SMC students share conference experience

first_imgThree Saint Mary’s students shared the insights they gained from attending an international women’s issues conference this summer at a presentation held at the Student Center on Wednesday. “Global Women’s World Congress: SMC Student Reflections and Experiences” offered Abby Henning, Alayne Riege and Gen Spittler a platform to discuss their experience at the Global Women’s World Congress in Ottawa, Canada, this July. Sonalini Sapra, professor of political science and women’s studies, said the women ventured to Canada to get a closer look at the field of women’s studies and activism in a global context. “I really wanted students to be exposed to global women’s issues,” Sapra said. “Thanks to the Center for Women’s Intercultural Leadership (CWIL), I was able to take the three students with me to experience these issues firsthand. CWIL provided the funding for them to join me at the conference.” The 30th annual conference welcomed 2,000 attendees and 800 presenters from 92 countries, focusing on a variety of women’s issues, including militarism, fundamentalism and neo-liberalism. “The conference did a great job of addressing some of the issues women’s conferences leave off the table normally,” Sapra said. “Issues like inclusivity, the creation of Young Women’s Leadership Teams and panels about aboriginal women’s rights were discussed that are not usually brought up.” Riege, a senior Psychology and Women’s Studies double major, said she was especially intrigued by the discussion of aboriginal women in Canada and the resemblance they bore to Native Americans in the United States. “We participated in a solidarity march in support of the 582 missing and murdered aboriginal women and girls in Canada,” Riege said. “This topic was a focal point of the conference.” Spittler, a junior Nursing and Women’s Studies major, said being in the presence of such influential figures and activists had an immense impact on the students. “In the morning we would go to the main conference and listen to some amazing feminists,” Spittler said. “Listening to some of their experiences was definitely inspiring.” Spittler said the conference highlighted the need for young women to continue the work of the women’s rights movement. “I realized that there are definitely not enough young feminists in the world after attending this conference,” she said.last_img read more

Fighting for inclusion’

first_imgThe Gay & Lesbian Alumni of Notre Dame & St. Mary’s (GALA-ND/SMC) gathered Saturday evening for the presentation of the Thomas A. Dooley Awards, which recognize outstanding work by individuals on behalf of lesbian and gay Americans. The awards dinner was the highlight of a weekend of events which included a GALA-ND/SMC sponsored dance for LGBTQ students and allies, viewing of the film “Love Free or Die” and discussion. The weekend concluded with a morning prayer service at the Grotto yesterday. The awards united many community activists who have worked for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBTQ) inclusion, student body president Alex Coccia said. “A lot of the speakers touched on the roles that so many people in the audience had played in some form or another, fighting for inclusion and equal rights at various levels – whether in South Bend, nationally or internationally,” Coccia said. “It was a blessing to see how many people had been involved … for me it was a cool experience.” GALA-ND/SMC presented four awards Saturday, each for different types of advocacy. The keynote speaker and Thomas A. Dooley Award recipient was retired Bishop Gene Robinson, the first openly gay, partnered bishop to be consecrated in a major Christian denomination. The GALA-ND/SMC website said the award specifically “honors individuals who, through their faith-based background, have demonstrated personal courage, compassion and commitment to advance the human and civil rights of lesbian and gay Americans.” Robinson ministered to the Diocese of New Hampshire in the Episcopal Church. After divorcing his first wife in 1986 and publically coming out as a gay man, Robinson began a formal relationship with his current spouse two years later. Though his controversial election incited much dissension within the Episcopalian Church, Robinson persisted in his efforts advocating LGBTQ inclusion within the Church, especially by calling for the Church to bless same-sex marriages and to willingly anoint well-suited candidates to leadership positions within its hierarchy. Coccia said Robinson’s address highlighted how much LGBTQ advocates have accomplished, while inspiring them to continue fighting for full inclusion in the Episcopalian Church and in American society. “I think what Bishop Robinson highlighted is the necessity of really making the effort to push,” Coccia said. “[He said] that is what the Christian calling is, that is what Jesus did, [Jesus] pushed for social justice, social change. That feeling resonated throughout dinner.” Coccia said Robinson shared a vision of a version of Christianity with the potential to incite great social change. “Bishop Robinson talked about a wide range of things … [including his sense of] Christianity as this radical and prophetic movement … prophetic in terms of foretelling the present and really engaging with people to make social justice changes,” Coccia said. “[Robinson] said the end is God and God is just.” GALA-ND/SMC also celebrated the work of Catherine Pittman with the Lawrence Condren Distinguished Service Award. The weekend’s pamphlet said she was chosen as the award recipient in recognition of her “service as the faculty advisor for SAGA, the Saint Mary’s College Straight and Gay Alliance, and her leadership in South Bend Equality’s successful campaign that amended the South Bend Human Rights Orientation to include sexual orientation and gender identity.” This ordinance was amended March 27, 2012, after five hours and 42 speakers by the South Bend Common Council, according to WNDU. The meeting was the third time in six years that this issue was brought before the council, the article said. John Blandford, Notre Dame class of 1983 and 1999, received the 2013 Distinguished Alumni Award for his “leadership in our community as a found member and co-chair of GALA-ND/SMC in the ’90s, as former chair of GALA (’99-’01), and for his lifelong commitment to HIV/AIDs education, treatment and prevention,” according to the weekend’s pamphlet. Blandford currently serves as chief of the Division of Global HIV/AIDS Health Economics, Systems and Integration Branch in the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s Center for Global Health. Sister Margaret Farley was awarded the Award for Academic Achievement for “her many contributions to the academic fields of theology and ethics, [most notably] her book, ‘Just Love: A Framework for Christian Sexual Ethics,’ which offers contemporary interpretations on sexuality and gender,” according to the weekend’s pamphlet. Each recipient spoke about his or her work to the attendees, but Coccia said the most moving part of the dinner was the final call to action addressed to all present. “Regarding [inclusion at] Notre Dame specifically, I got involved as a matter of principle,” Coccia said. “I had read about the ‘No home under the Dome’ march that took place … that was prompted by a comic and started a lot of discussion but there didn’t seem to be any concrete outcome of that discussion. Coming to Notre Dame, it seemed hypocritical that a Catholic institution with such a rich tradition of civil rights [and the status as] the place where the Church does its thinking wouldn’t be a the forefront of the [LGBTQ inclusion] movement. “The fact that there are people who don’t feel welcome on campus, and the fact that there are people who have such harrowing stories of experiences on campus made it a lot more personal for me.” The dinner helped to unite and solidify the relationships between the Notre Dame community’s LGBTQ advocates, Coccia said. “You always have to have, in any sort of social movement or any sort of push that is driven by a lot of emotion and personal experience, you really have to have moments of solidarity,” Coccia said. “For me the dinner was one … it puts a lot of things in perspective and makes it easier not going it alone. “It ended with a call to action … Bishop Robinson touched on how the role of a Christian, in many ways, is agitation for justice [because] Justice is God. In that push for justice, that’s where you find God.”last_img read more

