Inclusive Language Campaign to Bring Former Ravens Linebacker to Campus

Brendon Ayanbadejo, a Baltimore Ravens Super Bowl champion, is coming to McDaniel to “Speak Out” about marriage equality.

On Oct. 16 at WMC Alumni Hall at 7 p.m., McDaniel students will have the privilege of hearing Ayanbadejo speak. The linebacker was released by the Baltimore Ravens in April and is now a free agent to advocate for marriage equality.

The Inclusive Language Campaign (ILC), launched earlier this month, is sponsoring this event.

Ben Cowman, Area Coordinator for independent housing and RA Supervisor for Residence Life is the leader of the Inclusive Language Campaign. “I am very excited to have [Ayanbedjo] come and speak about marriage equality and his experience,” he said.

Jennifer Jimenez Maraña, director of the Office of Diversity and Multicultural Affairs, who is also collaborating with the Inclusive Language Campaign, said that this is a great way of finding our identity and get the conversation going about this and other issues that are occurring.

“Ayanbadejo is a great person to bring to campus,” said Maraña, “because people like it when people talk about their identity and what they are and represent.”

Maraña also says that the Inclusive Language Campaign bringing speakers to campus it is also a great way to discuss issues on campus that may be bothering others.

“When we say ‘that‘s so gay,’ what do we really mean by that? Some people may feel uncomfortable by that. We are using language that people may find offensive or unwelcoming,” said Maraña, using an example of language that is not inclusive.

This lecture will start the conversation about these issues, she said.

McDaniel isn’t the first campus to address inclusive language. According to Cowman, the idea of the Inclusive Language Campaign originated from the University of Maryland College Park. He learned about this campaign at a conference this year and decided to bring it to McDaniel.

The purpose of this campaign is to “create a more inclusive campus conscience. We want students to feel welcome here,” said Cowman. “We want students to understand that their words do have power.”

Cowman is trying to “minimize ‘microaggressions’” by making students second-guess the words they say to other people as they may be hurtful.

The Inclusive Language Campaign is a student-driven campaign with help from partnerships of Student Affairs, the Office of Diversity and Multicultural Affairs, Wellness Center, the Office of Student Engagement, and Residence Life.

In addition to bringing Brendon Ayanbadejo to campus, ILC will be hosting an interactive dialogue called “Your Words Have Power” later this semester. It will be about words that people may find hurtful on campus and may be affecting their lives.

“This work never ends and we want to continue with it throughout the year,” said Cowman.

Editors’ Note: McDaniel students wishing to see Brendon Ayanbadejo on Wednesday Oct. 16 speak should arrive at WMC Alumni Hall at 6:30 with their student IDs for priority seating.