC Law Students’ Association

Diversity Week is the celebration of difference. It’s about understanding the world is full of unique individuals who all bring different qualities and fresh perspectives to the world. Diversity is what enriches our society.

It’s important to celebrate our differences because people – or groups of people – become marginalised when we’re not seeking out those different perspectives.

Diversity Week is about stopping for a moment to appreciate the beauty in people around us who are different from ourselves. That’s easy to do at USC because we’re lucky enough to have campuses with lots of international students and students from diverse backgrounds who bring unique perspectives to our education. Hearing all the voices on campus helps us create a community that’s safe and inclusive of everyone.

I don’t consider myself to be diverse in the sense that I identify with a minority group that has been marginalised. But I believe it’s the responsibility of the majority to embrace and celebrate the different perspectives in people around them to create a more just and inclusive society. I’m working towards that goal through my work with the USC Law Students’ Association. This year we’re holding an event at the Innovation Centre with the theme ‘Breaking the chain’ with a bunch of interesting guest speakers who bring that unique perspective to the conversation. There’s a teacher who taught on Nauru, an artist who is a former detainee, and social-justice campaigner Debbie Kilroy, who spent years in prison.

The point is that everyone is different – and people fear what they don’t know. Fear breeds hate, so celebrating events such as Diversity Week is a good opportunity to ensure knowledge from a wide range of perspectives replaces that fear.