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Speaker addresses justice, Martin Luther King, Jr. legacy

| Thursday, January 19, 2017

Diversity and Inclusion Officer for the city of South Bend, Christina Brooks, spoke at Mass on Wednesday night in Le Mans Hall, instructing students to remain vocal about issues that concern them if they want to make valuable change in their communities.

“If your voice is missing, the revolution doesn’t take place,” she said. “Justice doesn’t lead to peace if women are silent.”

According to Brooks, women play an integral role in establishing justice.

“Women are the paradigm shifters, the change makers,” she said. “We’re the life givers. We’re the pivot points. We are what brings the revolution.”

Brooks said women should maintain a sense of pride for the women who came before them and stood up for their beliefs in the face of adversity and judgment. These figures can serve not only as examples, but also as sources of inspiration, she said.

“When we think about Martin Luther King [Jr.], he is indeed the face of the Civil Rights Movement,” she said. “But Rosa Parks [also] said, ‘Not today.’”

Women should embrace life’s difficulties with patience and understanding, for they must often undergo challenges while promoting just causes, according to Brooks.

“In this day and time, God is still calling out to the women not to be complacent, to be troubled in your spirit so the change will come,” she said. “Where is your voice? It’s a call to action.”

Brooks said as a young girl, her grandfather would always tell her not to be tired. She said she embraces this mentality in her role as Diversity and Inclusion Officer, since she strives to devote herself wholeheartedly to fostering a welcoming community in South Bend.

“I can’t get tired,” Brooks said. “I’m never finished. My job doesn’t allow me to be complacent.”

According to Brooks, her profession enables her to advocate for increased diversity and inclusion in the workplace, workforce and community. Her passion for improving these particular conditions motivates her to do her job to the best of her ability, she said.

“Understanding the fullness of individual identity is how we … define diversity,” she said. “It’s almost a necessity to have a troubled spirit in what I do because if my spirit is quiet, something’s probably not right.”

Brooks said people may feel discouraged if they do not make viable progress while advancing their just cause, but they must continue to resist hate and exclusion.

“To be in a constant state of knowing that you have to make change — it can wear on you,” Brooks said. “But God doesn’t give us anything more than what we can handle.”

Students should ponder how they can enhance the world around them, since their unique contributions will fortify the movement to achieve justice and equality, Brooks said.

“Think about what your voice will add,” she said. “That’s how we move the rest of Dr. King’s legacy forward.”

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About Martha Reilly

Martha is a senior majoring in English literature and political science. She currently serves as Saint Mary's editor but still values the Oxford comma in everyday use.

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