'DEIS Impact! events by topical category (click topic to view list)
'DEIS Impact! Summary of Events
Throughout The Week - Multiday Events
Friday February 1 - Thursday February 7
This visual representation of a shantytown constructed in the midst of an “ivory tower” college campus was meant to make passersby think about the climate change permeating the world around us, and the importance for current generations to make a difference for all generations to come.
Sponsored by Students for Environmental Action (SEA)
For more information: Lisa Purdy
Friday February 1 - Friday February 8
Members of the Student Union Social Justice Committee invited ‘DEIS Impacters to describe their social justice journey and their definition of social justice. The resulting photos and narratives illustrated the variety of ways these Brandeisians approach social justice, thereby suggesting a multiplicity of possible paths for others to consider.
Sponsored by Student Union Social Justice Committee. For more information: Sarah G. Kim
Saturday February 2 - Friday February 8
Visitors to the Shapiro Campus Center atrium helped build a symbolic school from Lego bricks, with proceeds going to Oxfam to help a school in a developing country.
Sponsored by Poverty Action Coalition. For more information: Josilyn Sacks
February 5, 6, and 7
This three-day blood drive brought together students, faculty, and staff on the Brandeis campus to donate blood to those in need. Blood donors were challenged to brainstorm their own meanings of social justice.
For more information: Jess Friedman
Using paint, magazine and newspaper clippings, people were invited to take a few minutes to create tiles that represented what social justice meant to them using only images, no words. Some tiles featured Louis Brandeis, Harry Potter, or keynote speakers Judy and Eliza Dushku; others were more abstract images representing concepts like equality; one was a visual representation of the old phrase “hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil."
For more information: Lindsay Mitnik
In the Heart of America
Photo courtesy of BrandeisNOW
February 7 - February 10
The Brandeis Theater Company performed this compelling drama about a young Palestinian-American woman who searched for her missing brother, a soldier who served in Iraq, in this story that crosses time and space, blending and blurring conflicts from the Vietnam War to the Gulf War. With poetic imagery and language, playwright Naomi Wallace explored the intersection of violence and politics, racism and patriotism, desire and the human heart. Director Janet Morrison said, “The characters represent different backgrounds, cultures and wars, but you can see the common wounds, hope and striving that are alive in all of them.”
Sponsored by the Brandeis Theater Company
For more information: Brandeis Ticket Office
Friday, February 1, 2013
Each audience member identified a social justice hero, ranging from well-known figures (such as Mandela, Gandhi, Martin Luther King) to personal heroes (such as a relative or mentor – often someone who worked quietly but tirelessly). Student-created questions were discussed, such as: “Does your hero admit to flaws? If so, how has that honesty influenced you?” and “What will my social justice legacy be?”
For more information: Lucas Malo
Saturday, February 2, 2013
Using Social Media for Social Justice: Ordinary People Can Do Extraordinary Things
The three founders of The Jubilee Project explained how to use social media for social justice, reminding us of the power of stories and visual images to raise awareness and mobilize action. Their main messages were that everybody can be successful in social media if they just go for it, and that simple acts can have tremendous impact.
For more information: Victoria Lee
Sunday, February 3, 2013
Telling Your Story to Inspire Action: A Workshop
“Story of Self” is an artful storytelling technique that involves heart as well as facts, focusing on challenges, choices made in response, and outcomes of those choices. Participants practiced shaping their stories into an engaging “Story of Self” to inspire the listener to action, working with their own personal stories about the moments that spurred them to action on social justice. Project Plus One leaders Paul Sukijthamapan ’13 and Sarah Van Buren ’13, among others, shared their own inspiring “Stories of Self.” Quoting Martin Luther King Jr., organizer Leila Pascual ’14 reminded participants that “the opposite of poverty is not wealth, but justice.”
For full screen video, click here.