SMC extends Earth Day celebration all week

first_imgThe Saint Mary’s community will celebrate Earth Day with a week of activities hosted by the College’s Environmental Action Coalition.Students will have the chance to assist in the Saint Mary’s Community Garden, located on the south side of Havican Hall on Wednesday evening, senior Coalition president Colette Curtis said.“We are encouraging members of the SMC community to be more involved to see the many benefits that come with having a community garden,[including] the importance of growing your own food and knowing where your food is from,” Curtis said.On Thursday, the average lunch waste per person will be measured during “Weigh Your Waste” in Noble Family dining hall, Curtis said.“During this lunch period, we separate all the ‘edibles’ from the ‘nonedibles’ on the trays,” Curtis said. “We weigh all the edibles.”Members of the Coalition will teach students how to reuse old t-shirts through a recyclable craft event Friday, and the week will celebrate locally grown food with a meal made of such ingredients Saturday, Curtis said.“I believe it is important to know your farmer, share meals with friends and community members and learn how to cook wholesome, healthy food,” Curtis said.Other activities include a nature walk Sunday and the showing of a film titled “Chasing Ice” on Monday, Curtis said.“The Environmental Action Coalition is a group dedicated to bringing environmental consciousness to the Saint Mary’s community,” Curtis said. “We host events and activities to promote the healthy treatment of our Earth.”After the week’s events, Curtis said she hopes students will become more aware of their impact on the environment.“I don’t expect students to change their whole way of living after attending one activity,” Curtis said. ”However, I hope they recognize the impact they have on our Earth and what they can do to live in harmony with all the natural things of our planet.”For more information on Earth Week events or to RSVP for Saturday’s dinner, contact Colette Curtis at [email protected]: colette curtis, Earth Day, earth week, environmental action coalition, weigh your wastelast_img read more

Professor explores ethics of non-violence

first_imgAddressing a standing-room-only audience, Judith Butler, professor of comparative literature at University of California at Berkeley, gave a lecture titled “The Ethics and Politics of Non-Violence” on Thursday night at McKenna Hall Conference Center as part of the annual Yusko Ward-Phillips Lecture series.Butler said it is not only difficult to define non-violence with certainty, but the principle of non-violence, once established, can also be easily misconstrued.“A principled view on non-violence can sometimes be interpreted as violence. And when that happens those who make that interpretation consider it to be the right one, and those whose actions are being interpreted as violence consider it to be very wrong,” Butler said.“Even if non-violence seems like a solitary act, it is mediated socially and depends on the recognition of conventions governing non-violent modes of conduct.”Butler said these principles of non-violence are often subverted by opposing social structures. In particular, the police response to the 2011 student protests at University of California at Berkeley, during which unarmed students were allegedly beaten, demonstrated a challenge to the established protocol of non-violence.“What happens increasingly often is a deliberate policy meant to suspend or nullify recognition of the conventions of civil disobedience. … This opens the way to construe non-violence as violence.”Butler said the traditional conception of self-defense when discussing non-violence is an important one to consider, as it submits that killing for the safety of loved ones is justifiable. This exception to the principle against killing, however, eventually leads to ethical conflict.“The exception to the rule is important, perhaps more important than the rule itself. If there are exceptions to the prohibition on killing, and if there always such exceptions, this assumes that the prohibition on killing is less than absolute,” Butler said.Though people usually accept killing in defense of loved ones, they are not as willing to kill in defense of those with whom they have no relations, she said.“A dubious distinction emerges between those who are close to one in the name of whose protection one may commit violence, and those in the name of whose defense one may not kill,” Butler said.“You’ve started with a pacifist who makes a couple of distinctions, but now we see that the logic according to which those exceptions are made is on a continuum with a certain war logic.”“The distinction between populations that are worth violently defending and those that are not implies that some lives are simply more valuable than others.”To solve this ethical dilemma, Butler said it is important to uphold the equality of all lives, no matter how different.“I’m suggesting that a thoroughly egalitarian approach to the preservation of life … that subscribes to a notion of rational democracy that is usually left out of the ethical considerations of how best to practice non-violence,” Butler said.Butler said there is much opposition against this inclusive form of non-violence, and as such, supporters of this policy should expect criticism.“Such allegations are meant to paralyze the speaker, distort the position against war and violence. … When that happens, the critique of war is actually misconstrued as a battle-cry,” she said.Despite this conflict, Butler said it is important to seek out like-minded groups willing to uphold this principle of non-violence.“It’s important to hope, but to embody the hope in action, to link arms and minds to form that overwhelming solidarity,” Butler said.Tags: ethics, Ethics of non-violence, Judith Butler, warlast_img read more

