Texas Tech University

Student Spotlight: Focus on Diversity

Emily Gardner

March 26, 2015

Brionne Dunham created a video focusing on diversity.

Brionne Dunham
Brionne Dunham

Texas Tech University freshman Brionne Dunham has always been interested in creating videos and was motivated to create a video involving diversity partially because of her own experiences.

In honor of black history and diversity, the media strategies major and women studies minor from Houston created a video called “One Race, Many Cultures, One Love.” It was completed at the beginning of March because Dunham said she wanted to remind people black history exists outside of February.

“The central theme is definitely unity because I feel like, as a school as a whole, we are socially segregated,” Dunham said. “If something doesn't pertain to us or pertain to our race then we feel like we don't have to participate or we feel like we shouldn't participate. I think that is absurd because cultures are here for us to learn about them.”

Dunham's parents taught her not to see race as a factor when forming relationships, she said, but it wasn't until she witnessed and experienced discrimination herself
that she wanted to discuss the topic the way she did.

“I think it was that buildup and seeing it happen, seeing everything on the news and dealing with cases such as Trayvon Martin, Tamir Rice and Mike Brown and just seeing the unfairness and thinking ‘Man, is this what my kids are going to live in?'” Dunham said. “It has a deeper meaning to me because I'm thinking generations ahead. This is not the type of world I want them to live in. I don't even want to live in a world where we socially and politically segregate ourselves.”

The video was filmed throughout the month of February during Dunham's free time. It incorporates both scheduled and random interviews from students, faculty, staff and administration and footage that showcases unity, such as people of different cultures walking, skateboarding or studying together. It also shows clips of the different events that happened throughout the month, including the African-American History Month Lecture Series. Anyone was able to participate.

As the video progressed, Dunham said she noticed it focused more on the lack of unity, which means the video represents what people struggle with in the world, where people come from and what their foundations are.

“The video really made me realize I have a job to do, and I need to bring about unity on campus in every way possible,” Dunham said. “This video is just the start of what is to come. I feel as though it is my purpose to change the world, but I need to start at the place I learn, sleep and interact with others. I want people to understand what is being said in this video and understand it's coming from my heart.”

The next step for the video is expanding it into a documentary featuring a diverse population of people, Dunham said. She also wants to continue promoting diversity by creating other videos and documentaries. Through the project, Dunham learned to edit videos using iMovie and Final Cut Pro as well as enhancing camera skills.

“I've learned how to take initiative and go for what I want,” Dunham said. “At first I was so afraid to ask people for their participation and take chances. I learned you have to take chances in order to succeed.”

Dunham's mentors for the project included Tricia Earl, unit coordinator and academic adviser for the women's studies program, and Kim Burdine, a psychologist at the Student Counseling Center.

Earl, who is Dunham's minor adviser, said through this project Dunham is recognizing how her major and minor intersect. Dunham also is seeing how her coursework applies to real-world situations and has the opportunity to see this interaction grow throughout her time at Texas Tech.

“I really see her taking that sentiment of let's talk about this intersection of race, class and gender within a history component and let's expand it throughout the whole year,” Earl said. “That's the really nice thing when you start to work with a student early on, you get to see them grow, you get to see them manage their project or research in a way that helps them even in their coursework.”

Dunham will be screening her video at 6:30 p.m. Thursday (March 26) as part of Texas Tech's 2015 Diversity Week. The screening is in the Escondido Theatre at the Student Union Building. A question-and-answer session about oppression, discrimination and solving diversity issues on campus will be held after the screening. The screening is supported by the Student Counseling Center, Women of Color Discussion Group and the Women's Studies Program. For more information on the screening, contact Kim Burdine at kimberly.burdine@ttu.edu.