Sponsored by Project Plus One
For more information: Leila May Pascual
Monday, February 4, 2013
Professor David Steele led this workshop looking at what values might be at the origins of any conflict, with a focus on religious values. Members of a Heller School graduate student panel shared personal experiences about the role of religion within conflicts. Panelists included Jacqueline Okanga (from Uganda), Saoussane Rifai (from Morocco) and Shagufta Shah (from Pakistan), representing different cultures and religious traditions. Attendees were also asked to form a “human barometer” demonstrating what role they feel religion plays within a conflict. Steele mentioned that one of the leaders with whom he worked pointed out, “In some countries, if you take a gift to a tribal leader, it’s a sign of respect. In the USA, if you take a gift to a political leader, it’s a bribe. Yes, there is corruption, but we define it differently.” Identity can be a marker for conflict. Reported Steele: one young Croatian woman said, “At the beginning of the Yugoslav war, I had to ask my mother who we were.”
For more information: Professor David Steele, COEX
Imagine going to the library, the Catholic chapel, or the Women’s Studies Research Center (WSRC) and picking up a few AK-47 assault rifles or Glock pistols. Postcards of them, that is. This participatory art installation by WSRC Scholar Linda Bond was a visual representation of the 190,000 weapons that have gone missing in Iraq. Visitors were invited to take one or more of the cards to keep or give away, then record its current location at the artist's website to track the “weapons” as they circulate around the globe. Artist Linda Bond spoke about various artists through history who have been social activists and of the origins of her “Inventory” installation.
Sponsored by Women's Studies Research Center (WSRC)
For more information: Michele L'Heureux
How Corporations Promote Social Justice: Just because it's legal, does it mean it's ethical?
Co-founder of People Magazine Ron Scott spoke about his experiences in the corporate world. He mentioned case studies of “cause-related marketing,” (i.e. “doing well by doing good”), including some problematic examples, like tobacco giant Phillip Morris’s sponsorship of women’s tennis and the performing arts. Respondents Professor Andreas Teuber (PHIL) and Professor Detlev Suderow (IBS) raised intriguing questions like: where morality came from, whether one’s sense of self-interest (particularly corporate self-interest) is at odds with morality, and how to think about practices that are legal but not necessarily ethical. In the end all the panelists urged the audience to think critically and “do the right thing” – even if it’s a hard thing to do.
For more information: Avishek Neupane and Joshua Nass
Justice, Empowerment, and Creative Midrash
Midrash, or the process of telling a story to better understand the words in the Torah, can underscore the Torah's themes of justice and empowerment. Using ancient sources (the story of Abraham’s binding of Isaac) and modern sources (such as Dan Terris’s blog post with his working definition of social justice), participants discussed their role in recognizing power and privilege and transforming knowledge into action. Finally, each person had the opportunity to portray his/her own story through a creative representation of a vision for social justice.
For more information: Jessica Goldberg
Tuesday, February 5, 2013
A display of archival material relating to student activism at Brandeis throughout the times was displayed, including pictures, news articles, letters and other materials. This exhibit gave exciting insight into Brandeis’ history of social justice-related events and activities with modern resonance, such as materials from the “Brandeis & Apartheid Strike” of April 5, 1979, sponsored by the Brandeis Divestment Coalition, and the 1998 “Passover Seder for Tibet.” Archival material of other major social justice-related historical events was also included in the exhibit, such as material related to Sacco and Vanzetti, Jewish resistance in World War II, the Spanish Civil War, the Leo Frank trial, and Louis Brandeis himself.
Sponsored by Brandeis University Archives & Special Collections
For more information: Sarah Shoemaker
Brandeis students and members of BOLLI (the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Brandeis) came together for an intergenerational dialogue to discuss many aspects of social justice: its meaning, implications and practices. Discussion questions included “Is the quest for social justice utopian?” and “Was Occupy Wall Street about social justice? Did it do justice?” Excerpts from the documentary play “When Rebellion Becomes Revolution” (see below) were performed and spurred conversations.
