Liberty in North Korea (LiNK) is helping break the silence that has defined North Korean refugees’ lives, according to intern and program nomad Stephen Erich. LiNK arrives at Saint Mary’s College on Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. in the Vander Vennet theater to show the documentary “Hiding,” a film that focuses on refugees in China and Southeast Asia. Erich travels around the Midwest with three other nomads spreading the word and showing the documentary. “Every season, spring and fall, we do awareness tours where we travel around for 10 weeks,” Erich said. “We show a documentary and talk about what’s going on.” Erich said the film is interesting because it gives background on North and South Korea and covers current events, all while telling the North Korean refugees’ stories. “Every month or so, we have a mission where we bring out a number of refugees, and that August we had a mission where we brought out four refugees,” he said. “The vice president and our film guy went to China to follow the mission through the underground, so ‘Hiding’ tells the story of those four refugees and has personal interviews with three of the four.” LiNK was founded in 2004 by Korean-American students who wanted to make a difference, Erich said. “There was a Korean-American student conference at Yale, and the students watched a documentary [about North Korea] and they all got inspired to do something about what is going on in North Korea,” Erich said. “So they started LiNK, and it spread out from there across the nation.” Now, LiNK operates on college campuses and high schools across the country. “It started out as a bunch of pockets across the U.S. and has grown into a more organized movement,” Erich said. LiNK is not just an organization that brings awareness. It actively seeks to bring North Korean refugees to safety, he said. “We work directly with refugees. We provide emergency relief to North Korean refugees,” he said. “We do that through an underground railroad-type thing in China, and then we have a shelter in Southeast Asia and we resettle the refugees in the U.S. and South Korea.” Erich said there are three classifications of people in North Korea: loyal, wavering and disloyal. “The loyal class [members] — they live in Pyongyang —have access to resources, are educated. The wavering class lives out in the country, and the disloyal class [members] could be in political prison or live on the outskirts, near the border with China,” he said. Because North Korea is governed by a totalitarian regime that seeks to control every aspect of North Korean government and society, the regime does not take care of the disloyal class members. They are very often the refugees LiNK helps, Erich said. “They’re just trying to survive,” he said. Once the refugees make it out of China and into Southeast Asia to the LiNK shelter, they are given the skills and education they need to live on their own outside of North Korea. Due to security issues, the Southeast Asian country where the shelter is located cannot be named, Erich said. “While they are in our shelter, we try to educate them as much as we can,” he said. “They can spend anywhere from a month, eight months, 10 months [or a] year in our shelter. While they’re in the shelter, we teach them skills like money handling skills, culture — how to live on their own.” LiNK also educates and informs the refugees about returning to South Korea or going to the U.S. The refugees then decide which country they want to live in, Erich said. In the last two years, LiNK has helped 62 North Koreans reach safety. Overall, the organization has helped 72 refugees find a new home.
The Career Center’s Engineering Industry Day drew more than just corporate representatives to campus Tuesday, namely, engineering students from Saint Mary’s. The Engineering Industry Day (EID) event brings engineering companies and students together through a variety of events at the Joyce Athletic and Convention Center. Azunne Anigbo, a chemistry major at Saint Mary’s and chemical engineer at Notre Dame, said last year’s EID Fair helped her advance her career goals. “I went to the Industry Fair last year, and it was really good,” Anigbo said. “I met with a lot of people [and] got an interview out of it.” Saint Mary’s chemistry professor and engineering program administrator Dr. Toni Barstis said like the Notre Dame Career Expo, the EID Fair hosts companies looking to hire students in specific fields. The Fair gives students the opportunity to network with recruiters while researching and applying for positions. Jenna Troppman, a Saint Mary’s math and Notre Dame civil engineering major, said she was pleased by the variety of businesses at the Fair and found some firms with which she would like to intern. “It was very enlightening, seeing all the companies and all the different [things] that they do and all the different locations,” Troppman said. Barstis said the Saint Mary’s engineers met with career exploration specialist Laura Flynn from the Career Center on Thursday in order to prepare for the EID Fair. Flynn worked with the students to improve their resumes and interview skills. Saint Mary’s junior Mary Kate Hussey, a chemistry and chemical engineering double major, said