by Kelly Cwik, Asst. A&E Editor
The Lasallian Women and Gender Resource Center, Campus Ministry and Social Action Suite and the Multicultural Center teamed up to have a watch party for Stacy Abrams Documentary, “All In: The Fight For Democracy” in honor of Intersectionality Week.
Intersectionality Week happened between Black History Month and Women’s History Month and was one of many events focusing on the intersection of social and political identities.
David Witzling, Ph.D. and program director of the Critical Race and Ethnic Studies Program, explained in an email to The Quadrangle the work that has been done to organize Intersectionality Week.
“The groups organizing Intersectionality Week have been meeting throughout the school year to coordinate events promoting antiracist practices and attitudes and the cause of racial justice,” Witzling wrote. “Stacey Abrams has been calling attention to attempts by many powerful politicians to restrict the voting rights of BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) communities. Her organization, Fair Fight, is at the forefront of the movement to get people to vote and to push back against efforts to restrict the vote.”
The documentary takes the viewer through the history of voter suppression involving many key activists, specifically Stacy Abrams. Witzling believed the documentary was a great way to encourage conversations about how race and gender play a role in the attempts to restrict voting rights.
“The documentary is a great introduction not just to Abrams’ work, but to the history of racialized voter suppression in the U.S.” Witzling wrote. “As with many practices in the contemporary U.S. that are, at best, neutral with regard to the problem of racial inequality, current attempts to restrict the vote have their origins in openly white supremacist practices that emerged after the emancipation of Black Americans. This is history that all of us need to know.”
Ashley Cross, Ph.D. and faculty co-director of the LWGRC learned a lot from the documentary in regards to voter suppression and the racist history of finding ways to discourage people of color from voting.
“The whole history of voter suppression, the racist history of disenfranchising Black people in particular from the vote, which goes [back to] reconstruction after the Civil War [which] was supposed to be this great moment of freedom and actually what we see there is the re-entrenchment of all these ways to disempower, the beginning of all these ways to disempower Black voters and Black politicians. So we saw the voting purge, the Voter ID, the gerrymandering, all of those things that were shown there.”
Naouras Mousa Almatar, Campus Ministry and Social Action Suite graduate assistant, believes this documentary was important to have to bring awareness of the events that have been happening in the United States, particularly the 2020 election.
“As part of intersectionality week, and based on the previous events of this past election, this documentary shows how the voting process for different communities is impacted by institutional and governmental racism, such as the racist policies that took away voting rights from people of color,” Almatar wrote in an email to The Quadrangle. “It was important to show this documentary to shed a light on these issues, spread awareness, and educate our students/community members and help them understand the root of the problem.”
Overall, Cross found the documentary to be encouraging and eye-opening to the importance of the right to vote.
“It is inspirational. It shows how important voting is right, and why it’s really important to work against things like voter purges and voter ID and gerrymandering and all those other kinds of things. I think, to me it was really inspirational about why votes, really, really, really matter.”
Almatar is hopeful the watch-party was educational and that students left with a better understanding of the problems people of color encounter with the voting system.
“I’m hoping that this event will have a good impact on our students, and help us all understand some of the deeper issues that are rooted within our voting system when it comes to people of color, and how we can all work together to maintain a decent display of democracy in the U.S,” Almatar wrote.
Jilleen Barrett & Caroline McCarthy
A&E Editor &
Asst. Features Editor
The MC Singers continue to harmonize their way through the year in a hybrid format. After transitioning from the group’s home in Thomas 517 to the COVID-accommodating chapel, they have found a way to make their challenges work for them.
Maxwell Everett, a senior and the vice president of Singers, spoke about the attitude of the group despite rehearsals being different.
“All singers are 12 feet apart, we all wear masks during rehearsal,” Everett said. “So there was a bit of a learning curve in that sense, just getting used to a new practice space and being able to hear each other while we’re so far apart. But I think that, you know, the board has done an excellent job in COVID safety, as well as making sure that everybody’s still getting to rehearsal, making sure attendance is high and that most of all everybody’s having a good time.”
Marissa Forte is the treasurer of the club and feels that moving to the chapel for rehearsals was a good idea, for both safety and their singing.
“I really like the chapel and I think that it has really good acoustics in there so I think that’ll be like a positive thing that came out of it,” she said.
A remote student this semester, Forte understands the experiences of remote students involved with the performing arts. In addition to being the treasurer, she is also the designated executive board member in charge of remote participation.
“This semester, we wanted to have more interaction with the remote people,” she said. “So, now that I’m remote and I’m a board member I’m trying to run the virtual choir part. So basically we just do the same things that the in-person part does but we just do it in a virtual setting… so we’re kind of caught up and then when it’s time to like record it we’ll all be on the same page.”
In lieu of in-person performances, Singers took initiative to pre-record songs for Manhattan College events they typically attend including Open Houses and Lessons and Carols, their annual Christmas event, which also took place online this year.
“…They had helicopter-type drone things come in and recorded us really close up and they got helicopter view, it was really cool,” Forte said. “So I think that was a really nice thing that came out of it too because now we have this nice video that we wouldn’t have had if we had a concert like that.”
Everett also discussed how he hopes more people will get involved in Singers, particularly because there is a scholarship offered to incoming freshmen that he wants more Manhattan applicants to be aware of.
“…It’s sort of hard to find on the Manhattan web page, but we offer a scholarship to those who are talented in music,” he said. “You have to be in two ensembles, so for me, I’m in Jazz Band and Singers and it’s just a great way to highlight the people who are really passionate about music.”
A typical Spring semester would promise Singers a long-awaited opportunity to travel to another state, where they would perform at other colleges and high schools. During the Canada trip of 2019, Singers also performed at a Canadian mass.
Calista Baker, the secretary of Singers, recounts the trip was a great experience for the club’s members to perform in spaces outside of the Manhattan College campus. The 2020 Spring trip was cancelled due to COVID just weeks before the group was scheduled to leave.
“Last year  we were supposed to go to San Francisco,” said Baker. “But we got sent home right before Spring Break. Obviously travelling wouldn’t have been a safe option at that point last year or again this year.”
Though hopes for a trip this year are low, Baker remains hopeful to attend another trip with her Singers family before the conclusion of her senior year in 2022.
“I’ve met like a lot of my really close friends from [Singers],” said Baker. “It’s not like a crazy commitment and the performances are always really fun. I look forward to [performances] at the end of each semester. It’s something I love doing.”
For more information on Singers, or how to get involved visit the Clubs and Organizations page on Manhattan College’s website.