For more information: Avi Bernstein
Speaking from their experiences as Unite for Sight interns through the Hiatt Career Center’s Social Justice World of Work (WOW) Fellowship, Gloria Park (who interned in India) and Darrell Byrd (who interned in Ghana) joined Unite For Sight program manager Rachel Turkel in this eye-opening session. Unite For Sight’s health care delivery model includes two fundamental principles: supporting local healthcare systems in sustainable ways, and having international volunteers perform only those procedures they are qualified to perform in their home countries.
For full-screen video, click here.
For more information: Gloria Park
STAND Up Against Genocide!
STAND, an anti-genocide club, screened a video of interviews with various members of the Brandeis community about their thoughts and opinions about genocide. The video project was intended to spread genocide awareness on the Brandeis campus, and to encourage others to take action. High school students from "Poetic Justice," a club at the Cambridge School of Weston (led by high school student Kaela Cote-Stemmermann), performed slam poetry as the opener, followed by Dean Jamele Adams’ rendition of his own slam poetry about genocide.
For more information: Rebecca Ottinger and Amanda Dryer
Students from the Justice Brandeis Innocence Project at the Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism asked questions of panelists Damien Echols, a recently released death row inmate, his wife Lorri Davis, his defense team advisor Lonnie Soury, and Erin Moriarty, a reporter from CBS’s 48 Hours. A trailer for West of Memphis, a new documentary about Echols, was shown. Echols spoke of his Buddhist practice of meditation (5-7 hours a day) as one of the factors that got him through his experience. While his case is still controversial, Echols expressed his desire to be “defined by my accomplishments, not by what was done to me.” After the event, Echols signed copies of his book "Life After Death."
For full-screen video, click here.
For more information: Elizabeth Macedo
Called by some the “GLBTQ answer to Vagina Monologues and Man-ologues,” Queerologues was an evening of performances including monologues, spoken word, songs, raps, or anything about queer related issues, giving voice to this often-marginalized population whose human rights are often threatened.
Sponsored by Queer Resource Center
For more information: Yuxin Yang
Wednesday, February 6, 2013
Playback Theatre is a technique that explores improvisation as a tool for conflict resolution, social change, and community building as well as artistic expression. Workshop leader Will Chalmus ’07, a theater arts graduate and former member of the board of directors of the worldwide Playback Theatre, taught skills such as using performance and movement to express feelings and stories told by audience members.
For more information: Professor Jennifer Cleary
Brandeis University’s four chaplains (Catholic, Jewish, Muslim and Protestant) came together to discuss the importance of interfaith cooperation. Through a panel discussion, they explained that while religions may have different customs and rituals, many religions share a similar sense of moral obligation to the greater society. The chaplains mentioned some of the many benefits that come with learning about another religion’s practices, and explained ways in which the Brandeis community specifically supports interfaith efforts, all with the aim of interfaith cooperation to build social justice.
Sponsored by Interfaith Chaplaincy
For more information: Reverend Matt Carriker
Members of Brandeis Education Reformers club and guest speakers spoke about troubling recent developments in education both within the United States and abroad, including gender differences, juvenile criminal acts that used to be considered normal childhood behaviors, and increasing pressure in the school system. Possible solutions for education reform were discussed.
For more information: Josilyn Sacks
Uganda By Way of Boston & Hollywood: A Social Justice Journey
Actress Eliza Dushku and her mother, Suffolk University professor of politics Judy Dushku, spoke about the resilient Ugandans they met on an academic trip with Suffolk University students. The Dushkus’ relationships with these former child soldiers and formerly abducted women led to their philanthropic efforts in Uganda and their therapeutic organization, THRIVE Gulu, which seeks to help them heal from trauma by telling their stories and building their self-sufficiency and self-esteem. The Dushkus reported that many of the participants want Facebook accounts, email addresses, and filmmaking skills so they can tell their stories on their own terms, knowing that being heard is a large part of healing. Ethics Center director Dan Terris moderated the audience Q&A.