Student government election tickets gather for final debate

first_imgThe two remaining teams vying for victory in the student body elections — juniors Rachel Ingal and Sarah Galbenski, and junior Noble Patidar and freshman Connor Patrick — met for the run-off debate in Duncan Student Center on Tuesday night. This was the final chance for the student body to hear from the candidates before Wednesday’s election. Chelsey Boyle | The student body presidential ticket consisting of juniors Rachel Ingal and Sarah Galbenski, center right and right respectively, debate against the ticket composed of junior Noble Patidar, center left, and freshman Connor Patrick, left. The final debate of the election cycle was held Tuesday night before voting on Wednesday.In the debate, candidates spoke to their positions on a wide array of issues important to the study, including Notre Dame’s relationship with the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi; bridging the gap between the Notre Dame’s Catholic identity and the LGBTQ+ community; addressing issues of accessibility and disability awareness; improving University Counseling Center (UCC) services; fighting mental health stigma on campus; addressing academic gaps between students; combating sexual assault; and negotiating changes to the off-campus differentiation policy.Patidar and Patrick said their main goal is to prioritize the well-being and safety of Notre Dame students. Patidar said his team plans to accomplish this by expanding resources for sexual assault prevention, mental health support and disability awareness. The ticket also aims to improve sustainability and increase diversity-related clubs and events.Ingal and Galbenski said their platform focuses on amplifying student voices. Similar to the Patidar-Patrick ticket, the Ingal-Galbenski ticket said they will prioritize promoting inclusion on campus. Ingal said though their platform is ambitious, the team also aims keep their ideas pragmatic. Increased access to resources for mental health and sexual assault prevention and intervention was also a point of priority for the Ingal-Galbenski ticket.Both tickets said they plan to take action to change the senior exclusion policy.The first issue debated was student education on the history of Notre Dame’s founding on Pokagon Band of Potawatomi land. Candidates were asked how they would help foster a positive relationship between the University and the local Potawatomi community.Both candidates said they have reached out to Native American Student Alliance of Notre Dame to ensure their platforms recognize obstacles Native American students face on campus.Patidar said he has a sophomore Native American student on his team that helps address these issues at policy meetings. Patrick said the Moreau First Year Experience and other academic programs should incorporate more lessons on Native American historical and cultural connections to Notre Dame. Ingal said she believes the most foundational step moving forward would be to have an acknowledgment in official University documentation of the original and true ownership of the land by the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi. Both tickets said they would advocate for the creation of a Native American Studies minor.On the issue of bridging Catholic teachings and LGBTQ+ community, Galbenski said their team will focus on partnering with the Gender Relations Center and push for changing the University’s nondiscrimination clause to include sexual orientation and gender identity — a platform point the Patidar-Patrick ticket said they also share. Both candidates said club funding is crucial for empowering groups like PRISM on campus.“Everyone on this campus deserves to feel welcome, no matter what their background is,” Patrick said.When it comes to promoting accessibility on campus, Ingal said having conversations with students with disabilities is paramount. Both tickets said invisible disabilities also needed to be recognized and supported with funding.All candidates also agreed mental health resources available on campus need more publicity, and these resources should be more immediately available. Each team said they hoped to push for extended UCC hours, for example.“The more immediate resources students have, the more we can normalize the conversation and destigmatize the issues surrounding mental health,” Ingal said.To address the academic gap between students who come from underfunded high schools and students who come from privileged high schools, Galbenski said she stood in solidarity with DACA students to have their voices heard on campus and protect their status as members of the Notre Dame community. Patidar said his connections to the Reilly Spring Visit Program have allowed him to see Notre Dame’s efforts to bring in more students of low socioeconomic status.The vice presidential candidates outlined how they would use the student senate to be a greater force for change.“We believe that a student union should present a united front, not fragmentation,” Galbenski said. “If elected, we would create a platform where members of the senate and members of the executive cabinet could communicate and bounce ideas off of one another.”Patrick said senators should be available to their constituents.“Being present is a key pillar of our platform and having the student body vice president and all the senators be present in their communities is extremely important for people to be able to talk to them,” he said.Both Galbenski and Patrick said there needed to be an increased awareness of the senate’s work.On reducing sexual violence, Patidar said his team wants to bring on a permanent Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner to campus and offer self-defense classes at no charge.“Sexual assault is probably the most important piece on all the remaining platforms,” he said.Ingal said she wants to implement technology to assist sexual assault reporting and include more women in Campus Ministry confidentiality programs.Tags: Ingal-Galbenski, Patidar-Patrick, Student Government 2020last_img read more