working with Flynn prepared her for her future job search. “I think that it really helps make you aware of what you need to do in the future at interviews and other career fairs,” she said. In addition to the Fair, Engineering Industry Day included a dinner for minority engineers, a breakfast for chemical engineers, a civil engineering lunch and other, major-specific events. These activities enable students to meet engineering companies in a more intimate environment that provides ample opportunities for networking and learning more about a specific industry, Barstis said. Haley Gordon, a chemistry and chemical engineering major, said most of the EID events were during class times, which made it difficult for Saint Mary’s engineers to participate. Neverthless, Chanler Rosenbaum, a math and mechanical engineering major, and some other Saint Mary’s engineers managed to attend. Rosenbaum said after attending a event specific to her major Monday, she was excited about the EID Fair. “I went to the Aerospace/Mechanical Engineering Night [on Monday],” Rosenbaum said. “I thought it was a great experience. I learned about the different departments that were most interesting to me in each company. I talked to a few companies … and will talk to them [at the Fair] to show that I am very interested in interning at their company.” Saint Mary’s alumna Megan Gin, a chemist and cellular biologist representing British Petroleum (BP) at the Fair, said the dual-degree engineering program made her an asset to her employer. “It’s a very challenging program, to say the least, but it is something that’s very rewarding in the end,” Gin said. Gin said when she was a student, the dual-degree engineering program was in its early years. “I think the program was still growing,” Gin said. “I think as more and more people become aware of the program and understand it, each year it gets a little bit bigger and it gets a little bit better.” Chemist and cellular biologist Madeline Powell, another Saint Mary’s alumna, represented the SPX corporation at the Fair. She said the dual-degree program gave her an analytical understanding of what it takes to work in a lab as an engineer and a scientist. The senior composition experience at Saint Mary’s also gave her confidence and an advantage when presenting in professional and technical environments, she said. “I was able to experience a technical degree in a small setting like Saint Mary’s but also able to experience the large lectures at Notre Dame,” Powell said. “That was invaluable.”
Notre Dame College Republicans (NDCR) has invited former Speaker of the House and 2012 presidential candidate Newt Gingrich for its annual Lincoln Day Dinner and Speech on April 15.“The Lincoln Day Dinner is an annual event that most Republican organizations hold,” NDCR president, senior Mark Gianfalla, said. “For us, we’ve had one as long as I’ve been here. … I think continually for the last 10 years our club has done it.“In the last few years we’ve really picked up the fundraising aspect of it and basically increased our budget for the event 500 times what it was two years ago.”Last year, the club invited Fox News contributor and conservative political pundit Ann Coulter to speak at the Lincoln Day events, drawing harsh criticism from several student groups and inspiring a series of protests on campus.The Lincoln Day celebrations include a speech, which is free but ticketed and open to the public, that will be held April 15 at 6 p.m. in Washington Hall, and the dinner that follows is for members of the club and community members.Gianfalla said he anticipates 250 attendees at the dinner, a dramatic increase from last year’s 85 attendees and 30 the year before.“Anybody who has an affiliation with the club is invited — dues-paying members obviously have first access, and then faculty and staff who want to attend,” Gianfalla said.“We have some alumni … but also a large portion of the local community that is supportive, both financially and through campaign efforts and club events — we invite those people as well. This year, a large portion of the attendees will be community members,” he said.To fund what Gianfalla described as a “$25,000 event,” the club has turned local party affiliates and national organizations for assistance. In particular, NDCR formed a partnership with the Young America’s Foundation (YAF), a group that describes itself as “the principal outreach organization for the conservative movement.”“We started a partnership with the Young America’s Foundation, which is a group that supports collegiate efforts to bring in conservative speakers,” Gianfalla said. “[YAF] negotiate the contracts with the speaker. They have existing relationships, and they contribute financially to bring in that speaker.“… They contribute thousands of dollars to our speaker fees every year; this year they’re contributing a large portion — at least half — and the rest of that is coming from the local Republican Party … and individuals in the community such as local party members and people who have supported us in the past who live locally. We also get some money from the University as a club, and a small portion of that comes from dues as well,” Gianfalla said.In choosing the Lincoln Day speaker, Gianfalla said budget limitations played a role in the decision but that the speaker’s “notoriety” and ability to draw a crowd was also a factor.