A Reflection for Christmas Break & Rejuvenation

Interfaith prayer service

Interfaith Prayer Service – November 14, 2016 – Matt Cashore, photographer

The last final for the semester has been taken, bags packed and now you are on your way home, to friends, relatives or wherever the next four weeks will take you. B-R-E-A-T-H-E.  It seems like forever since you could just be, sit in solitude and ponder how you feel, what has occurred over the past five months. How have you evolved? Or are you the same person who stepped on campus in August?  If you are, why hasn’t there been a change? Or should there have been one?

Advent began four Sundays prior to Christmas. During Advent Season, we are called to pray and reflect. Our community has been fractured by many issues, we are called to be one and the “keepers and protectors” of our sisters and brothers.  How this is to be accomplished is the challenge. Often, it is believed that the powers that be should be the driving force to rectify the ills. In reality, everyone is charged to address the inequities, disenfranchisement and establishing an environment where every community member is felt valued, appreciated, safe and welcome.

Fr. John began the call acknowledging the divide that emerged in our community because of the contiguous election year. He stated we must work toward the common good which includes having critical dialogue that respects the dignity of all persons. During this time, I ask for each of you to determine your strategy to contribute to his request.

The 2017 Spring Semester begins on the National Holiday celebrating Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  The interfaith prayer service will be in the Main Building at 11:00 p.m Monday, January 16. The second Walk The Walk Week begins the week of January 22.  Multicultural Student Programs and Services will host RAPtivist Aisha Fukushima on January 23 and co-sponsor Citizen author Claudia Rankine on January 26. RAptism is a global hip hop project highlighting how culture contributes to the universal efforts for freedom and justice by challenging apathy with awareness, ignorance with intelligence, and oppression with expression. These of two of several events occurring for more information and listing of other activities check the 2017 Walk the Walk Week site.  Both speakers compliment the fall Solidarity for Racial Justice campaign. MSPS’ Spring 2017 MLK Study of Race speakers will continue the discussion of social activism and the various forms it can take from the kneeling of Colin Kaepernick to demonstrations on college campuses and in high schools. Information will be shared on the MSPS website and Facebook page, as well as in our weekly announcements.  Feel free to contact the office either by calling or email for more information. We hope you will take advantage of these opportunities to have the critical dialogues that Fr. Jenkins referenced during the November 14 interfaith prayer service.

Have a blessed Christmas and Happy New Year.

Peace,

Iris L. Outlaw

Iris L. Outlaw `90 MSA

Director

Work to be Done

Fall 2015 was exciting and exhausting. The MLK Study of Race Series featuring John Quiñones, Sacramento Knoxx and Marcus Winchester challenged the community to become active bystanders and not be afraid of letting our voice be heard. Those in attendance felt the presenters were inspiring, knowledgeable and motivating for everyone to participate in the difficult dialogues on social justice and racial issues.  It was a reminder that not only charity; but effective change begins at home.

As the Spring 2016 semester begins and winter truly arrives, there are a plethora of opportunities to converse with your peers, faculty and staff. The celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. commenced with the Interrace Forum, where comparisons of the civil rights movement of the 1960s and 1970s and 2015 Black Lives Matter Movement.  Professor Richard Pierce provided insight and commentary during the discussion.

OSA Professional Development with Art Force 5Art Force 5 - SDN Community Project

Students and Student Affairs staff creating mosaic tiles for the MLK Community Project – January 14, 2015

MSPS hosted Art Force 5, Alfred University’s Drawn to Diversity team, as they worked with the Notre Dame community to create a social justice art piece. Student Affairs administrators, staff and students contributed to the mosaic mural at McKenna Hall, North and South Dining Halls and LaFortune student Center.  Look for the finished piece, which will be on the first floor of LaFortune. On Friday, January 15 Art Force 5 will conduct a workshop in the Notre Dame Room on Art and Social Justice.

The President’s Office is sponsoring a variety of events during their Walk the Walk Week. The first event will be a midnight candlelight vigil beginning at the Hesburgh Library on Sunday, January 18 (12:00 a.m.).  A community lunch will be held at the Joyce Center (ticketed) with acknowledgements also occurring in North and South Dining Halls for students, faculty and staff. Make sure to have your ID cards. Monday evening will conclude with MSPS MLK Study of Race Series Lecture, Black Lives Matter: The Hashtag behind the New Civil Rights Movement in Debartolo 101 at 7:00 p.m.

The month will conclude with the MSPS Unity Games from January 24 – 30, 2016.  MSPS will collaborate with other Student Affairs departments to sponsor team competitions throughout the week. Prizes will be awarded to the winning teams at the end of the week.  If you are interested in participating register at https://theunitygames.squarespace.com/registration/.

February is Black History Month. MSPS and student clubs are planning several events that will highlight the African Diaspora. It will begin on Thursday, February 4 with Dr. Shannen Dee Williams, History Professor from the University of Tennessee. Watch for advertisement on the remaining activities.

Peace,

Iris L. Outlaw

Iris Outlaw `90 MSA

Director

 

Who are Our Black Leaders?

During the 2014 Martin Luther King, Jr. Dinner at Notre Dame, one of the discussion topics addressed the presences of Black Leaders. Much to the dismay of administrators of color, the students responded, “There are no black leaders.” We were in shock and appalled. Then we wondered what point of reference the students were basing their perspective.

Generationally, we automatically began asking how they could not consider the impact of Dr. King’s work on the racial and economic fronts. The latter is what led to his untimely death.  Yes, we thought they were clueless.  Then we began contemplating who in their lifetime would they look up to or aspire to be like.  We immediately thought of President Barack Obama.  Did he not fit the description of a black leader?  Although many entertainers are philanthropic, are their professional personas such that young people would want to immolate them?  In most cases not, so who are the black innovators and leaders.
That began the new MSPS campaign to highlight living entrepreneurs, activists and others making a difference.

Our charge became to educate the community and our Facebook and tweeter followers on people, who are having a significant impact on society.  Kudos, to our student intern, Steven Waller, who coordinated this project.  He researched people, who are under the radar to highlight. As the year progresses, we will continue this effort.

Thank you to those who have commended this project and shared or retweeted the information.

Have a Safe and Warm Spring Break.