by, Jocelyn Visnov, Staff Writer
The Campus Ministry and Social Action Suite held their most recent Slice of Social Justice event this past Wednesday, Oct. 14. This lecture series, typically done while enjoying some delicious pizza, has been moved to an entirely virtual format for this semester. However, this has not stopped CMSA from providing students with valuable information on the social justice topics that matter most.
This week’s presentation was led by Margaret Groarke, a professor of political science. Groarke has taught a plethora of different classes on both United States government and European history. She has also been heavily involved with CMSA. This week’s Slice of Social Justice event surrounded the topic of voter suppression. As the co-author of a book called Keeping Down the Black Vote, Groarke is highly knowledgeable on the topic.
“I think voter suppression is un-American,” Groarke said. “I think it is a very American idea that every eligible person should be able to state their case and vote their values. And then we should gather that together and make policy out of it. But I think it’s also sadly a very American thing to engage in voter suppression.”
For those who may have missed out on this past week’s event, Groarke shares her main piece of advice in regards to the upcoming election.
“We have to be ready to cut through the hysteria of this election,” Groarke said. “We have to be ready to be calm, and we might have to wait a couple of days to have a final count on some of the elections that happen, and because there are so many mail ballots. And I think we have to be aware that different people, including Russians, are going to try to use social media to get people riled up around the election. And so we should all be skeptical of things that we read on social media, especially on election day. Try to check with alternative sources before sharing the latest outrage from social media. We don’t want to be part of the problem.”
While CMSA would prefer to hold this lecture series in person, one of the advantages to hosting it in a virtual format is that it’s easier than ever for students to drop in and listen. Wednesday’s event had about 35 people in attendance. Emily Gianni, a freshman and first time attendee of Slice of Social Justice, shared her thoughts.
“It was a great way to open up a conversation and learn something you may or may not know about,” Gianni said. “The event was extremely informative and it wasn’t biased towards one side of a situation.”
Each Slice of Social Justice event covers a different topic, opening up a new conversation about equality and activism each month. Kathleen Von Euw, the assistant director of community engagement, shared how the topics are chosen.
“We have a number of students that work in our office, so we have work study students, and graduate students, and so sometimes different student organizations will bring a topic to us,” Von Euw said. “We’ve often collaborated with Just Peace, a student club, or the Catholic Relief Services student group. We’ve also collaborated a lot the last few years with the Lasallian Women and Gender Resource Center … Also like the signs of the times, like what’s going on in the world right now. And within our country and local community.”
The next Slice of Social Justice event will be taking place virtually this Friday, Oct. 23. This week’s discussion is titled “The Intersection between Environment and Racial Justice.” Students can access the link to this event on CMSA’s website.
For anyone who is looking to become more involved in social justice activities, or other clubs on campus, Von Euw shares some advice on how to get started.
“I think the best way to get involved on campus is to try to attend a few events, whether they’re virtual or in person, that are in line with what you’re interested in,” Von Euw said. “And then ask, when you’re there, or shoot an email to the people organizing the event, to see about other ways to get involved with that club or organization or that office.”