“We want someone with good name recognition, who can fill a 650-person auditorium,” he said. “We also want [someone] who can add quality discussion, quality commentary during the speech.”NDCR secretary, sophomore Dylan Stevenson, added that Gingrich proved a good choice for the dinner because of his unique perspective and experiences in government.“To mention that Gingrich was Speaker of the House [of Representatives], House Minority Whip and that he was Time’s ‘Man of the Year’ in 1994 would be to mention just a few of his many achievements,” Stevenson said in an email. “He served over 20 years as a Representative in the House and had the ear of Presidents Reagan and Clinton.“One of the main reasons we invited him was to hear him reflect on these experiences and really give the club a good idea as to what it’s like to have access to the corridors of power. As a former Presidential candidate, he can provide a really unique perspective about that process as the two parties gear up for primaries.“I think one of the big things that he’ll do to help dialogue is draw attention to the Party and its principles. I think that, by highlighting how Conservative principles would help this country, he’ll get the proverbial ball rolling, and I think we’ll see intelligent discussion about these principles filtering through the student body. Moreover, given that we’re already seeing potential 2016 candidates make themselves known, I think he’ll add fuel to the fire of presidential intrigue that is starting to grow here,” Stevenson said.According to Gianfalla, Gingrich will speak on “domestic and foreign policy” in his speech, in line with the events that NDCR has participated in and hosted so far this year.“This year, we wanted to choose someone who would follow the theme of our programming,” Gianfalla said. “We had a big Rick Santorum speech at the beginning of the year, and we’ve had a lot of political discussion at our meetings and as well as a lot of debate.“We really wanted to engage the knowledge base of the student body … to broaden that base on issues. I think [Newt Gingrich] will foster that aspect of our programming this year very well.”Tags: lincoln day, lincoln day dinner, Mark Gianfalla, newt gingrich, Notre Dame College Republicans
Zachary Llorens | The Observer Students gather in the Notre Dame Room in LaFortune Student Center to receive bystander intervention training as part of the GreeNDot campaign, which emphasizes awareness and preemptive action.Christine Caron Gebhardt, director of the Gender Relations Center (GRC) said choosing a prevention program to implement at Notre Dame proved challenging because data is limited, and each program must be tailored to individual institutions. She said Green Dot does, however, have a target number of students to reach for reducing sexual violence on campus.“Green Dot’s measure of success is when you hit critical mass, which is 15 percent of your student body bystander-trained,” she said. “That is the point where you will see sexual assault decrease, both in your non-confidential resources and in your confidential resources.”Danny Funaro, chair of the department of gender issues for student government, said the campus community is making strides to hit the 15 percent point.“The last GreeNDot extended training was full,” he said. “There’s definitely a good amount of very involved people willing to go through these processes.”According to Aimee Herring, lead deputy prosecutor at the SVU of Saint Joseph County, the media have reported an increase in sexual assaults. However, she said, an increase in reported assaults does not necessarily reflect an actual increase in the number of assaults.“I think that that tells us we have victims who know that they have been violated, and know what to do when they have been violated and what options they have because they are seeking help if they need it, they are reporting if they want to, they know who to go to if they want to report,” she said.Herring said continuing that work would be an important task moving forward, to help educate victims and the community about sexual assault.“I think it is working,” she said. “I think that our college campuses in this community in general have come out and have spoken out about sexual assault in general and specifically saying we don’t want to see this in our community. … This community will not stand for that.”Annie Kuster, a senior and part of the GRC’s FIRE Starters program, said improving University policy and awareness has been a positive but that the conversation about sexual assault requires the community to go further than that.