‘They need to be uncomfortable’: Students throughout the country share their experiences advocating for Black Lives Matter

first_imgYoung people around the world have taken this moment to use their voices and speak out against racial injustice. The Observer spoke to students from across the nation to see how some of the tri-campus is using this moment to advocate for the Black community. While some are protesting, others have found different forms of activism to support the Black Lives Matter movement. Why are they protesting? What have they experienced? What does this mean to them and their peers? Through these snapshots, we hope to paint a picture of what parts of America look like today.Plainfield, Illinois“‘Well, what are you going to do about it?’”Courtesy of Faith Harris Faith Harris, a senior, organized a protest in her hometown in Illinois. She said everything began for her when she watched the video of George Floyd being killed. “It was actually one of the first police brutality videos that I’ve watched. I normally just cannot watch them just for my own sanity and for my own mental health, but it was like 3 a.m. and I saw it circulating on Twitter, so I decided to click on it,” Harris said. “And of course, just like everyone else I was outraged. I ran into my sister’s room and I was crying. And you know, I told her that killed another man. And she was the first thing that she actually said to me was, ‘Well, what are you going to do about it?’”Harris, who is president of the Black Cultural Arts club at Notre Dame, initially organized the protest for her friends and family to partake in. “Originally, it was just for, you know, me, my family, my close friends,” Harris said. “I was like, I want to go out and stand out there, ‘Do you guys want to come with me?’ And they said yes, so I put it on my Instagram. And it actually got more traction than I thought it would. People were messaging me, ‘Can we come? Can we come? What can we bring?’ And I was like, I think this might be bigger than we think it’s going to be.”Harris and her friends and family then started prepping for a slightly larger protest than originally planned. “We decided to do all of our research. We printed out Know Your Rights sheets for people who are coming, just in case the police stopped by,” she said. “We brought water, we made posters and extra posters for people. We had about 140 people come, which is way more than we thought. And it was just a peaceful protest. I really emphasized that I wanted it to be peaceful. Because you know, things escalate so quickly, and I didn’t want anyone to get hurt.”Harris said Notre Dame’s response to the death of George Floyd and protests was “disrespectful.” University President Fr. John Jenkins initially released a two-sentence statement about the death of George Floyd, with the famed photo of President Emeritus Fr. Hesbrugh protesting with Martin Luther King Jr. Days later, he released a longer statement.“I think that it’s really, really just kind of disrespectful that … the President of our University has to kind of be bullied into making a longer statement or just saying more than he actually has done. And I think that’s disrespectful to your Black population,” Harris said. “I think that having your students come together and do more than you do is kind of just, you know, it’s just not acceptable. Notre Dame has had a history of racism. Students face it every day. I know people personally, and close to me who faced it.”Students in the coming years will be more inclined to make changes to the University’s culture, Harris said. “My sister went to the University, and graduated in 2014,” Harris said. “She always apologizes to me, and tells me ‘You know, I never wanted you to go through what I had to go through’ … I think that our students this year or even in the coming years are going to be making big changes, and I think that the University needs to prepare for that.”Houston, Texas“It’s important to show not just other white people, like ‘Hey, look, you should care about this,’ but to show your Black and minority friends, ‘Your life is important to me.’”Courtesy of Emma Shea Emma Shea attended a protest in her hometown of Houston on June 2. The protest, by most accounts, had upwards of 60,000 people in attendance — including George Floyd’s family. Floyd, whose death at the hands of a police officer on May 25 sparked the outage and protests that have spread across the country in the last few weeks, grew up in Houston. “I think that the Black Lives Matter Houston chapter really wanted to lift up George Floyd and George Floyd’s family to show them that, maybe he was in Minneapolis when he died … but to show the members of his family his roots here are not forgotten, and he was important to the people here. Even to people who never knew him he is very important,” Shea said. “So I think his life and legacy were very much emphasized both in the actual marching of the protest and the chants that were initiated, but then also in the speeches that were given.”Shea, a senior at Notre Dame, has been outspoken on social media about her beliefs concerning the Black Lives Matter movement. She advocates for white people, like herself, to act as allies for the Black community. Shea said Floyd’s death and the aftermath has been a “pivotal moment” for her.  “I had somewhat seen videos or pictures or things before, but then sort of all of a sudden there was this wave of sort of constant exposure. … I think that’s been a huge eye opener for a lot of people, including myself, and then just realizing how widespread it really is,” she said. “For me, after that, that’s when I really started donating to places.”Shea said she believes as a white person it is important to show solidarity for the Black Lives Matter movement, and other minority groups.“I think that’s something that’s really valuable for white people to do,” she said. “If you have this awareness now, and if you feel like you can’t be silent about this issue because of how pervasive it is, and how widespread and how just so clearly unjust it is, then you have access to these circles, where people aren’t exposed to that because it doesn’t directly affect them, because they do benefit from the systems of injustice, and historical systemic oppression.”She said the impact of spreading awareness of the injustices facing the Black community cannot be overestimated and being an ally to the Black community is important for many reasons.“I think it’s important to show not just other white people, like ‘Hey, look, you should care about this,’ but to show your Black and minority friends, ‘Your life is important to me’ and ‘Your struggle is important to me.’ And I know that there are things I can do, at the end of the day it’s support to show that you’ll put your neck out there.”New Jersey and New York City, New York“It was very powerful for me to see a lot of people who were passionate about the same things that I was.”Courtesy of Lamont Marino Lamont Marino, a junior at Notre Dame, said he has attended four protests at the time of his interview with the Observer — two in New York City and two in New Jersey. “Going to the protest, you felt the passion that everybody had towards trying to get some justice done. For me, it was something I hadn’t really done too much of in terms of activism,” Marino, who is half African-American, said. “Because I’ve read, and I know about history, and I’ve seen racism around me, but you know, there was no real chance for me to be an activist at the time. And so it was very powerful for me to see a lot of people who were passionate about the same things that I was.”Marino said he noticed differences in the way police received them in the different areas he protested in.“In New York, they … had on riot gear and they didn’t seem too enthusiastic about it, even though it was pretty peaceful the whole time,” he said. “I was in the Newark one where the police officers decided to walk with us. That was a very telling experience.”He said at a protest in Brooklyn he attended, police officers picked people out of the protest and began to get violent with protesters.“When we got there, they just started picking people out of the protest and throwing them on the ground and started beating them up,” Marino said. “So once they did that, some protesters definitely got really upset and started confronting them and it just snowballed from there. The NYPD has had its backlash lately, and I’ve been a victim to that when I was younger, so I wasn’t really surprised, but I think that this kind of just shone a light on it.”Flossmoor, Illinois“For the Black community, there are two pandemics right now: the COVID-19 pandemic and racism.” Kennedi Sidberry, a Flossmoor, Ill. native, said she felt helpless after the news of George Floyd’s death. “I called the University Counseling Center, and I was basically like, ‘I’m sure I’m not the only student who was feeling a little hopeless at this time, what resources do you have to offer?’ I was really disappointed to find out that there really wasn’t anything available,” Sidberry said. “They had different services for coping with the pandemic, but there weren’t really any racial violence coping mechanisms, I guess there any resources for that. So that was the start.”Sidberry, a junior, said she eventually got in contact with Jamie Garvey, an on-staff psychologist. “I spoke with her and she was really kind. She was really understanding, and she was grateful that I was bringing the issue to her attention. Honestly, within maybe two days, I saw so much feedback,” Sidberry said. “She would email me back and say, ‘Okay, so we just had a staff meeting about your issues, about your concerns, and they whipped out a workshop within a week over Zoom where students could come and just process their emotions and reactions to the violence in the media.”Sidberry said the Black community at Notre Dame needed their own specific mental health resources.“For the Black community, there are two pandemics right now: the COVID-19 pandemic and racism. And this is nothing new,” Sidberry said. “We basically just felt like [Jenkins’s] response on behalf of the school was just kind of a slap in the face. It wasn’t very genuine. So basically through talking with Jamie, I was saying ‘Is the UCC going to put out a statement, a list of resources, or something?’ Especially for students returning to campus where we’re supposed to have [President] Trump come to campus in this fall for the debate, and students always have to deal with the culture shock of coming to school and not seeing other people who look like them and just microaggressions add up.’”Sidberry decided to work with the UCC to create a Black mental health resource sheet. To make the list of resources, Garvey sent Sidberry suggestions, and she shared them to all of her social media accounts. Additionally, the UCC created a webpage with similar information for students of color.  Sidberry also runs an Instagram and GroupMe account for students of color at Notre Dame called @notredamenaturals, to showcase students of color and their natural hair. “With the Notre Dame naturals account, that started before the George Floyd incident even occurred,” Sidberry said. “That was supposed to be a platform to celebrate Black beauty … just to kind of create community, and I feel like in the in light of everything going on it’s even more necessary, because when everything in the media is telling you that you’re less than,  having that space to just look at how beautiful our community really is is really important.” Indianapolis, Indiana“I’m a lot more driven to be the change that I want to see.” Courtesy of Max Siegel Max Siegel, a junior at Notre Dame, has a unique perspective as an offensive lineman for the Irish. He was asked to share his opinion about the protests and turmoil happening in the world as part of Notre Dame Football’s “Signed, the Irish” series. Originally from the Indianapolis area, Siegel said he attended a protest his friends helped organize downtown, but said he was initially very “disheartened.” “It was really hard to really articulate what I wanted to say, and kind of just express how I felt,” Siegel said. “But after a couple of days, and just reaching out some of my friends and some of my other friends that are activists here in Indiana, Indianapolis, it really re-energized me. So now I’m a lot more hopeful. I’m a lot more driven to be the change that I want to see.” At the time of his interview with the Observer, Siegel had been to three protests in his area. At the start of protests, the 7 p.m. curfew in his area contributed to some violence, Siegel said.“The way it worked before last week was that essentially the police can use whatever force needed past 7 p.m., which was the curfew,” he said. “So the closer you got towards that 7 p.m. marker, the more tense it got. … Now it’s been getting better, less tense. The first couple of weeks there were a lot of violent protests at night. But now, you don’t really hear about as many of them anymore. It’s just been peaceful protests.”Siegel said he was disappointed in the original statement the University put out, and in some of the details they included in the following statements. “I think that so to say that I was disappointed in the original one would be an understatement. I think the second statement was better. But I was also very disappointed to see that police brutality was not mentioned by name, and also the portion about racism hurting everybody also rubbed me the wrong way,” Siegel said. “I wrote this in my piece, but racism that hurts someone in your community hurts everybody. But it felt like at the time, that wasn’t the time or the place to put in that racism hurts everybody, when you see these are acts of violence towards Black people.”New Orleans, Louisiana“Students often will claim that there’s this wonderful Notre Dame family, but there’s so many Black students that can’t say the same…” Courtesy of Erica Browne Junior Erica Browne helps