By Alan-Michael Aurand
William Shkurti was born in Akron,Ohio. He went to The Ohio State University for college. In his younger years, Mr Shkurti was a artillery officer in the Vietnam War. William returned to Ohio to become a chief financial officer at his alumna matter, Ohio State. After retiring, Mr. Shkurit turned to writing to help make a difference and then community and published the book, ““The Ohio State University in the Sixties: The Unraveling of the Old Order”. His book highlights various perspectives on the Vietnam War and race relations at OSU. William came to chat with us at Long Street Studio about his views of our Columbus community.
William says that Columbus is diverse, but segregated because there are like-groups of the same people in the same places. Many neighborhoods and areas around Columbus are primarily composed of one race, background or religion. There are a lot of people who use stereotypes to view people that live in different pockets of Columbus. If we only stay in our own neighborhood, it’s challenging to have an understanding of other people. We can only form our views by stories on the news or from limited experiences. As a result, there are people who are not being welcomed. People are too hostile towards other people. Even though Columbus is a great place, William says there is a lot of racism in the Columbus community.
William said that the solutions to these problems have to start with the kids. Young people help with diversity. Start with yourself. Then start a small group. Talk about racism and other things. At GEMS, we have a diverse group of students and we are having some these conversations in our classes. It is a start.
William thinks we also need to help ourselves. People should not to judge a book by its cover. Start with small groups of people that are different than you. Try to put yourself in experiences outside of your social class and race.