“I think there has to be a little bit of a culture shift because I think right now there are still some areas that are particularly vulnerable,” she said. “ … So now, maybe people are starting to understand what’s going on, but people might still leave their girlfriends at a party and go on to the next one because she wants to stay. … Or, everyone’s drinking heavily, and we don’t have a sober friend to make sure that everything’s under control.”She said promoting a culture that does not tolerate sexual assault would require “putting steps together of what does it actually mean to respect somebody, and get to know somebody, and have these conversations that foster a healthy relationship instead of one that could lead down a potentially negative path, for both parties.”Echoing that idea, Abby Palko, associate director of the Gender Studies program, said because faculty and administration are not present in situations where sexual assaults are more likely to happen, change must come from students — with help.“My hope is that you all who are here now as students are able to create the kind of campus culture you want to be in, and that is healthy for everyone, and that is a space where people can flourish and grow,” she said. “There are supports that the administration can put in place, but a lot of it has to come from students deciding what’s acceptable and what’s not acceptable. And the faculty are here to support you. In some ways it sounds silly, but we’re almost completely powerless here.“We can advocate for change to the rules, we can advocate for accountability, but we don’t actually create that. And we’re not at the parties with you, and we’re not there to say, ‘Hey, do you really want that seventh drink?’ or “You two don’t really look like you know what’s going on right now, maybe you should separate.’ We’re not there to do that. It feels like all we can do is say, ‘Yes, we’re behind you,’ as you work to bring about this change, and there are lots of faculty who want to do that.”Senior Skyler Hughes, a producer for Loyal Daughters and Sons, said talking candidly about sex and other gender issues would also be a necessary part of the conversation moving forward.“Being this Catholic, relatively conservative campus, there’s a lot of silence around sex in general,” Hughes said. “And by extension, there can be a lot of silence around sexual assault. I think that there’s been a little bit of a breaking of the silence on that issue — on specifically sexual assault — because people are now willing to talk about that, but people are still very uncomfortable with talking about some of the other issues.“But these other issues are not unrelated to the issue of sexual assault. When you’ve got different gender dynamics, gender relations, they can contribute to certain power dynamics that can promote a culture that allows sexual assault to happen.”In the context of a Catholic university, Caron Gebhardt said it is important to realize that the idea of consent is relevant not only in relation to sexual assault but in any acts of physical intimacy.“So all the ways a Catholic institution would hold firm to our value that sexual activity would remain within the marriage context, we also recognize that there’s layers, levels of sexual activity that occur between our students — and there should be consent at all of those times, in all of those ways,” she said.From the perspective of preventing sexual violence, Caron Gebhardt said, consent requires looking at how each person in the relationship is being valued.“It’s really about how each person is being treated with dignity, which is inherently part of who we are a Catholic institution,” she said. “Now I know as students, it’s like, you want to know, ‘Is this consent? Is that not consent?’ because there are procedural questions. But more importantly, what I’ll say to students is, if you can’t talk about it, then how could you possibly do it?“ … Students are going to make choices, and if they choose to engage at that level of sexual intimacy, that’s fine, but hopefully they’ve laid a ground where if that were to happen, each person would be treated with respect.”Managing Editor Jack Rooney, Associate News Editors Clare Kossler and Catherine Owers and News Writer Katie Galioto contributed to this story.Tags: Fire Starters, GRC, greeNDot, loyal daughters and sons, sexual assault, sexual assault series, sexual assault series 2015, St Joseph County SVU, Student government Editor’s note: This is the fifth and final installment in a five-part series on sexual assault at Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s. Today’s story focuses on the future of the conversation on sexual violence.The conversation on sexual assault is changing.In the last three years alone, the University- and student government-supported initiatives have transitioned from those of awareness and education to advocacy and bystander intervention with the One Is Too Many, It’s On Us and GreeNDot initiatives, student body chief of staff Dan Sehlhorst told The Observer in October.Launched at Notre Dame earlier this month, Green Dot is a national program that teaches bystander intervention to students to help prevent sexual assault in their own communities. The program draws its name from crime maps, in which red dots “typically suggest the spread of some terrible epidemic with each dot representing an individual case. Together, these red dots are the accumulation of individual decisions, moments, values and actions that contribute to a culture of violence and bystander inaction,” according to the student affairs website. On the contrary, “green dot behaviors” represent instances where red dots were avoided or combatted through behaviors like bystander intervention.