with voter registration at a protest put on by the Oklahoma City chapter of Black Lives Matter.After attending a number of protests in Oklahoma City, Okla., junior Erica Browne said she was interested in doing more to lend support to the movement and enact legislative change. So she, and four other young women, have been planning their own protest.Browne got in contact with the other lead organizers for the protest through social media and has meet with them over Zoom to consider logistics, like getting permitted and finding volunteers to be medics and hand out supplies. “Though we aren’t directly affiliated with Black Lives Matter, we are working with some of their organizers, and they’re giving us tips and helping us out,” Browne said. “By attending protests led by Young Democrats of Oklahoma or any other organization like that, we’ve not only showed support and fought for Black lives at the protests, we also learned so much from all of all of them.”She said her experiences taking two Center for Social Concerns seminars, “Organizing, Power and Hope” and “Act Justly,” in the past year encouraged her to get involved and provided her with some background knowledge to take into consideration while organizing.So far, Browne said they have almost a thousand people who are planning on attending their protest according to their Facebook group.“We’re really passionate about seeing this through and passionate about creating change and holding our elected officials accountable and figuring out ways to make our protests more than a protest,” Browne said.While Browne strongly believes in the importance of protesting, she said she thinks protests are just the beginning, and sharing petition links and ways people can be involved in their next city council meetings is also critical.“When it comes to our elected officials it’s really easy to accept small wins to say that this means we’re moving in the right direction,” Browne said. “But we really need to keep putting constant pressure for this to actually be realized and for things to actually change. We don’t have time or the capacity to keep accepting mediocre changes or soft changes.”Having seen other videos of Black people’s violent interactions with the police, Browne said she could not bring herself to watch the killing of George Floyd.“As a Black person in America, it’s so easy to see myself in every single one of these victims,” Browne said.This sentiment is in part what drives Browne to continue fighting for change.“We need fast and immediate action, because there’s nothing right now, at least in my city, stopping what happened to so many people from happening to me, from happening to my mother, my siblings, my other parents,” Browne said.The Observer will be updating this story as more students’ experiences are shared. Email the authors at [email protected] or [email protected] to tell us your story.Tags: activism, Black lives matter, george floyd, Protests Courtesy of Blake Johnson Senior Blake Johnson attends a protest in St. Louis, Missouri to fight for Black lives.Living in St. Louis, Missouri, only 15 minutes away from Ferguson, senior Blake Johnson said outrage regarding police brutality is not something novel for people in his community. “Watching [Floyd’s] video is very reminiscent of this feeling that happened after Michael Brown’s death,” Johnson said. “It kind of revamped a lot of those feelings of anger that came from an unjust, killing of an unarmed Black person. I think it was a lot of novel anger, but also a lot of rejuvenated renewed anger, from before.”Taking to the streets, over the past few weeks Johnson has attended protests in Jefferson City and St. Louis to ask the state government for police reform and for defunding the police department. “I want legislators and people in power to know that our voices are heard and that we’re here and we’re not going away until we see some major changes happen,” Johnson said.While many people in his community have protested before, Johnson said he is particularly struck by the widespread support the Black community has received.“In Jefferson City I think it was around 1,000 people and in St. Louis a few thousand came out to the protest,” Johnson said. “People of all ages and colors came out in solidarity to protest, and I thought that was a beautiful thing.”In addition to attending protests, Johnson said he has been reading articles, educating himself and discussing issues surrounding racial inequality with his friends.“I was Black from the moment I was born, but this discussion surrounding racial justice is pretty novel to a lot of people, especially privileged people at Notre Dame,” Johnson said. “I kind of took it upon myself to call out my peers and even my close friends that weren’t paying attention to what’s going on and weren’t having discussions amongst themselves and their family members because I think at this time with this great momentum everyone has to play a part if any change is going to happen.”While Johnson said he knows toppling systematic racism will take a long time, he thinks legislation to reform the system is a good start.“I think to not be hopeful is not really helping the cause,” Johnson said. “I think in order to continue protesting, in order to continue educating yourself, in order to continue striving for change, you have to be hopeful of a better future, so I do have hope for this country.”Johnson hopes the momentum continues in order to enact lasting changes, and he encourages students at Notre Dame to continue having conversations, educating themselves and protesting even when it is inconvenient.  “There are millions of your fellow Americans that are living every day in a racially adjusted country,” Johnson said. “Black people deserve your attention, and they deserve the country to continue striving for a better future.”Moraga, Oakland and Orinda, California“Even as people are protesting police brutality, the police have responded with brutality.” Courtesy of Jeff Musema Notre Dame community members gather at the Grotto in the Prayer for Unity, Walk for Justice event on June 1.Senior Jeff Musema said he’s not surprised the protests have gone on for so long.In many ways the Black community has reached a breaking point, and this time, Musema said, Black voices have had the chance to speak up while benefiting from the support of a large number of members within their community and allies outside of it.“I think that the quality of one’s life is a product of the quality of the consistent emotions one feels, and the Black community within Notre Dame and the nation as a whole has felt like they’ve been misunderstood and misrepresented and unheard,” Musema said. “So it’s not surprising that [the protests] have gone on for so long.”A resident of Granger, Ind., Musema attended a protest in South Bend and the “Prayer for Unity, Walk for Justice” event organized by the University, both of which attracted hundreds of people. While he appreciated the prayer service, Musema said he wished more Black and African American leaders in the student body were involved in the planning of the event.As the president of Wabruda, a student group that promotes brotherhood among Black men on campus, Musema hopes to collaborate with the administration to work towards solutions, and he urges the Black student body to stay focused.