Thursday, February 7, 2013
A screening of the award-winning film Seoul Train, exposing the lives and deaths of North Koreans as they try to escape horrific human rights abuses in their homeland, was followed by a discussion with Dr. Sung-Yoon Lee from Tufts University. Lee pointed out that in every survey since 1972, North Korea comes in dead last as the world’s worst human rights violator. In his talk, Lee correctly predicted the following Sunday’s nuclear testing by North Korea, three days before it happened.
For more information: Sarah G. Kim
Representatives from the Boston Area Rape Crisis Center, Boston Public Health Commission, Casa Myrna, and Gay Men’s Domestic Violence Project comprised a panel, moderated by Caitlin Feuer from the Heller Gender Working Group. Panelists first spoke briefly about how each organization addresses different aspects of gendered violence. During breakout sessions run by the representative of each organization, topics were explored such as the culture of violence, domestic violence in LGBTQ relationships, and to how to be an ally. Then insights from each breakout were shared with the overall audience. For example, Jenny Efimora of Casa Myrna pointed out, “Society asks ‘why does the victim stay?’ instead of ‘why does the abuser abuse?’ The former question blames the victim, putting the onus on the victim to make change.”
For more information: Caitlin Feuer
Examining three business cases with ethical implications, audience members discussed difficult topics in business, ranging from the ethics of circumstances around tax-deductible contributions, to the ethics of bonuses with strings attached. Featured participant was Malcolm Sherman P’83, chair of the Brandeis University board of trustees and former head of several corporations including Zayre and Channel Home Centers.
Sponsored by International Business School
For more information: Professor Rob Angell
How can you decide what is the best way to focus your volunteer efforts? The group discussed local issues that college students can address by volunteering their time to help remediate. Lastly, the group debated the relative value of volunteering one’s time vs. donating money.
For more information: Sarah Johnson
Faculty and student panelists discussed student-generated questions as wide-ranging as “Why don’t people talk about how GLBTQs were targeted as well as Jews in the Holocaust?” and “Should the common college application have a box for sexual preference?” and “How do you feel about terminology -- words (including “queer” itself) that were or are intended to be pejorative but have been reclaimed by the queer community?” In answer to the question, “How is Brandeis doing?” Professor Bernadette Brooten (NEJS) answered, “I’ve been here 20 years, and I’ve seen a lot of progress, but we still have work to do.”
Sponsored by Queer Policy Alliance
For more information: Joe Babeu
Partly in honor of Black History Month, Brandeis University’s champion debate team – ranked #2 in the nation – put on a riveting debate about the nature of affirmative action and whether it should continue to be used in university admissions. The debate took into account different issues including ethics, economics, socioeconomic conditions and identity politics to fully engage in questioning the necessity and equality of the practice.
For full-screen video, click here.
For more information: David Altman
Friday, February 8, 2013
For more information: Jackie Blesso
Postponed due to blizzard.Sponsored by Interfaith Chaplaincy
For more information: Imam Talal Eid
Postponed due to blizzard.
Sponsored by Lurie Institute for Disability Policy and The Nathan and Toby Starr Center on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities
For more information: Michelle Techler
Friday, 2/8 - Sun 2/10
Brandeis Campus, 1970: Students Susan Saxe and Kathy Power catapult to the FBI's 10 Most Wanted List through their anti-Vietnam War actions. Brandeis Campus, 2013: 15 actors portray 53-plus historical characters in this original documentary play about a critical and resonating moment in Brandeis history. Students in Professor Joyce Antler’s spring 2012 class “History as Theater” wrote the play, based on their research of original records. A year later, the Free Play Theatre Cooperative performed the show, taking the stage despite a Boston blizzard raging outside. At least five of the people depicted in the play attended the Sunday afternoon session and participated in a talkback, sharing their feelings about watching actors portray chapters from their lives onstage.
For more information: Julian Seltzer
Sunday, February 10, 2013
Postponed due to blizzard.
