Heritage Month

UST to Celebrate National Hispanic Heritage Month Fall 2017

From September 15th to October 15th, University of St. Thomas will celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month with a variety of activities that incorporates art, history, and cultures. The day of September 15th is significant because it is the anniversary of independence for Latin American countries Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua. As well as Mexico and Chile celebrate theirs on September 16th and 18th.

Please join the Student Diversity and Inclusion Services office in celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month. Events will take place throughout the month of September and October and we encourage you and your students to attend.

We will have Purple Couch in SDIS on Fridays from 3-4pm. Purple Couch will be at the ASC MakerSpace on September 29th, 3pm – 4pm for Latin Arts and Crafts. There will be music, art, and craft such as Papel Picado. A special menu at T’s will be featured September 25-29th and a display with featured works in the OSF Library September 15th – October 15th.

On Wednesday, September 13th, at 6:00 pm in ASC Scooters come join DAB & HOLA for Loteria – Mexican Bingo. Loteria, often referred as Mexican bingo is a visually and engaging game in which instead of numbers and letters it uses short poems/Spanish phrases.

Come out to Culture Stew on Monday, September 18th, 5:30pm in ASC Dorsey Commons and have a meal with us and with the Director of Latino Affairs from Minnesota State University – Mankato, Jessie Mancilla. Latinidad is vibrant in Minnesota. Let’s unpack the truth of the educational, economical, and social Latinx stereotypes through national and state statistics, scholarly articles, and theories and absent narratives. Learn ways to navigate and continue the conversation to educate our campuses, our greater community and support our Latinx population during the Trump era.

We continue with our And Still We Rise series in partnership with the Luann Dummer Center for Women (LDCW). This month it is led by Ruby Murillo, Director of Latinx Center at Augsburg University. Wednesday, September 20th at 5:30 pm in the LDCW (OEC 103).  As a Mexican American woman and first generation college graduate, Ruby’s commitment to serving the Latinx community stems from personal experiences and the stories that other Latinx students have shared with her. Ruby will talk about those students who graduate and will share empirical data that shows how those students were driven to succeed. Ruby will also shed light on her personal experiences as a young woman of color navigating spaces in the professional field of Student Affairs and within her own community.

One of the most influential labor activist Dolores Huerta co-founded the United Farm Workers Association. Come join DAB’s event Non Violence Activism – Dolores Huertas on September 25th, 5pm in ASC 340 Hearth Room to learn and engage with us as we talk about the Chicano civil rights movement. There will also be an opportunity for students to go see the movie “Dolores” at The Lagoon on Tuesday, October 3rd!

For our first Movies that Matter this fall, which is on Tuesday September 26th, 2017 5:30pm in ASC Woulfe South, join us as we watch “Made in LA”. Made in L.A. is an Emmy award-winning feature documentary that follows the remarkable story of three Latina immigrants working in Los Angeles garment sweatshops as they embark on a three-year odyssey to win basic labor protections from trendy clothing retailer Forever 21. Popcorn and refreshments will be served!

Witness for Peace – Midwest will be hosting Carol Rojas on Tuesday, October 10th from 12pm at McNeely Hall Room 100. Carol Rojas is from the Feminist Antimilitarist Network. Carol will present on popular education and intersectional organizing in a dynamic of escalating post-accords Colombia.

We hope you can join us for these fantastic events! For more information visit our SDIS website https://www.stthomas.edu/studentdiversity/ or Facebook https://www.facebook.com/UofStThomasSDIS/

 

J-Term Book Club

J Term Book Club 2018

January Term Book Club 2018 Presents:

By Lauret Savoy

Sand and stone are Earth’s fragmented memory. Each of us, too, is a landscape inscribed by memory and loss. One life-defining lesson Lauret Savoy learned as a young girl was this: the American land did not hate. As an educator and Earth historian, she has tracked the continent’s past from the relics of deep time; but the paths of ancestors toward her—paths of free and enslaved Africans, colonists from Europe, and peoples indigenous to this land—lie largely eroded and lost.

