When I was casting this semester’s Georgetown Program Board fashion show, I was not seeking models based on their relative differences. Instead, I looked for models who are representative of our community. Georgetown University prides itself on being a mecca of diversity; however, there are very few on-campus opportunities to see the integration of this diversity. I wanted to make the GPB fashion show an opportunity to celebrate all humans at once, not just one specific ethnicity or culture.

I also wanted to make an event that was visually transparent and showed how certain minorities felt oppressed by current events. For this reason, the fashion show is named “Diamante.” Diamante is French and Spanish for diamonds. As every diamond is valued for its uniqueness, so must we value every human.

To better understand the motivations for attracting a diverse pool of models, I must first explain the connection between the fashion industry and general social dynamics. Until 2016, the fashion industry had intensified already existing cultural barriers around beauty. These barriers, built far before the millennial generation came of age, created a world where, if you did not align with a prototype, you were not accepted. If you were too white, too black, too fat, too skinny or too Latin-looking, you could potentially be excluded from an event, campaign or trend. The fashion world was perpetuating the phenotypical division of humans.

Furthermore, the fashion industry’s campaigns are not realistic — they do not represent a typical human in any given culture, region, continent or country. They misrepresented and underrepresented cultures and people in many places; during 2014’s Fall/Winter New York Fashion Week, nearly 80 percent of models were white. “Diamante” hopes to do the opposite: to showcase models that are representative of the student body and of all the pieces that create this wonderful puzzle we call Georgetown University. We hope that the show encourages people to be their authentic selves, not the selves that society has deemed most worthy of attention.

“Diamante” also hopes to shed light on today’s political and social realities. Issues like the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, the Muslim ban, hate crimes against the LGBTQ community, xenophobia, gender inequality and other ongoing conversations not only intensify global divisions, they affect on-campus biases toward oppressed peoples.

I believe “Diamante” can eclipse national politics and work as a step toward healing views one group may hold toward another.

GPB’s fashion show is pushing not only the narrative of equal representation, but also a principal value of our Jesuit university: caring for the other. As a nation, we are focusing so much on the divisions among ourselves that we do not speak about resolutions or how to move forward as a nation. In the spirit of the great Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., we must look forward to a day where we walk hand in hand. The mission of “Diamante” is to acknowledge the great unity within diversity. That unity — diversity at its best — is the only way we can heal the divides of racism, colorism, sexism, homophobia, Islamophobia and the other -isms and -phobias on Georgetown’s campus and in the United States.

My hope is that “Diamante” creates an opportunity to tell stories to people of all different identities about the struggle marginalized people fight through. Consequently, the audience will watch a story told from the perspectives of different performers, promoting this narrative of acknowledging certain humans’ tragic and oppressive experiences. “Diamante” will celebrate diversity and promote unification of humans over division.

Kevin Martinez is a sophomore in the College.

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