Four faculty members in Notre Dame’s College of Arts and Letters have won fellowships from the American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS), the University announced in a press release Monday.Members of the history department Mariana Candido, Evan Ragland and Deborah Tor were three of 71 ACLS fellows selected, and philosophy professor Katherine Brading won one of nine collaborative research fellowships, according to the press release.Professor of history and department chair Patrick Griffin said the department is honored to have multiple fellowship recipients.“It’s extremely gratifying to see our department being honored by our peers,” he said in the press release. “We have made a point of hiring ambitious scholars, encouraging them to do the best work they can and providing an intellectual community that can foster this kind of achievement. We’re poised to take off as a top-notch department, and these awards are harbingers of that potential.”According to the press release, Candido — an associate professor of history who is researching west-central Africa during the trans-Atlantic slave trade — “will study accounts of African women who accumulated wealth during the 19th century.”Ragland — an assistant professor of history who explores the history of science and medicine — will study how experimentation became prominent in science in the 17th century. Ragland said the fellowship will provide the opportunity for him to broaden the scope of his research.“It’s going to give me a chance to bring in new and exciting material I’ve been itching to include,” he said in the press release.Tor — another associate professor of history who focuses in medieval Islamic history — will write about the Seljuq Dynasty that “reshaped Islamic society in the 11th and 12th centuries,” the press release said.Brading will partner with Boston College professor Marius Stan to assess “the parting of the ways between philosophers and physicists during the Enlightenment” for a project they will complete together thanks to their joint fellowship, according to the press release.Tags: ACLS, department of history, department of philosophy, Fellowships
Following an attack in London which left seven dead and at least 48 injured, Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s confirmed the safety of all students and faculty studying or traveling abroad after the incident.Notre Dame International communications director Joya Helmuth said in an email that all Notre Dame students, faculty and staff abroad in the United Kingdom — which includes the London, Oxford and Norwich programs — were confirmed as safe.Associate director of international education Alice Yang said in an email that 17 Saint Mary’s students and two non-Saint Mary’s students on the European summer study abroad program were in London at the time of the attack and have been confirmed safe. According to Yang, no students of the College are currently participating in the London LEB Summer Program.Tags: center for women’s intercultural leadership, European summer study abroad, London LEB summer program
Editor’s note: This is the fifth of a five-part series profiling the valedictorians of Saint Mary’s class of 2018.When asked to describe her experience at Saint Mary’s College in one word, valedictorian and elementary education major Kathleen Price chose “inspiring.”She referenced the Sisters of the Holy Cross, the novices, her fellow students, her professors, the education department and the four other women with whom she shares the title of valedictorian.“To have five of us is unbelievable,” Price said. “Congrats to the other four, and I know they’ve worked extremely hard to get where they’re at. That’s truly a testimony to this college and the endurance of the women here. I truly think it’s unbelievable.”Price said she was not expecting to receive the title since she transferred to the College after two years at East Carolina University, a state school in Greenville, North Carolina. Her first thoughts after hearing the news were revolving around if she wanted to speak at the commencement ceremony or not, she said, and the consequences of choosing to forgo a speech.“I knew if I was the only valedictorian not to speak, my mother was going to murder me, so I sucked it up and said I would talk,” Price said. “It’s an honor to be a valedictorian. I’m very much lie low, under the radar. I didn’t even tell anyone. I knew in February, and I didn’t say anything to anyone for the longest time. I told a close friend and my family of course, but no one knew. … It’s an honor and I’m delighted the College wants to recognize me. I get the honor of speaking, and it’s truly an honor. I just need to get over myself and get up there and talk.”Though Price likes to stray from the spotlight, she said the opportunity is one for which she is grateful. She said she also appreciates the close relationships she’s been able to create during her time on campus, specifically through the Friends With Sisters club.