In this provocative mosaic of personal journeys and historical inquiry across a continent and time, Lauret Savoy explores how the country’s still unfolding history, and ideas of “race,” have marked her and the land. From twisted terrain within the San Andreas Fault zone to a South Carolina plantation, from national parks to burial grounds, from “Indian Territory” and the U.S.-Mexico Border to the U.S. capital, Trace grapples with a searing national history to reveal the often unvoiced presence of the past.

-lauretsavoy.com

2016 American Book Award  from Before Columbus Foundation.  

Finalist for the PEN American Open Book Award and Phillis Wheatley Book

Trace invites you to reflect on how places are created, and foster a variety of perspectives that recognizes lasting injustices of our society. As well as realizing the contexts of racism on the American land in a narrative that impacts us deeply.

SDIS will be hosting weekly book discussion events in January 2018. Come join us on this journey. Sign up for the J-Term Book Club this coming up Fall. Questions/Interests contact Dia Yang, SDIS Education Program Director, dyang@stthomas.edu.

 

 

 

Uncategorized

Welcome Students – Orientation and Registration!

Understanding Your Story – First Year Student Presentations (Dia Yang)

Summer is coming to an end very soon, and UST is gearing up for orientations for new Tommies the next few weeks. Orientation for new students is a pivotal point in which students learn about what classes they will be taking, who their advisors are, where they will be living, and other viable student services. One of biggest questions every student explores throughout their time in college is “Who am I?” The first year becomes an exploration of trying to identify their passion, their personal identities, their purpose, and understanding the new people, information, and challenges they will encounter.

SDIS will be hosting a presentation for first year students called “Understanding Your Story”, giving students a glimpse of things they may encounter within their first year of college. This presentation will focus on the single story concept – the single story students learned in their 18 years of education, and the danger of one story. First year students will watch a snippet of Chimamanda Adichie’s TED Talk “Danger of a Single Story”, in which speaks of understanding stories by shifting your paradigm to another narrative. During the presentation students will be able to discuss single stories they know and how this can impact their perception of the world. Students will also be able to identify the complexities of their identities and understand the multiple stories that they can expect to encounter during their time here at UST.

The University of St. Thomas mission speaks of advancing the common good, and this is only possible when the individual feels they are a part of their community, interacting with – and growing within – that community. The presentation will conclude that as first year students begin to understand their stories within UST, in combination with the things they learn in college, they will grow into being who they are and embracing the diversity around them academically and socially. This transformation is a vital and continual process and cannot be feared, as this growth is needed in order to adapt to the changing world.

Uncategorized

2017 Celebrating Black History Month by Guest Blogger Mosope Ani

Student Diversity and Inclusion Services is happy to share Mosope Ani’s perspective on the celebration of Black History Month

In the month of February, we celebrate Black History Month form February 1st – February 28th. The month-long celebration honors influential African Americans and recognizes the important role that African Americans have played in U.S. history.
Black History Month was originally known as Negro History Week. It started in 1926 and was meant to celebrate of black Americans while also bringing awareness to black identities. Carter G. Woodson started Negro History Week along with other prominent African Americans. This recognition was a result of the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History (ASNLH), which was founded by Carter G. Woodson and Jesse E. Moorland. Woodson was unhappy about the underrepresentation of African Americans in American history, and this led to the birth of the association. The organization was established for the promotion of African American history and describes its purpose to, “research, preserve, interpret, and disseminate information about Black life, history and culture to the global community.” ASNLH is dedicated to the celebration of past and present African Americans while also telling their story. Negro History week was held on the second week of February to coincide with the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln and Fredrick Douglass.
The event inspired many schools and organizations to host their own celebrations, and in the decades that followed, mayors of many cities began issuing yearly proclamations recognizing Negro History Week. Negro History Week eventually became Black History Month when it was officially recognized by President Gerald R. Ford in 1976. This recognition was, as President Ford said, “the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history.”
Over the month of February, many events are held that highlight various aspects of black culture. Some of these events include spoken word performances, musical performances of various genres, influential films, museum showcases and panel discussions.
At the University of St. Thomas, SDIS, BESA and DAB have put together a series of events this month that give insight to the rich culture of African Americans. There will be a poetry slam, panel discussions and a Black History Month Dinner. These events are cosponsored by various groups on campus such as the Luann Dummer Center for Women, the English Department, and the Office of Mission. We urge you to attend some of the many events being held. Also, be sure to stop by the O’Shaughnessy-Frey Library to see the display with featured works, and visit T’s for a special menu from February 20-24.
This is a time to reflect on the contributions of African Americans to our everyday lives, and it is also a time to be aware of the issues that affect many African Americans today.
Happy Black History month! We hope you all get to experience and learn something new this month.
A detailed list of events can be found here

