Diversity Mural unveiled: “We are one”

MCCC’s new diversity mural represents not only students, but our entire race.

“The painting hopefully conveys our unity as human beings,” said Steve Ryder, designer of the mural.

“We are the species known as mankind. We all laugh, we all cry, we all suffer, we experience joy and all the struggles that are so unique to being man.”

The mural’s name was revealed Sept. 25 at the official unveiling – “We are One.” Speeches were given by MCCC President Dr. Kojo Quartey, and by Penny Bodell, Administrative Assistant to the vice president of Student and Information Services, who proposed the mural.

“This diversity mural is a wonderful testament to the direction in which this institution is moving: towards acceptance and tolerance of all individuals regardless of their background, ethnicity, religion, nationality and sexual orientation,” Quartey said at the ceremony. “We are becoming more reflective of this great nation and the global society in which we live.”

Bodell proposed the idea for the mural to the Gay/Straight Alliance of MCCC, where she acts as an adviser.

“The idea to create a diversity mural began with the Gay-Straight Alliance Club,” Bodell said “I presented the idea, and the club members loved it.”

The idea for the mural was approved late in 2011, after a considerable amount of planning.

“A proposal was made regarding the location and size of the mural, as well as the idea of holding a campuswide contest to choose one or more ideas,” Bodell said. “A winner was chosen in May of 2013.”

The idea chosen belonged to Steve Ryder, brother of Tom Ryder, Campus Community Events/Student Activities Coordinator. Steve Ryder was one of 22 people who submitted ideas last spring, and work began on the mural this fall.

“Internally, we are all the same! It is only when we get over the differences of our exterior being, will we progress as humans,” Ryder said.

Volunteers were asked to contribute their brushstrokes to the mural as a statement on the content of the artwork.

“This is the first of its kind on campus,” Bodell said in an email. “Everyone’s brushstroke represents our campus community and its willingness to live and exist in harmony.”

“I hope the mural will help in some small way to bring the campus community closer together – to remind us of what we have in common rather than what sets us apart.” Bodell said.

“This mural makes a tremendous statement of how far MCCC has progressed, and the campus community’s desire to move forward,” she said.