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Diversity, Heritage Month

Black History Month: Women with a Vision

Black History Month is an annual celebration to honor the achievements and recognize the important role of African Americans in U.S. history. In celebration of this month we wanted to share with you the incredible impact of five black women in U.S. history.

Marsha P. Johnson: Revolutionary Drag Queen

Marsha P. Johnson was born Malcolm Michaels on August 24th, 1945. At a young age she began exploring gender and sexuality by wearing dresses and reflecting on her emotional and physical desires; however, ridicule and disapproval from family and friends prompted her to hide her identity. In 1966, she moved from her family home in Elizabeth, New Jersey to Greenwich Village in New York City and legally changed her name to Marsha P. Johnson. As an African American self-identified drag queen, she began getting involved in the fight for LGBTQ+ rights.

In the morning hours of June 28, 1969, police raided the Stonewall Inn, a gay club and refuge located in Greenwich Village. The raid incited six days of protest against law enforcement and served as the catalyst for the LGBTQ+ rights movement in the United States. Following the riots, Johnson, an instigator during the riots, joined the Gay Liberation Front and co-founded the Street Transvestite (now Transgender) Action Revolutionaries (STAR) a group committed to helping homeless transgender youth in New York City. She also continued her street activism as a respected organizer and marshal with ACT UP, an international direct-action advocacy group working to impact the lives of people with AIDS.

https://www.biography.com/people/marsha-p-johnson-112717

Claudette Colvin: The original “Rosa Parks”

On March 2nd 1955, sixteen-year-old Claudette Colvin was riding the bus home from school when the bus driver ordered her to give up her seat for a white woman. Claudette, a member of the NAACP youth council, refused to move and was convicted of disturbing the peace and violating segregation laws. Though the NAACP supported Colvin’s action, they believed her age and skin tone would discredit her actions. In order to start a bus boycott, they asked Rosa Parks, the NAACP secretary, who was older and fairer skinned than Colvin, to commit the same crime. Nine months later Rosa Parks was arrested for the same offense and became the face of the Montgomery Bus Boycott.

In 1956, Colvin served as a plaintiff in the pivotal case Browder v. Gayle, which challenged the Alabama state statutes and Montgomery city ordinances requiring segregation on Montgomery buses. On June 5th, the three-judge panel, citing Brown v. Board of Education as precedent for the verdict, ruled two-to-one that segregation on Alabama buses was unconstitutional a critical action in the fight for civil rights.

https://www.nwhm.org/articles/girl-who-acted-rosa-parks

http://kingencyclopedia.stanford.edu/encyclopedia/encyclopedia/enc_browder_v_gayle/

Mary Jackson, Katherine Johnson, and Dorothy Vaughan: The women of Hidden Figures

In 1943, two years after President Roosevelt signed Executive Order 8802 into law, prohibiting racial, religious and ethnic discrimination in the country’s defense industry, the Langley Memorial Aeronautical Laboratory began hiring black women to process aeronautical research data. One of these women was Dorothy Vaughan. Vaughan was assigned to the segregated “West Area Computing” unit, an all-black group of female mathematicians. In 1949, Dorothy Vaughan was promoted to lead the group, making her the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics’ (NACA’s) first black supervisor.

Mary Jackson graduated from Hampton Insitute in 1942 with a degree in Math and Physical Science. It took 5 different career changes until Jackson began working under the supervision of Dorothy Vaughan at the Langley Memorial Aeronautical Laboratory’s segregated West Area Computing section in 1951. Overcoming the challenges that the segregation laws of the time inflicted on her, she became NASA’s first black engineer.

In 1937, at the age of 18, Katherine Johnson graduated from West Virginia State college with a degree In Math. In 1953, she began working at the Langley Memorial Aeronautical Laboratory under the supervision of Dorothy Vaughan. In 1962, as NASA (formerly known as NACA) prepared for the orbital mission of John Glenn, Johnson was called upon by Glenn himself to confirm the orbital equations that would control the trajectory of the capsule in his mission. The mission was a success and Glenn became the first American to orbit the Earth.