J-Term Book Club

The Distance Between Us: A Memoir by Reyna Grande 2017 J-Term Book Club selection.

reynaStudent Diversity and Inclusion Services has chosen The Distance Between Us: A Memoir by Reyna Grande as its 2017 J-Term Book Club selection. The Distance Between Us brings home the extreme risks and impossible choices those fleeing poverty and danger in Mexico are forced to accept – family separation, harrowing border crossings, perpetual fear of deportation – in hope of finding a better life, and reunification, in the United States.
The Distance Between Us: A Memoir is a compelling coming of age story about a young Mexican girl whose family decides to search for a better life and a more secure future beyond the bounds of the poor rural community they call home. The author helps us understand that when given bad choices by the circumstances of life, we make decisions and then must live with the consequences no matter how unexpected they might be.
Copies of The Distance Between Us will be distributed to all students who are J Term Book club participants.
Discussions will take Thursdays during the noon hour during the month of January. A visit by the author to campus on March 1st 10 will include a presentation open to the public. Details of the event will be made available, as the date approaches, on the SDIS website.
We believe The Distance Between Us will engage students and spur conversation campus-wide on a timely topic – immigration.

 

Learn more about Reyna Grande

Uncategorized

Pride Week kicks off October 10th

pride-week-2016The weeklong celebration is hosted by SDIS, OutLaw! QSA, and DAB. It’s a collaborative effort to affirm the LGBT+ community by providing recreational, social and support services, and learning opportunities to continue fostering a positive campus climate.
Pride Week is a celebration of identity and expression. Many individuals come to campus without a lot exposure to the LGBT+ community. Pride Week is a platform to engage that learning opportunity and, overall, celebrate diversity.
University campuses vary widely in whether, how, and when they organize LGBT Pride observances. At St. Thomas, Pride Week takes place in the Fall. Our activities include speakers, panel discussions, movies, and a celebratory dance.
Throughout the week, there will be a large number of opportunities for students to get involved, this is the link to events.

Diversity, Heritage Month, Uncategorized

St. Thomas Celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month

hispanic-2016Hispanic Heritage Month is upon us; the celebration begins on September 15 and is set to continue for a full month until October 15. The purpose of the celebratory month is to recognize the contributions and vital presence of both Hispanic and Latino Americans to the United States and to observe their native heritage and contributing culture. The history of Hispanic Heritage Month has deep roots in the United States, the month long observation began in 1968, and always begins in the fall of each year. Originally the celebration was not a month long; in fact it was only a week. President Lyndon Johnson first approved Hispanic Heritage Week in 1968, and was expanded to a full month by President Ronald Reagan in 1988. Finally, Hispanic Heritage Month was officially enacted into law on August 17 of that year.

September 15 was not a date chosen at random; in fact the date contains a large amount of significance for multiple Hispanic nations. According to USA.gov, the date is the anniversary of independence of five Latin American countries: Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. They all declared independence in 1821. In addition, Mexico, Chile and Belize celebrate their independence days on September 16, September 18, and September 21, respectively. Hispanic Heritage Month was enacted to celebrate the fundamental contributions Hispanics have made to the growth, vitality and culture of North America.

