Njeri Williams and Taylor Branch
As we enter into the Fall season witnessing the changing landscape, I cannot stop thinking about the fruitful conversations that I have had with first year students regarding the impact of diversity and creating a healthy, welcoming community this month. It is apropos since they are beginning to explore various aspects of their identity and evolve into adulthood. This is a critical time to determine the stances that they will take regarding social justice, politics and other issues. It is imperative that one realizes that intersections of our personal being and these issues are inevitable. How we conduct ourselves when interacting with our peers and those beyond Notre Dame is integral. Often we give freely in our volunteer efforts to those deemed disenfranchised, but are not receptive to our peers. I challenge myself and others to remember we all have gifts and talents that we are willing to share if given the opportunity in genuine conversations. Let’s maintain open hearts, minds and spirits.
September was filled with lectures included in the Africana World series. Pulitzer Prize winning author Taylor Branch spent October 1 giving a keynote address at a community luncheon at the Charles Martin Youth Center and discussing journalism with Notre Dame Communication students and professionals. His day concluded with his “Myth & Miracles From the King Years” lecture in the Eck Hall of Law. He shared his motivation to become involved in writing about the Civil Rights Movement and its’ pivotal moments. Many of his stories gave the audience a personal perspective of Dr. King, which had never before been revealed. The Notre Dame Center for Arts & Culture, MSPS and the Center for Civil & Human Rights sponsored the event.
The October Interrace Forum, Retail Me Not, began with What Would You Do? Shopping While Black 2 segment. Professor Tonya Bradford provided commentary on the impact of consumerism and the unknown power of consumers. Read the blog written by Shanice Cox `15 for a complete review of the event (http://sites.nd.edu/msps/2013/10/03/retail-me-not-interrace/). Thank you, Professor Bradford for engaging the students, administrators and Michiana community members in an enlightening conversation. Knowledge is power; those present were charged to use their economic power in their fight for social justice.
I ask that you join the community in celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month by participating in the upcoming events. La Alianza is sponsoring Fiesta del Sol and El Día de los Muetros with the Institute of Latino Studies and MSPS. Other events will be announced in the near future, please read the MSPS announcements closely.
Good Luck on your mid-terms and have a safe Fall Break.
Iris L. Outlaw
Iris L. Outlaw `90 MSA
Multicultural Student Programs and Services