If you haven’t been coming to RAP (Raiders Against Prejudice) meetings recently, you’ve been missing out. Just in the last month there has been three RAP meetings ranging in formats from official discussion, to lunch discussion, to simply a lunch talk led by faculty member Justin Burner.
The official RAP discussion was surrounding immigration: illegal vs legal, common misconceptions, and the varied complexity of the subject. The meeting was attended by a seemingly equal number of those who would call themselves liberals or conservatives. It was a welcome sight, for not all sides of the opinion spectrum are typically represented during these meetings. These contrasting opinions served for a lively and multi-faceted debate with people finding common ground not previously understood. “It was really interesting to get to see a new point of view on the immigration issue. I can often get pigeonholed into my own perspective," mused Rosa Anderson-Barrera '21. "It was interesting to see other people who had personal connections on the other side of the debate.”
One of the RAP leaders of this year, Anika Iqbal '20, said the topic of immigration was selected because of it's approachability from various perspective. “Thomas (Nimon) '20 and I chose immigration as our topic because, from our experience, it’s approachable from all sides of the aisle. So the meeting was slightly different just in the fact that our typical milieu was varied— and that there was more tension than usual. I had found myself pretty nervous at some points during the meeting due to the nature of the conversation," explained Iqbal. "It was heated, it was an argument, it was scary. And I still can’t believe how well the attendees handled it; it was incredible to watch a roomful of people go from arguing passionately with one another to laughing and thanking each other within minutes. We continue to find ourselves speechless after witnessing the depth of intellect, kindness, and desire to learn that comes from the people we are so lucky to interact with each semester. We can only hope that our meetings go nearly as well in the future.”
The week after the immigration meeting was Mental Heath Awareness Week, so on that Thursday, Julia Flack '21 and Kate King '20 led discussions with teachers and students surrounding mental health and how it is dealt with at Baylor. Teachers offered their views about how to deal with students’ mental health, and how students believe Baylor needs to be more understanding and proactive. Both teachers and students felt like they learned a lot. “Many of the students were brave enough to share their experiences with reaching out for help with mental health in hopes of improving the way our school interacts with the topic," said Ava Echard '21. "Hearing straight from the teachers that they are comfortable with discussing mental health and hope to ease the burden on students allowed both the teachers and the students to build an open dialogue about how to make everyone feel comfortable, safe, and supported.”
The Baylor students are lucky to have such an open forum like RAP to discuss topics they want to explore. If you are interesting in joining, participating, or have a topic you would like to suggest, email Thomas Nimon or Anika Iqbal.