This year at St. Thomas we once again celebrate and provide opportunities for the community to engage in the month-long celebration, details are available on our website.

As a Latina I fully embrace the necessity of this month. Hispanic Heritage Month is the month I remind you and myself that “mi gente” are powerful and resilient. Hispanic Heritage Month is the month I get to celebrate all of our accomplishments. This is the one-month out of the year where I get to remind you, boldly, that we matter and that we extend a “bienvenida” to you as you help us celebrate. Hispanic Heritage Month is not about one community but rather is it about realizing and accepting how vast and complex our varied cultures are within the Latinx narrative. Latino/Hispanic Heritage Month gives us a chance to celebrate what each of our cultures bring to the St. Thomas community. I encourage all students, faculty, staff and the greater campus community to join us in celebrating  ‘la cultura Latina’ through all the events and programs on campus. We are very excited for this year’s events!

Uncategorized

“You Spoke, We Listened”

ncoreThis summer, the news has been filled with examples of many of the uncertainties and problems that plague our world today. What is the message of Black Lives Matter? How do we uproot the racism embedded in our justice system? What does immigration reform mean? Is anonymous speech good for society; is it destructive?

In order to engage students on some of these issues, SDIS provided an opportunity for all incoming first year students to share the causes they are willing to SPEAK UP about. Incoming first-year students watched “The Danger of Silence”, a TED Talk video by Clint Smith, during a breakout session at Orientation and Registration led by SDIS. After viewing the video, students had an opportunity to send an anonymous text message to a digital bulletin board, where they named a cause that they are passionate about. After meeting with 36 different groups of students over nine Orientation days, we saw that the following topics were the most oft-submitted as ones that the students want to speak up about.

1. Immigration
2. Black Lives Matter/Police Brutality
3. LGBTQ rights
4. Women’s rights
5. Islamophobia/Religious freedom

To respond to and generate discussion around events that matter to our students, SDIS will using these themes to help us frame our conversations during our weekly Purple Bench discussions on Friday afternoons. Purple Bench discussions are designed to encourage participants to step outside of their comfort zones, offer their opinions on challenging topics, and to not shy away from asking questions. No reading or research is required in advance at Purple Bench; it is a forum where people can talk about issues they care about, and a space where one need not be an expert in order to participate. We believe it is important to cultivate conversations on important issues that challenge us, so that we can learn from one another and become more familiar with having constructive dialogue with people who may hold and express different points of view.

During our annual Welcome Back to Campus social (September 9th 1-4 p.m.) we will provide an opportunity for the campus community to suggest other important issues we should be talking about during the upcoming school year. We really want an opportunity for faculty, staff and students to interact on the important social issues of our time, and we will continue to listen to our students and shape our weekly discussions to address the issues that matter to them.

Diversity

2015-2016 Wrap Up: Thank You!

Today marks the last day on St. Thomas’ 2015-2016 academic calendar. And looking back, it is hard not to be grateful for the people in and around SDIS that have made this year as eventful, progressive, and fun as it was.

We saw bright, courageous multicultural leaders stand up for social equity on campus like we never have seen:

USGProtestStand

USGProtestPosters2

We were blessed by other powerful voices coming to campus, like Sister Outsider and Jose Antonio Vargas:

SisterOutsider

We turned up on a boat:

SDISBoatRetreat

Took advantage of opportunities to make change, large and small:

DorseyWay

‘Campus Way’ has been renamed to ‘Dorsey Way’ in acknowledgment of Father Dorsey. A small gesture working toward acknowledging St. Thomas’ diversity, and making it more inclusive.

And still found time to chill every now and then:

SylvesterChillin

A lot has happened this year, and we hope the momentum created by the actions in and around our office is carried into the fall.

