Multicultural Education in Schools with Sunny P. Chico, President, SPC Consulting, LLC


Sunny Chico: NF is Reducing Prejudice and Discrimination by Putting Different Cultures Together
Already became a catalyst on strengthening and deepening friendships among different and various groups and communities in Chicago, Niagara Foundation’s Luncheon Forum challenging to end alleged ‘clash of civilizations’ in Chicago by continuing to host significant leaders of Chicago area so that to cause people from diverse communities to come together and get to know each other. Having stressed by many participants, some of them have met some people that didn’t really know who they are although living side-by-side for years. Certainly, Niagara Foundation’s contribution is of utmost importance to diversity of Chicago area and will always be remembered for its deeds.

As announced earlier, the next speaker of the Luncheon Forum was Sunny Chico, President of SPC Consulting, LLC. Sunny Chico’s topic was entitled as ‘Multicultural Education in Schools’ and she elaborated and eloquently delivered a very comprehensive lecture to the audience. Before Sunny Chico’s speech, Kemal Oksuz, the Executive Director of Niagara Foundation presented her to the audience by stressing her rich contribution to Chicago’s multicultural education. Kemal Oksuz also noted that Niagara Foundation’s Luncheon Forum continues to enlighten Chicago’s future horizon as recently hosted Robert Grant, a special agent in charge of Chicago admitted that ‘Niagara Foundation is an excellent platform for different communities to share their culture’. Then Mr. Oksuz went on admiring and praising Sunny Chico by emphasizing her good deeds in multicultural education. In turn, Sunny Chico also admired Kemal Oksuz and his staff on an incredible job on interfaith level. “I say the same words to Kemal, his commitment, dedication and his staff’s dedication and commitment is one that I truly admire. When I see this dedication and people, I can help to get back and think what all is about and why I am here today”.

Sunny Chico then went on talking about theory and practice side of multicultural education. Being an experienced master in multicultural education sphere particularly in Chicago area, Sunny Chico first gave several definitions to multicultural education.

According to Sunny Chico, multicultural education is a philosophical concept embodying issues like justice, equality, freedom and foremost – compassion. Also it acknowledges human dignity and it affirms all educators to prepare their students for the complex world awaits them. Multicultural education defends the principle of which educators should take students’ background, history and experience into consideration. Because, immigrants, or students from other countries lack American experience or they have less knowledge about American classroom culture. Therefore, it is an educator’s responsibility to take all these cases into account. She lamented about her experience when she was in an elementary school in America. She spoke only Spanish and she didn’t know any single word in English. Also she was under huge pressure of discrimination as well as under depression of being misunderstood by her teachers. And thereby she decided to jump into education ‘business’ and she thanks her those years for her current self-development and the place where she is now. She concluded theoretical part of her speech by noting that a multicultural educator should understand the needs of his/her students and USA has a very long way to go.

“In practice”, she argues, “Educational institutions must demand that they are culturally competent and culturally diverse”. Also curriculum materials, textbooks, materials, academic process and tests should be in line with international standards or at least in a capacity that a student should be able to learn. Teachers must commit and facilitate learning for each student regardless of how culturally different they may be. She also narrated a sad story of her when a teacher told her that she can’t be obsessed with one problematic student because she has 26 kids to be busy with so as to she claims that compassion is a key to educate and a key to be a successful multicultural educator. She told that she doesn’t work with anyone who has no compassion and she has a particular question to find out whether or not a candidate possesses compassion.

According to Sunny Chico, a multicultural educator must possess the commitment to continually examine his/her personal assumptions, ambitions and biases. Also to be a multicultural leader in an education sphere, one must be in a constant process of self-evaluation and self-conversation.

Later on, she complained about the problems that American teachers face. Two of them would be prejudice and discrimination. “Prejudice”, Chico claims, “significantly differs from discrimination”. “You are doing prejudice, when you don’t know facts about someone but you judge” she added. However, “when you know all those facts about the person, but still you act in the way that you are not supposed to act, and then you discriminate” she said. She also added that it is a very big problem in Chicago area and Niagara Foundation is doing an excellent job by bringing all people together and alleviating these problems. “Niagara Foundation puts all these facts together to make cultures understand themselves” she told. She appreciated how Niagara Foundation awarded her and she felt so humble that she kept asking herself what she is doing here.

She then talked about her previous experiences when she first time visited Turkey. Her family and close friends told her not to go there because they thought it is not a safe place over there. But she said that one should step away from his/her first initial reaction and judge things deeply. That’s the only way we can tackle multicultural education problems of society.

The speech ended up by Kemal Oksuz’s generous gift to Sunny Chico after addressing the questions. Kemal Oksuz officially closed the event after the lunch.

The next luncheon forum is announced to be on 28th February, by the president of Benedictine University, William Carroll.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008
11:30am- 1:00pm

205 North Michigan Avenue, Suite 4240
Chicago, IL, US, 60601

The views and opinions expressed on The Falls are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of Niagara Foundation, its staff, other authors, members, partners, or sponsors.