Social Responsibility

A Better World, Spring 2004

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ONE WOMAN’S VIEW ON WOMEN OF COLOR ISSUES.

INTERVIEW WITH ADRECE THIGHMAN-NABE

How did you hear about the Social Responsibility Graduate program?

I first heard about the SR program from friends who share many of my same views on social justice issues and who were among the first group to graduate with an SR degree. After talking with them I decided I wanted to be among the next group to do my part.

What are you doing to create a dialogue between women of color on issues of oppression?

Well, a few years back I started volunteering at the local battered women’s shelter (Anna Marie’s). I facilitated a black women’s support and discussion group. Over all, it was a chance for group members to share experiences dealing with oppression as black women. I learned a lot about myself in the process and what roles I could play in empowering women in my community. Personally, it was a powerful experience. In addition, I’ve been involved in the planning of “Take back the Night” and “Women of the Moon.” I have also been a speaker and panelist on women’s issues and have been involved with several organizations supporting women’s issues. But if I had to choose one experience that was most interesting and fun it would be my small role in a rendition of Eve Ensler’s, “Vagina Monologues”!

What work have you done to promote social justice on campus and in your community?

Well, what I’ve learned over the years is to choose an issue that is close to your heart and one where you could make a difference, while keeping in mind that change doesn’t happen overnight. Often the systemic changes that we help to make may never be seen in our lifetime. I live my life with an obligation to give back to my community and remember all the sacrifices
that my ancestors have made as well.

In your view, what is one pertinent issue affecting women of color in our society?

Racism and how it plays out in the workplace. It’s a constant additional burden for women of color to have to deal with this oppression. People in power use it as a tool to dominate in both covert and overt ways. It’s damaging to the psyche and daily functioning of women of color. If I had to chose one pertinent issue, I wouldracism because it manifests in a variety of ways and plays out in all sectors of life.

COMMUNITY CORNER: OUTLOUD!

An Interview with Co-Chairs: Dana Hendricksen & Carrie Hewwitt

1. Explain the vision/mission of SCSU's OutLoud!?

Our mission is to educate St. Cloud State University students/faculty/staff and community members about homophobia and heterosexism. This will be accomplished through Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex, Queer, Questioning and Ally visibility and activism on campus and in the community. Also, to welcome and embrace all individuals devoted to ending homophobia; and to build coalitions with other organizations in order to educate people about any and all forms of discrimination, oppression, and injustice faced by diverse individuals, groups, and populations.

2.Who can join the group?

Anyone, regardless of sexual orientation, race, religion, ability, etc.

3. How many members are in the group?

Currently there are approximately 20 active members between email lists and meeting attendance.

4. Please describe some of the things that the group has taken action on and/or been involved with?

OutLoud! sponsors National Coming Out Week each fall, Out Proud Week each spring and currently we have undertaken the project we call The "Real" Real World. For both NCOW and Out Proud Week a variety of programs are sponsored, including Safe Space Training and Guess the Straight Person. The "Real" Real World is a project we began last spring which will be presented each spring as a part of Out Proud Week. RRW is an interactive program that addresses and exposes oppression on an everyday level as well as a larger level. This is mostly portrayed through visual and auditory media, where students take a tour through the life of different populations who face oppression on a regular basis.

5. What are some of the future goals of the group?

To continue to provide educational programming that is at the level of the SCSU campus and community. To continue to provide support to GLBT persons in the St. Cloud area by providing programming that provides visibility and an opportunity for non-GLBT community members to learn more about their GLBT counterparts.

6. Good sources of information on GLBT ISSUES:

The GLBT Services office has a growing library of both fiction and nonfiction books, articles, brochures and videos concerning GLBT topics. A few good websites to check out include: www.planetout.com, www.glstn.org (Gay, Lesbian, Straight Educators Network), www.ngltf.org (National Gay and Lesbian Task Force), www.hrc.org (Human Rights Campaign), www.outfrontmn.org. The GLBT Services office also has both Coming Out Packets, and Ally Packets, for anyone who is interested.

CONTACT & MEETING INFO

Outloud! meets Wednesday at 1pm in GLBT Services Office in Atwood Memorial Center.

We are located in room B105 in the Atwood Memorial Center. Our phone number is 320-308-5166. You may also contact us by email: scsu_outloud@stcloudstate.edu, or visit our website @ www.stcloudstate.edu/glbt

POETRY FOR CHANGE

A Phenomenal Woman
By Andrea Washington

a phenomenal woman knows her
own mind
and guards her own heart
she knows the value and measure
of her worth
and when she opens her soul
you’ve seen a glimpsed of a time
before time
at the brink of creation
from the depths of darkness
She births forth Life
Through the brilliance of light
She pours forth Knowledge
Through the pains of growth
Wisdom is Earned
She is worshiped in the temple of
her wommonhood
For it is the seat and cradle of life
and passion
Her daughters sing ancient
herstories
Of love and desire to each other
For each other
From generation to generation
As evolution turns
Daughters lift their voices in
remembrance,
In praise
Until Wommonkind is molded into
Her perfect image
And we are revealed as Her
children
In Her Phenomenal Likeness
(2001)

Permission to reprint granted by author.

GRADUATE NEWS

Hello to all of you that are zealously working to make the world a better place! I graduated from the Social Responsibility program last December and have since then moved to Ames, Iowa. I currently work at Iowa State University as a Program Assistant in the Substance Abuse and Violence Prevention program. I have had the opportunity to be involved in the ISU Sexual Assault Task Force, Ames Tobacco Task Force, and the Substance Abuse Prevention Committee. I also help create various programs and activities for students on campus. One program that I am working on involves collaborating with different departments on campus to create programs for First Year Students of Color. Recently, I was asked to advise the Special Events Committee for the student run spring festival, VEISHA which is in its 82nd year. I also co-advise a student organization called ISU AfterDark, which provides entertaining late night alcohol-free activities for students on the weekends. Additionally, I have had the opportunity to co-teach a Psychology 131 class, which is an academic success class for students.