Special thanks are in order for our full-time staff—Peggy Jerabek, Patricia Conde-Brooks, Brad Pulles, and Jessica Gjerde. This office serves many different functions for many different people, and the community and opportunity created between the four of you should not go unnoticed.

Thank you, fellow SDIS Interns—Cory Kemp, Abeye Cherinet, and Yaia Yang—for contributing to this blossoming community of students, staff, and faculty pushing to make St. Thomas a more inclusive, worldly community.

Most importantly, thank you to all students, staff, faculty, and local community members not directly affiliated with SDIS for participating or contributing to our efforts this year.

Whether it was attending a program, telling people about upcoming events, or simply stopping by the office to greet and thank those who were working there, the engagement with SDIS is what makes the office special.

You validate everything SDIS tries to do for the St. Thomas community and we recognize you, long list of contributors, for making the feeling around our programs and activity what it is.

Have a great summer, everyone! We will remain open throughout the summer, so stop by ASC 224 anytime before the Fall 2016 semester if you just can’t wait to be around us again!

Courageous Conversations

Anti-Racism Campaign

Rachel

It’s April 2016, and you still probably don’t think racism exists at the University of St. Thomas.

Starting with a protest of USG in November, a strong contingent of students of color have continued to voice their frustration with the campus’ racial climate.

Since the protest, the formation of the Students of Color: Claim Our Seat (SOCCOS) movement has occurred. SOCCOS published a document of policy recommendations regarding the diversity and inclusiveness of St. Thomas’ campus climate two days after the protest.

Since then, the document has reached the desks of many administrators, faculty, and staff, including President Sullivan, Provost Richard Plumb, and members of the Anti-Racism Coalition. The coalition, formed by students, staff, and faculty aligned with the SOCCOS movement, published an open letter earlier this month drawing attention to persistent issues of inclusiveness and racial injustice on campus. The letter was met with a thorough response from President Sullivan herself.

In the letter, Sullivan highlights the work of the ‘Embracing our Differences as One Human Family’ task force of the Strategic Planning Committee. Sullivan addressed the urgent requests of the coalition to invest more into creating or developing inclusive space, equity training, and educational efforts.

Movement at the administrative level has not slowed down the need of students to continue voicing their concerns. Students both affiliated and unaffiliated with SOCCOS have been participating in the Anti-Racism Campaign for Tommies! (ACT!) in the past several weeks. The campaign captures the issues facing some students of color on campus through a photo series and video.

Many of the students featured in the ACT! campaign want to express that racism happens in ways that aren’t violent or individualized. The students share about their experiences with stereotyping, microaggressions, and being misrepresented among other issues.

Freesia Towle, graduate assistant at SDIS, is leading the charge in developing the campaign. She aims to make the ACT! campaign a platform for students to leverage their voices to facilitate racial justice dialogue and anti-racist mobilization in the St. Thomas community.

Towle describes the ACT! campaign as, “A multimedia platform for students to address their concerns in response to national and local racial justice issues.”

“It’s critical that students of all racial-ethnic identities have informal and formal opportunities to exchange personal narratives of either witnessing or experiencing racism. ACT! asserts the need to talk about how social constructions of race and the deeply harmful impact of racism permeates our St. Thomas community,” Towle says.

IMG_9696

The photo series has been launched today, with banners hanging over the ASC Atrium from the second floor. The video is set to premiere on the digital ad screen on the first floor of ASC Tuesday, May 3. The video will be displayed on repeat between 11:30 a.m and 1 p.m on Tuesday and Wednesday, May 4. Be on the lookout!

Students hope the ACT! campaign garners serious attention to the concerns of some of St. Thomas’ students of color. The ACT! campaign also aims to change the way the St. Thomas community thinks about racism and racial injustice.

Take time during the end of this semester to think outside of yourself. Hopefully, stories from the ACT! campaign help you see racial injustices affect more than just direct victims of it.

Thanks!