“My nun — I don’t own her, but I call her my nun — Sister Bernadette Mulick, a retired Sister of the Holy Cross,” Price said. “I’m in Friends With Sisters, and she is my partnering Sister. I can’t even go into words with what that woman has done for me. … She just gives me a smile and a hug every time I see her once a week. … [She’s] always supportive. Whenever I’ve gotten any award or anything that I’m recognized for, she’s right there, front and center. She’s there for me which is really touching. … She’s made this time here truly special.”All the close relationships Price has formed at Saint Mary’s as well as the familiar environment the campus promotes are some of the things she’ll remember the most, she said.“It’s truly a different environment here,” she said. “I’ve met so many terrific girls that have, with open arms, embraced me and helped me and have gotten me through so many things while I’ve been here. … I can’t even go into words how awesome my professors have been, especially in the education department. They’ve been saints over there. They go to the ends of the earth for their students. A professor took me to the ER. To have that love and care is just unbelievable.”Most of all, Price said she will always appreciate what Saint Mary’s has helped her learn about herself.“I’ve learned so much about myself and about my faith and how I want to serve in the future,” Price said. “I think it’s helped me a lot in seeing what kind of direction I want to take in my life, which has been amazing. I’ve met some amazing, incredible people, people I never would’ve thought I’d meet in a million years. To sum it up, it’s a blessing.”Tags: 2018 Commencement, class of 2018, saint mary’s valedictorians 2018, smc valedictorian, valedictorian
Around four years ago, then-radio announcer Brad Riter decided to take a chance. As a man with over 20 years of experience in Buffalo sports radio, Riter decided to make a game that people from his hometown in upstate New York would enjoy. The whole point behind the game was to put something together that “would bring back nostalgia” for his hometown, he said. This game, which became “You Gotta Know Buffalo Sports,” involved hundreds of trivia questions about Buffalo sports and was first released for sale in 2014.While designing his first game, Riter was cautiously optimistic that his company would grow to expand into further cities. “I remember while I was working on the first game that I could envision a world in which I was in charge of a staff of writers that could crank out games for people in their own communities,” Riter said. “I had a hunch this would become my life, but you had to have some success before expanding to more markets.”After his first game was successful, Riter’s newly founded company, “You Gotta Know Games,” began to expand its reach. Since then, the company has released 21 additional trivia games, each focusing on a unique city — including South Bend.Early on, expansion was primarily focused on cities with multiple professional sports teams, such as Philadelphia, New York City and Pittsburgh. However, Riter said, as time progressed, the company decided to expand into cities with major college sports teams. “Our first foray into college sports was ‘You Gotta Know Columbus,’” he said. “It was our first attempt to reach outside of a pro city. We were trying to connect with the Ohio State Buckeyes fans. We knew it was going to be a challenge and that it was going to be different. I’m a Buckeyes fan, so it made sense that it would be the first market we would do.”After the release of the trivia game targeting Columbus, Riter decided to expand his company’s markets to include what he saw as the two most feasible audiences — Michigan fans and Notre Dame fans, noting that they were both incredibly passionate fanbases. In particular, Riter described Notre Dame’s national influence as a reason to release “You Gotta Know South Bend Sports.”“There’s not a city in America where you can’t find a core of Notre Dame fans,” Riter said. “There’s a sort of ‘America’s Team’ sense around Notre Dame.”“You Gotta Know South Bend Sports” is available through the company’s website and is available on Amazon Prime for $19.95. Riter noted those who play the game should not feel limited by the rules included on the box, as the intention of the game is to provide fun trivia.“We have a set of rules on the back of the box,” Riter said. “The rules on the back state that you race to 21 — there’s no dice, no board, nothing like that, there’s only the information that’s in the box. People buy the game, don’t read the rules, and start digging into it as if it is a book. Make your own rules — have fun. Ask your questions to your friends. It’s a conversation starter, really. Delve into it, do what you want and bring up what’s already on your hearts and minds. It’s about nostalgia and camaraderie that comes along with being a fan.”Tags: Band of the Fighting Irish, Brad Riter, South Bend sports, sports trivia, You Gotta Know Games, You Gotta Know South Bend Sports