“These are American heroes. Without their brains, without their hard work and dedication to NASA and the long hours that they worked together, we would have not made it into space. We would have not made it into orbit.” – Janelle Monáe, who plays Mary Jackson in the film Hidden Figures.

https://www.nasa.gov/content/mary-jackson-biography

https://www.nasa.gov/content/katherine-johnson-biography

https://www.nasa.gov/content/dorothy-vaughan-biography

http://www.realclearlife.com/history/true-story-brilliant-black-women-nasa-from-hidden-figures/

As we think about the history of the impacts of African American, we must not only celebrated within February but throughout the year. It is also important to bring life to the many women that has also changed history as well within the African American community.

To stay updated on all our events for Black History Month visit our SDIS website https://www.stthomas.edu/studentdiversity/ or Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/UofStThomasSDIS/

Amaris Holguin

 

 

Diversity

The More the Merrier: Celebrations Around the World

By Amaris Holguin

Around this time of year about 92% of Americans are preparing for a Christmas celebration (Pew Research Center). But what about the rest of the world? Many celebrations observed during this season involve gathering with family and loved ones to honor religious, spiritual, and/or cultural teachings. In the holiday spirit of sharing, we would like to share a brief description of some international holidays and celebrations with you!

Hanukkah:

Also known as Chanukah, meaning “dedication” in Hebrew, Hanukkah honors the rededication of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem after the Maccabean Revolt in 2nd century BCE. Hanukkah is celebrated by Jewish communities world-wide on the eve of Kislev 25 on the Hebrew calendar. On the civil calendar, it generally coincides with the month of December.

One of the main rituals for Hanukkah include lighting the Menorah, a nine-branched

candleholder. The candle in the middle, known as the Shamash (“attendant”), is used to light the other eight flames, one for each night. Other Hanukkah customs include singing traditional Hanukkah songs, reciting Psalms, and enjoying Hanukkah meals with loved ones.

Kwanzaa:

Kwanzaa is a week-long cultural festival that joins communitarian values and practices of pan-African and African American communities. The holiday, celebrated from December 26th to January 1st, was created by Dr. Maulana Karenga, a professor of Africana Studies, in 1966. During the holiday, families and communities organize activities around the Nguzo Saba, The Seven Principles.

  1. Umoja (Unity)
  2. Kujichagulia (Self-Determination)
  3. Ujima (Collective Work and Responsibility)
  4. Ujamaa (Cooperative Economics)
  5. Nia (Purpose)
  6. Kuumba (Creativity)
  7. Imani (Faith)

On each of the seven nights, the family gathers to light a candle on the Kinara (candleholder). On the first night, the black candle in the center, dedicated to Umoja (unity), is lit and the principle is discussed. For the remainder of the holiday, one candle is lit each night and one of the principles is discussed. Kwanzaa traditions also involve feasts, music, dance, poetry, and narratives. The last day of the celebration is dedicated to reflection and recommitment to The Seven Principles as well as other central cultural values

Las Posadas:

Beginning on December 16th and ending on December 24th, Las Posadas is a religious holiday that commemorates the journey that Joseph and Mary made from Nazareth to Bethlehem in search of a safe refuge where Mary could give birth to baby Jesus. Though it originated in Spain, Las Posadas is generally celebrated in Mexico and some parts of the U.S.

During each evening of the celebration, a procession reenacts the journey of Joseph and Mary. The procession sings songs while the group representing the Holy Family asks for posada (lodging) at a series of houses and is turned away until the procession reaches the designated house and is invited to enter. The celebration is continued inside the home with prayer, song, and a feast. On the last night, Christmas Eve, the celebration is concluded with a midnight mass.

Eid-al-Adha:

Eid-al-Adha is an Islamic holiday celebrated by Muslims worldwide to honor the willingness of the prophet Ibrahim, also known as Abraham, to follow Allah (God’s) command to sacrifice his first-born. Because the Islamic calendar is based on the lunar calendar, the date of Eid-al-Adha varies greatly.

In the period around Eid al-Adha, many Muslims travel to Mecca to perform the Hajj pilgrimage, a mandatory once-in-a-lifetime religious responsibility. Communities also celebrate by visiting family and friends, and in some traditionally Muslim countries sacrifice an animal in an act known as qurbani. This represents the animal that Ibrahim sacrificed in the place of his son. Ultimately, the meat from the sacrifice is shared with friends, neighbors, and the poor, to ensure that everyone can partake in the holiday feast!

Diwali:

Diwali, also known as the festival of lights, is a 5-day celebration that generally takes place in autumn and is an official holiday in India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, and neighboring countries. The festival gets its name from the avali (row) of deepa (clay lamps) that observers light outside their homes to symbolize the inner light that protects from spiritual darkness.