“To the members of the Black and African American student body, we’re all in this together and it’s okay to feel drained or frustrated or fatigued about what’s going on,” Musema said. “It’s okay to take a break, collect your thoughts and really question the changes that you’d like to see not only for yourself but for members of the community who will be coming to Notre Dame.”Bentonville, Arkansas“For me, it’s just really telling if you’re silent.”  As the president of Shades of Ebony and the director of diversity and inclusion for student government, senior Kaya Lawrence felt the need to respond immediately when she heard about George Floyd’s death.Early on, Lawrence met with the executive board, representatives from Diversity Council and members of her own department to craft a statement from student government.“We really wanted to make sure we had different voices represented, and that it wasn’t just student government speaking on behalf of students of color,” Lawrence, who is currently living in New Orleans, La., said.In preparation for the fall semester, Lawrence said student government is working on a number of policies to improve race relations on campus. In addition to helping write the student government statement, she assisted in writing a call to action from a coalition of Black clubs on campus on behalf of the members of the Black Notre Dame community.Both statements prompted vice president of student affairs Erin Hoffmann Harding to schedule meetings with a number of groups on campus, Lawrence said, but she’s skeptical that significant changes will be enacted.“I think many times in the past the administration has had meetings with these different groups about the problems on campus but has failed to actually create a transformation on campus,” Lawrence said.As Notre Dame is a predominately white institution, Lawrence said she thinks many of the Black students on campus go through a lot of silent pain, where white students often fail to speak up when Black students are targeted. To improve the campus environment, Lawrence urges the student body to hold themselves accountable and speak up.“Students often will claim that there’s this wonderful Notre Dame family, but there’s so many Black students that can’t say the same or who don’t feel comfortable or who don’t feel at home when they come back to campus,” Lawrence said.South Bend and Notre Dame, Indiana “To the members of the Black and African American student body, we’re all in this together and it’s okay to feel drained or frustrated or fatigued about what’s going on.” Courtesy of Brendan McFeely Police line up in riot gear prepared to subdue protesters in Oakland, California.Sophomore Brendan McFeely said his experiences protesting have been very different depending on where he’s gone. Residing in Orinda, Calif., McFeely said he attended a protest in downtown Oakland as well as a few events in the suburbs. The protest McFeely and his friends joined in Oakland near the police department attracted thousands and later turned violent after curfew.“It was kind of terrifying because across the street the riot police were preparing for that night even though curfew didn’t happen for two more hours,” McFeely said. “Then at some point they started getting out their twist ties so that they could handcuff people.”In Moraga, Calif., organizers held an event at a local park where hundreds of people attended to hear from people of color in the community, McFeely said, and at his own high school, he participated in a phone bank event to call legislators. McFeely said he’s also seen a number of small demonstrations of people standing on corners with signs in his small town, and he’s surprised by how widespread the protests have been, despite some turning violent.“Even as people are protesting police brutality, the police have responded with brutality,” McFeely said. “I think it’s been frustrating, but I think it’s also been really inspiring to see the reaction this time as opposed to the other times where there have been some protests, but it seems like there hasn’t been nearly as much traction,” McFeely said.McFeely said he feels strongly about serving as an ally in this movement and doing what he can to support Black lives.“I think for me, it was just that I felt I would be betraying people I know and love if I didn’t because I’ve grown up with so much privilege that I felt like it would be wrong for me to not use it for good,” McFeely said. “And as a white boy, you know it’s less likely that police are going to brutalize me, so if I can put my body between myself and people who are more likely to get hurt by people who are supposed to protect them that’s something I’m willing to do.”Oklahoma City, Oklahoma“As a Black person in America, it’s so easy to see myself in every single one of these victims.” Courtesy of Lan Anh Dinh Senior Lan Anh Dinh carried a sign with a quote from political activist and writer, Angela Y. Davis, to a protest in Bentonville, Arkansas.As an international student from Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, senior Lan Anh Dinh said she was nervous at first to attend a demonstration because protesters in Vietnam are often subjected to harsh treatment and violence.Dinh still wanted to do her part to support Black lives though, and despite her apprehension, she attended a demonstration in Bentonville, Ark., which neighbors Springdale, Ark., where she currently lives.“The protests happened around this Confederate statue right opposite the first-ever Walmart, and I thought that was just so powerful,” Dinh said.While the protest Dinh attended remained peaceful, protests in Bentonville, Ark. have escalated since then with police officers deploying tear gas and ordering protesters to leave.As an ally to the Black Lives Matter movement, Dinh said she’s mainly looking to listen, amplify her friends’ voices and lend physical and organizational help.“The first step in being an ally is really just alerting myself to all of the prejudice that I didn’t realize was there,” Dinh said.Dinh said she’s been spending time educating herself further on issues surrounding racial inequality in the U.S., and she encourages other Notre Dame students to do the same.“I guess I just want people to care more,” Dinh said. “If they’re not going to do something I want them to join in on the conversation even if it is uncomfortable because they need to be uncomfortable. For me, it’s just really telling if you’re silent.”St. Louis and Jefferson City, Missouri“I was Black from the moment I was born, but this discussion surrounding racial justice is pretty novel to a lot of people, especially privileged people at Notre Dame.”last_img read more