Sponsored by Brandeis Beats
For more information: Aliza Gans
Monday, February 11, 2012
A panel of Brandeis workers, representing a broad swath of positions and number of years at the University, told their stories of their Brandeis work experiences: Crystal Germond, an admissions officer and part-time grad student at Heller (two years at Brandeis); Mayvorly Ramirez, a custodial staff member for seven years; and Jim Rosenbloom, a Brandeis librarian since 1976. They were joined by Harry Grill, from the labor union UNITE HERE. Several unions operate at Brandeis, with separate unions for food service workers, librarians, facilities workers, and public safety employees. Germond called the Brandeis workplace “an ecosystem, where everyone is valued, and where we acknowledge the hard work of everyone who makes the University run.”
For more information: David Duhalde-Wine
The Graduate Doers Club
Chaired by Enrique Levin of the International Business School, five presenters discussed their various efforts to improve the world. Levin talked about shifting perceptions in “Fixing the World, One Mind at a Time;” Edison Ndayambaje of the Heller School’s Sustainable International Development program spoke about “Tourism as an Opportunity for Social Justice,” using the Mgahinga Gorilla National Park in his native Uganda as an example; Inbal Ben Ezer of the Heller School’s Conflict and Coexistence program spoke about her work at the Sport Department of the Peres Center for Peace in her native Israel, using sports to build peace between Israelis and Palestinians; Jessica Lowell of the Department of Computer Science spoke about “Red Duct Tape Crosses: Being a Street Medic;” and Obioma Obikeze, a Heller School International Health Policy and Management student, spoke about “Findings from HIV/AIDS Treatment in Nigeria.” Levin commented, “In order to change the world, we don’t need to know how to fix it. We just need to do it.”
For more information: Enrique Levin
Photo Courtesy of BrandeisNOW
Thirty-seven alumni and guest speakers interacted with 150 students about how they turned their interest in social justice into a career. The five featured panelists were Massachusetts State Representative Tackey Chan '95 (Quincy); Ronald Glover '73, VP of Diversity & Workforce Programs at IBM; Sarah Emond, MPP '09, Chief Operating Officer at the Institute for Clinical and Economic Review at Massachusetts General Hospital’s Institute for Technology Assessment; Jodi Rosenbaum, Founder and Executive Director of More Than Words; and Sam Vaghar '08, Executive Director of the Millennium Campus Network. Professor Melissa Stimell gave opening remarks and Professor David Cunningham moderated the panel. Insights shared by the panelists included these words of wisdom: “try and try again;” “find a great mentor;” “there’s no ceiling on the number of mentors who can be useful to you;” “there’s a difference between doing work and being effective;” and “take risks for what you believe in.”
Sponsored by Hiatt Career Center, Career Development Center at the Heller School for Social Policy and Management, International Center for Ethics, Justice and Public Life, Department of Community Service, Office of Development and Alumni Relations, Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism.
For more information: Caroline O'Shea, or www.brandeis.edu/hiatt/news/sojust.html
Andrew Slack '02 spoke about his social justice journey from Brandeis undergraduate to founder of the Harry Potter Alliance (HPA), an internationally-known nonprofit that calls on Harry Potter fans to apply the story's themes to real-world issues of social justice. Slack mentioned his transformative Brandeis experiences, including his Sorensen Fellowship in Northern Ireland, sociology classes with Professor Maurie Stein, and a class with Prof. David Cunningham titled “Possibilities for Change in American Communities,” which included a 30-day bus trip with the 12 students and three instructors, traveling largely in the American South. Slack spoke of the work of HPA as “synthesizing personal stories, collective stories, and fantasy stories in holistic activism for systematic change,” claiming that “fantasy is not an escape from our world, but an invitation to go deeper into it.”
For more information: Flora Wang
Friday February 1 - Monday February 11, 2013
The International Center for Ethics, Justice and Public Life and the Student Union presents Brandeis University's second annual weeklong "festival of social justice." Students, professors, clubs, and academic departments planned dozens of events throughout the week, featuring talks, artmaking workshops, performances, exhibits, and discussions.