During Diwali Hindus celebrate the triumph of good over evil, or light over darkness. In Jainism it commemorates the nirvana, or spiritual awakening of Lord Mahavira after his death. Sikhs use Diwali to mark the anniversary that Guru Hargobind Ji, the Sixth Sikh Guru, was freed from imprisonment.

Regardless of the holiday(s) you celebrate, we at SDIS wish you a Happy Holidays and New Year!

Sources:

https://www.unitedplanet.org/blog/2013/01/03/from-christmas-to-diwali-winter-holidays-around-the-world

http://www.chabad.org/holidays/chanukah/article_cdo/aid/102911/jewish/What-Is-Hanukkah.htm

http://www.officialkwanzaawebsite.org/index.shtml

http://www.history.com/topics/holidays/kwanzaa-history

https://www.britannica.com/topic/Las-Posadas

https://www.franciscanmedia.org/las-posadas-a-mexican-christmas-tradition/

https://www.timeanddate.com/holidays/muslim/eid-al-adha

http://www.diwalifestival.org/

Diversity, Heritage Month, Uncategorized

Native American Heritage Month – Thanksgiving Day

We’re often told that Christopher Columbus “discovered” America. What we’re not told is that he was responsible for the colonization of First Nations people, initiation of the transatlantic slave trade, and death of millions by murder and diseases. Many of his actions have lasting affects still apparent today. The U.S. Census stated that in 2014 the median income for American Indian and Alaska Native households was $37,227 compared to $53,657 for the nation as a whole. The Native population also lack educational resources and opportunities. Only 18.5% of American Indians and Alaska Natives 25 years and older obtained a bachelor’s degree or higher, compared to 30.1% of the overall population (Census Bureau, 2015). In 1992, Berkley, California, was the first city to declare what was once Columbus Day, Indigenous People’s Day. So far 55 cities have joined the movement and replaced Columbus Day with Indigenous People’s Day/Native Americans Day, or recognize both. Minneapolis began recognizing Indigenous People’s day in 2014 and St. Paul followed in suit in 2015.

Thanksgiving is an American celebration in giving thanks and sharing a meal with family and friends. The idea of Thanksgiving of Pilgrims and Native Americans sitting at a table sharing meal and giving thanks, has been a story told to us for many years. In 1621, the Plymouth colonists and Wampanoag Indians shared an autumn harvest feast that is acknowledged today as one of the first Thanksgiving celebrations. When the Pilgrims came to Plymouth Rock, they were poor and hungry — half of them died within a few months from disease and hunger. When Squanto, a Wampanoag man, found them, they were in a pitiful state. He spoke English, having traveled to Europe, and took pity on them. Their English crops had failed. The native people fed them through the winter and taught them how to grow their food (Pacific News Services, 1999). The idea that the first Thanksgiving was some kind of cross-cultural love between two groups, as it has been represented, is also doubtful by historians, who say that the settlers and the Indians were brought together less by friendship than by the extreme of their common need. George Washington made his Thanksgiving Day Proclamation in 1789. In truth, our first president’s aim was not to rejoice, but pay acknowledgement of the survival of an imperiled nation (Huffington Post, 2011).

In the Native’s version of Thanksgiving, it is a beginning of the end. For the First Nation’s, Thanksgiving is seen as a time in remembering their ancestors, and of mourning for the lives that were lost. In fact, the end times began for Massachusetts Indians several years earlier, when British slaving crews unintentionally introduced smallpox killing over ninety percent of the local population, who lacked antibodies to fight the disease. (Huffington Post, 2011). So in this opportunity on Thanksgiving, it is a chance to give gratitude for this day, as well as reflecting. It is important to continue to educate ourselves on our history, and bring an accurate representation of Native American history into mainstream American culture. As these stories and history creates big impacts to us today, and challenges that the Native American communities faces still today.

Resources

http://www.history.com/topics/exploration/columbus-day

http://time.com/4968067/indigenous-peoples-day-columbus-day-cities/

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/columbus-day-2017-when-is-it-date-holiday-meaning-why-veterans-us-cale-a7983641.html

https://www.census.gov/newsroom/facts-for-features/2015/cb15-ff22.html

https://www.huffingtonpost.com/richard-schiffman/the-thanksgiving-truth_b_1105181.html

https://www.alternet.org/story/4391/thanksgiving:_a_native_american_view

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.