I have been able to incorporate what I have learned from the Social Responsibility program into the work that I am doing in various ways. We use social norms at our university, which seeks to inform students about the true campus norms rather than allowing students to believe incorrect assumptions. Campuses are increasingly using this approach to promote healthy behaviors when it comes to alcohol, other drugs, sexual assault, social justice and a variety of other topics. My role on the Sexual Assault Task Force enables me to utilize the knowledge and skills I acquired both in my Sexual Assault Advocacy class and my work at the Women’s Center. I am able to continue working on women’s issues through collaborating with the ISU Women’s Center on various projects that address violence and women. Another way in which I incorporate what I have learned from the SR program is through volunteering in the community. I am currently volunteering at a non-profit fair-trade store called Worldly Goods that specializes in handcrafts of low-income artisans from developing areas around the world.

The Social Responsibility program has given me insight and knowledge about various issues that I continue to use in my job and in conversations with people I work with. Through organizing events on the SCSU campus, I gained skills that I am now able to use in my current job. The SR program has influenced and inspired me to get involved in social justice issues and to use what I have learned in my everyday life, as I am sure it has done the same for many of you! Some of you may be graduating soon; I encourage you to get involved on campus and in the community. The skills and experience you obtain will help prepare you for what is to come. You will meet amazing and inspiring people along the way and you will truly make a difference in the world!

Peace,
Kerri Roesner
Social Responsibility Graduate

Center for Service Learning & Social Change

By Kevin Lanave

Kevin LaNave, who is nearing completion of the Social Responsibility program, is establishing the "Center for Service-Learning and Social Change."A non-profit organization, the Center's mission is to empower youth, and those who work with youth, in the use of service-learning methodology to address issues of peace and justice.

The Center for Service Learning & Social Change emerged from my work as an educator, beginning as the teacher of a peace-and-justice course and coordinator of service-learning at St Cloud Cathedral High School (1985-2003). During this time at CHS, I was often invited by educators in other settings (eg, schools, faith communities) to do presentations and workshops, and to assist them in curriculum development.In 1995, I was the teacher consultant for development of a nationally-published textbook and the author of its accompanying teacher's manual (St Mary's Press; Winona, MN).In 1997, I was asked to serve as coordinator for the Julianne Williams Foundation for Social Justice, a local organization focused on work with youth.By the fall of 2001, requests for Foundation-sponsored activities exceeded their financial resources, and I began to establish the "Center".

Key activities of the Center include:planning of an annual "Social Justice Conference with Youth" in the St Cloud area (begun in 2000, and recently adapted by Ryan Cox, another SR program participant, to the Minnewaska/Alexandria region); a weekend learning-and-service retreat called "Culturing Compassion"; a peer education program on sexual assault entitled "Healthy Sexuality/Relationships"; and a variety of collaborative efforts with local educators to develop social justice dimensions to their programs.

Although my work in social justice education and my efforts to establish the Center pre-date my entry into the Social Responsibility program, my courses , classmates, and professors have broadened my knowledge of issues and renewed my commitment to this work.

For more information about the Center, e-mail Kevin at <klanave@victorcc.net>

Conscientious Objection

By Hal Kimball

Despite the “Mission Accomplished” banners and rhetoric from our nation’s capitol, we are still at war. National Guard members are now being deployed for a second time to Iraq with deployments anticipated through 2006. Conscientious Objection is becoming a more and more viable option for service members as this conflict grows and others begin to emerge. Despite the stigma attached to CO status, these were the most courageous individuals I encountered in my military career. It’s far easier to maintain status quo and deploy to far flung areas for an unjust cause than to stand up for yourself, your values and most importantly, your rights as a soldier.

GI Rights Hotline: 1-800-394-9544

Visit these sites for more info:
http://www.quakerhouse.org/
http://www.warresisters.org/
http://www.comdsd.org/
http://www.objector.org/

Hal Kimball was in active duty US Army Infantry for eleven years attaining the rank of Staff Sergeant. He is a member of the student organization, People Uniting for Peace, and has applied for admission into the Social Responsibility program beginning next Fall.

Social Responsibility & My Internship

By Kara Good

I have been asked to write a brief synopsis on how the Social Responsibility program here at St. Cloud State University has prepared me for my internship. I am presently interning at Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Minnesota this spring and it is something that I chose to do and found on my own. I decided to do an internship because I felt that I needed more experience in what I eventually wanted to do as a career and that is to work with non-profits.

The Social Responsibility program really assisted me with what I would face in my internship by opening the doors of my mind to the different types of social injustices that I could work with. I chose to work with and will continue to choose to work with children who experience child abuse, neglect, and behavioral issues who come from single-parent homes, in short at-risk children and youth.

I think taking on an internship is a great way to increase your experience in the area of social injustice that is of interest to you. Also I think that by participating in an internship you are increasing your role as an activist and taking on a new perspective of activism. In short, I know that through my internship not only will I be gaining the above stated experiences and perspectives, but I am also gaining a foot in the door to a career that I hope to have for the rest of my life.

Kara will be completing her Social Responsibility degree this Spring.

Editors of A Better World
Theresa Flink
Mónica Segura

Feedback:
We would like to hear from you! If you would like to share any comments or story ideas, or if you have any questions...

Please contact us: tflinck@yahoo.com
Phone: 308-1045

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