Environmental and climate change experts will share their research at the University’s 2019 Sustainability Seminar Series, sponsored by the Notre Dame Office of Sustainability along with the Kellogg Institute for International Studies and the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies, the University announced in a press release Thursday.The series commenced Feb. 8 with biology professor Jennifer Tank’s presentation titled “The Indiana Watershed Initiative: Fighting for Freshwater Using a Translational Approach.” Tank’s research primarily involves understanding the contributions of small streams in removing nitrogen from the water near farmlands, which would otherwise pollute areas further downstream. Her research was featured as part of the University’s “What Would You Fight For?” series in 2015.Political science and peace studies professor Patrick Regan will lead “Climate Vulnerability: Measurement and Implications for Knowledge” on March 22 in 1050 Jenkins Nanovic Hall. Regan is also the associate director of the Environmental Change Initiative for ND-Gain, a group exploring the effects of climate change through the view of human social behaviors and adaptations. Paul Kempf, senior director of utilities and maintenance at the University will speak at “Notre Dame Goes Greener: An Energy Infrastructure Update” on April 5. The two departments are responsible for all heat and power at the University, as well as the general maintenance of Notre Dame’s campus. The two remaining seminars will both take place from noon to 1 p.m. and are open to the public, the release said. Editor’s Note: A former version of this article misnamed Paul Kempf as Patrick Kempf. Tags: Climate change, climate vulnerability, sustainability, sustainability seminar series
The American Studies department hosted a community gathering via Zoom on Monday to discuss race and the current social climate in America. There were 79 participants, including students, professors, alumni and other community members.The conversation was a reflection of worldwide resurgence of the Black Lives Matter movement in light of the killing of George Floyd as well as countless other victims of police brutality. Attendees also discussed what the Notre Dame community can do now, why voting in November matters and how people can continue to be allies after the news coverage dies down, among other topics.Visiting assistant teaching professor Peter Cajka served as the gathering’s moderator and began the discussion by introducing recent Notre Dame alumni Irla Atanda and Bailey Kendall. Atanda characterized the climate today as the nation “awakening from its colorblind slumber,” and the two held a moment of silence to honor the lives of the innocent who have died. In this moment in history, Kendall said she believes everyone has a role to play in creating a better system. Four guest speakers then offered insight highlighting the structural injustices rampant in American society. Assistant professor of American Studies Korey Garibaldi, a native of Minneapolis, discussed racial injustice in the context of American capitalism and integration.“My hometown now is suddenly popular for all the wrong reasons, for the racial injustice has been happening for over several decades,” Garibaldi said.Garibaldi said considering the way race is and has been seen in America and actively working against racism is important right now.“Challenging the ways we reinscribe race, … we have to look at these strategies seriously because what has manifested after the civil rights movement is why we’re at the moment that we are at now,” Garibaldi said. Theresa Azemar, a rising senior double majoring in American Studies and English, offered some of her personal experiences, discussing race as well as the perspective she has gained from being an active member of Show Some Skin, Notre Dame’s annual student-run production that gives voice to unspoken narratives about identity and difference.“Show Some Skin’s promise of anonymity has empowered so many, brought justice and advocated for change,” Azemar said. Outside of Show Some Skin though, she said she does not see as many people voicing their opinions on the same topics and calling for change. “It’s easiest to be in the audience of the show and watch these conversations unfold, … but it’s also my request that we bring others to do the same,” Azemar said.Incoming American Studies chair and associate professor Jason Ruiz spoke about the misconceptions many students have when they pick up the American Studies major.“When we get students in American Studies, it’s very, very hard for them to let go of those powerful narratives of the United States as a cradle of democracy, as a cradle of egalitarianism and equality,” Ruiz said.Over time though, Ruiz said he sees this mentality start the change.“One of the things I’m really seeing coming out of social media and other facets of demonstrations is people are starting to question every institution to which they belong,” he said. “They’re starting to ask, do the institutions to which I belong, … are they on the side of racial justice?”Associate professor of American studies and director of undergraduate studies Perin Gurel praised the statement and call to action a coalition of Black clubs at the University wrote to the Notre Dame community.“The wonderful, insightful open letter that the Black Student Association put out, that needs to be required reading for everyone associated with Notre Dame, really reminded us of the power of listening,” Gurel said.Tags: black, Black lives matter, george floyd, Racism