Name: Alexa Tyler
Graduation year: 2015
Hometown: Bloomington, IL
Why Solidarity? I realized that issues of racial and ethnic differences are not issues that will go away. Having the ability to get out in front of the discussion gives me the opportunity to discuss with my peers why this is still a problem and what we can do to change the way it is approached and discussed.
About Me: I lived in Barrington, IL until I was ten years old. Then, my family moved to Bloomington, IL and we have lived there ever since. Moving allowed me to get a taste of being near a major city and then living in a smaller town surrounded by cornfields. I like to say I got the best of both worlds. I have one younger sister and four spunky dogs. Our dogs are the brothers my sister and I never had. I am the first member of my family to attend Wheaton, which I think is great! As far as after Wheaton, I plan on attending medical school with the hopes of working in pediatric healthcare.
What would you like to achieve from being on Solidarity this year? Above all else, I want an atmosphere of acceptance to be felt on campus. When cultures differ from our own, it's easy to feel uncomfortable. Feeling uncomfortable is natural, but refusing to accept the differences is not acceptable. We make up the diverse body of God. He made each of us different. We reciprocate God's love for us when we embrace the uniqueness of others. Accepting differences can lead to understanding.
What is one lesson of racial reconciliation that you’ve recently learned? We each have a story to tell. My story is different my roommate's, and her story is different from our brother floor's RA. The beauty in that is that we are all unique. We get into trouble when we assume and stereotype, creating a story for someone before it's been told. I pray we stop and be honest with ourselves when we start trying to write someone's story. I pray we be confident enough to ask and humble enough to listen.
If someone was just starting to think about issues of race, what advice would you give them? Take your time. Don't try to learn everything in a day. It's impossible. Find books or podcasts that give you insight into the discussion and then try to find one or two people who you trust that you can start asking questions and discussing with. Remember that there is no cookie cutter solution; it's an on-going process.
When you’re not studying or working on projects, where can you be found on campus? I'll most likely be on a coffee date with friends at Caribou or Starbucks. My friends and I love getting off campus and just talking. We could sit for hours and just talk about any and everything.
What makes Wheaton unique? The diversity here is awesome. People literally come from all over the world to attend Wheaton, which makes for wonderful conversations and friendships.