Nine New COVID-19 Cases Reported Today In Chautauqua County

first_imgShare:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window),We need to do a better job of tracing, and making sure businesses are doing the sanitizing and making sure employees are safe and distancing. Some are afraid for jobs if they speak up. We need to do a better job of monitoring businesses and ones that have had close contacts with infected persons. This is someones life and job.,More information would be nice. Are people getting the virus at work? Or are they traveling to Buffalo or somewhere else? Or are they attending parties? Did they wear masks when they went out or were they the rebels we all see in the grocery stores who will not put a mask on? If we knew more about where they went and what they did–and what they didn’t do–maybe we would better know what we should do. Maybe it wouldn’t be so scary to see the numbers if we had confidence that we can avoid the virus if we are careful. MGN ImageJAMESTOWN – Nine new cases of COVID-19 were reported in Chautauqua County on Tuesday, bringing the total number of cases to 188 with 43 active.The Chautauqua County Health Department says the new cases involve two people under the age of 18, two men and a woman in their 20s, a man in his 30s, a woman in her 40s, a woman in her 50s, and a man in his 60s.Additionally, officials reported 609 people are now under quarantine or isolation orders by the Public Health Director, that number up from 511 on Monday. They say the 600 plus are not confirmed to have the virus, however, they are being monitored for symptoms, show symptoms, are awaiting test results, or have risk factors.Officials say since the outbreak began 138 people have recovered from COVID-19, with seven deaths reported and more than 18,000 tests returning negative for the virus. last_img read more

Department Of Health “SWAT” Team To Conduct COVID-19 Testing In Dunkirk

first_imgPhoto: Matt Hecht / U.S. Air National GuardDUNKIRK – New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo says a Health Department “SWAT” team will be deployed to Dunkirk to assist in containing a COVID-19 outbreak at a local business.During his Thursday conference call with reporters, Cuomo said the COVID-19 positivity rate in the region has been one of the highest throughout the state, fluctuating between 1% and 1.8% for the past week.Because of the continued increased positive rate, he is sending what he calls a Department of Health “SWAT” team to set up eight testing sites around the region, with one in Dunkirk.The sites will use Abbott testing machines which the governor says provides same-day results. On Monday, Chautauqua County officials announced a Coronavirus outbreak Fieldbrook Farms in Dunkirk, with dozens of positive tests tracing back to workers at the plant. Share:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Weekend Poll Top Three: Fans Want JT to Wear Fiyero’s Pants

first_img View Comments 1. Justin Timberlake—25% He’s a marquee name with movie cred, so it’s no shock that a quarter of you think Timberlake should rock those tight white pants. Yeah, JT could certainly bring sexy back to Shiz. And maybe he’d even get SNL to feel a little Wicked. We hear you, we hear you. You really want a bona fide Broadway boy to play Fiyero if and/or when there’s ever a big-screen adaptation of musical blockbuster Wicked. Nevertheless, we polled you about which pop star you think should play the Winkie Prince, and you humored us with your votes. Now it’s time to take a look at the results. 3. Harry Styles—10% He’s young. He’s cute. He knows all about popular…and we have a feeling he knows what it’s like to juggle a couple of gorgeous witches. Of course, he may be well into his 40s by the time a Wicked movie materializes. Oh, well. Sigh!   2. Nick Jonas—22%   Your second place choice is the most Broadway option on the list. Jonas has stage credits on the Great White Way, a huge fan following and the ability to hld his own against any green girl. This is a no brainer. last_img read more

Odds & Ends: Hollywood Awards Kristin, Bergman’s Stage Adaptation & More!

first_img View Comments Kristin Chenoweth Inducted Into the Hollywood Bowl Hall of Fame Kristin Chenoweth will be inducted into the Hollywood Bowl Hall of Fame at this year’s Opening Night at the Hollywood Bowl on June 21. The Tony winner will be the 43rd recipient of the award, joining other luminaries such as Frank Sinatra, Plácido Domingo, Liza Minnelli, John Williams, Garth Brooks, Stevie Wonder and Josh Groban. West End Cast for The Good People Announced The full cast has been announced for the previously reported West End transfer of David Lindsay-Abaire’s The Good People. Lorraine Ashbourne, Matthew Barker, Susan Brown and Angel Coulby will join Imelda Staunton and Lloyd Owen at the Noel Coward Theatre. Directed by Jonathan Kent, the play will begin previews April 10 with opening night set for April 15. Ingmar Bergman’s Scenes From a Marriage to Get Stage Adaptation New York Theatre Workshop has announced that its 2014/15 season will feature the U.S. premiere of Ingmar Bergman’s Scenes from a Marriage, adapted by Emily Mann and directed by Ivo van Hove. Other productions to appear include the New York premiere of The Invisible Hand, written by Ayad Akhtar and directed by Ken Rus Schmoll, and the New York premiere of Forever, written and performed by Dael Orlandersmith and directed by Neel Keller. Here’s a quick roundup of stories you may have missed today. Star Files Kristin Chenowethlast_img read more