Why I am Culturally Unique: Dr. Sharon Perry-Fantini

It is my belief that culture is the fundamental building block of my identity. I knew at age 4 that I was different than my classmates when one of them pointed out that the palms of my hands were darker than theirs. This is when learned about different races. I knew at an early age; not much longer before I was born, two generations before me, my grandmother escaped from the cotton fields of the south in search of a better life. This is when I learned about socioeconomic class. I knew at age 7 that I was attracted to those of the same sex, even though it was considered unacceptable. This is when I learned about religious differences. I was told at age 18 that college was not for African Americans and when I enrolled as a first-generation student, I was told that I would never graduate. This is when I learned about inequity. Nonetheless, I advanced forward and earned a Ph.D. As an adult, I was able to travel overseas and found that in South America people of a different country are more like me than some from the country in which I was born and raised. This is when I learned about acceptance.

My life experiences help me to remember who I am and the importance of being respectful and open to different cultural perspectives in working towards equity and opportunities. 

My life experiences aid me in my commitment to address injustice, exclusion, and inequity through education, raising awareness, and legislation. 

My life experiences assist me in understanding that applying the principles of cultural competency such as respect for diversity, equity, and inclusion makes me unique.