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Saint Mary’s resumes ‘Justice Fridays’ lectures

| Monday, September 8, 2014

This past Friday, the Justice Education Program at Saint Mary’s College began its year-long “Justice Fridays” lecture series with an afternoon discussion about misconceptions and stereotypes women face.

Discussion leader and senior Jessica Richmond said the goal of the meeting was to discuss labels placed on women.

“I found myself facing labels and misconceptions once I hit high school … and the demeaning hold they take on women is a step in the wrong direction for our society,” she said. “I’m just one story. I want to hear other’s stories and brain storm ways to take a stand to these horrific terms and phrases used against women.”

After watching a brief video about the stereotypes women hold in society, program attendees shared labels, such as “tomboy,” “ditzy” and “promiscuous,” which they have experienced personally. Labels such as these are concrete examples of the barriers fellow students are up against, Richmond said.

“We can still be strong women with a man beside us, but when people come up with a strong voice, they are often criticized,” she said, “I don’t view myself as ornamental. I have my mind and so much more to offer.”

Media is the source of many misconceptions, Richmond said. In order to change what media is portraying, we must first think about the labels we give ourselves, she said.

“Media only portrays what we want to see, and if we say that what they are showing is not okay then eventually it will change,” she said, “We have to start small, with our inner circles.

“I think as a Saint Mary’s women we are empowered and we empower each other, which is phenomenal … now it is time to turn this out into the communities we reside in to make a change.”

First-year student Kendall Smith said she enjoyed the discussion and the stories shared by her classmates.

“I was really impressed with how many different opinions came up,” she said. “It was really comforting to know that other girls have the same ideas.”

The “Justice Fridays” program series is designed by Saint Mary’s Justice Education students and will continue all year, philosophy professor Adrienne Lyles-Chockley said. It allows students to combat issues they feel passionate about while enacting the mission of the Justice Education program in making the world a more just and peaceful place, she said.

“‘Justice Fridays’ are designed to stimulate a campus-wide dialogue on ways to identify and combat injustice, and on methods of advancing social justice,” she said. “By facilitating dialogues that encourage students to think in comprehensive and systemic ways, ‘Justice Fridays’ and the Justice Education program enable students to understand and analyze the experiences of the disenfranchised, to constructively respond to unjust situations and to develop concrete and sustainable methods of advancing justice.”

Speakers from the school and surrounding community will facilitate future discussions on topics including gender, racial, environmental, legal and economic justice, Chockley said. The meetings occur from 12-12:50 p.m. in the student center and are open to the public. Those interested in suggesting topics of discussion can contact Chockley at alylesch@saintmarys.edu.

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About Kathryn Marshall

Kathryn Marshall, Saint Mary's College '17, is a Biology and Humanistic Studies double major. Follow Kathryn on Twitter @kmarshallSMC

Contact Kathryn