‘Post-Roe America’ panelists discuss Indiana abortion law, marginalized groups 

The Notre Dame Gender Studies Program hosted a teach-in and discussion featuring a panel of local experts on Post-Roe America on Wednesday afternoon. The panelists discussed the recent Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization Supreme Court decision and Indiana’s new abortion law and its effects with an emphasis on marginalized groups.

The event was also sponsored by the Initiative on Race and Resilience, in partnership with the Indiana University South Bend (IUSB) Civil Rights Heritage Center. The panelists included Notre Dame professors Tamara Kay and Christina Wolbrecht, IUSB professor April Lidinsky, post-doctorate fellow Kate McCabe, community activist Charlotte Pfeifer and Darryl Heller, the director of the IUSB Civil Rights Heritage Center.

The discussion revolved around the intersection of faith and support for abortion rights.

Kay said people who support abortion are likely the majority, even at a Catholic school like Notre Dame.

“There are a lot of women of faith who support rights to reproductive freedom and justice,” Kay said. “It’s important for those of us who are willing to speak up to speak out. Otherwise, it appears that there aren’t that many of us when we’re probably the majority.”

Lidinsky agreed, extrapolating Kay’s point to the national level.

“The majority of people in the U.S. and in Indiana support access to the full range of reproductive health care that includes abortion,” Lindinsky said.

Kay said her faith and conscience implore her to think about the repercussions of these policies that affect the people she cares for.

Kay said she believes her conscience is as legitimate as what the Church tells her. She added that her “stance on [the abortion] issue comes from a profound sense of faith and the dignity of women.”

Pfeifer also discussed how her faith drives her beliefs in abortion rights.

“I want you to know that you can be a deep person of faith and you can be pro-choice,” she said. 

Several panel members also agreed that anti-abortion policies disproportionately affect minorities and people of color.

Wolbrecht referenced Jim Crow Laws in the first half of the 20th century as an example of laws that constrained Black people’s freedoms. Heller said anti-abortion laws are examples of someone else imposing their will and morality onto others.

“[Patriarchy and white supremacy] have been used to dominate other people, and this has shaped our country and the present,” Heller said. 

Pfeifer said the U.S. was built on the backs of underrepresented people, many of whom didn’t have bodily autonomy.

“To me, choice means everything,” she said. 

McCabe said authorities can punish women for their behaviors while pregnant, which disproportionately affects marginalized groups.

“Culturally, we have internalized this narrative that some people’s reproduction is problematic,” McCabe said.

She said Indiana’s abortion law makes allows women to be be criminalized on either side of their pregnancy.

“You’d be criminalized for seeking an abortion, but you could also be criminalized for just remaining pregnant,” McCabe said. 

She said this is problematic because only focusing on access to abortion ignores conversations about systematic failures that were present when Roe was in effect and continue to affect people post-Roe. 

McCabe said focusing just on abortion access can distract from broader conversations about marginalization during the era of Roe v. Wade. 

“If we are focusing too narrowly on legal abortion and access to legal abortion, we are missing out on important conversations around all of the ways that people have been marginalized already through their reproduction and reproductive behavior,” McCabe said.

Heller said the reversal of Roe v. Wade is an example of history repeating itself.

“It is one of the ways history expands and contracts and repeats itself,” Heller said. “There is a real attempt to try to narrow the range of rights that we all possess.”

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State Senator Monique Limón discusses elevating voices, women in politics

On Friday morning in the Hesburgh Center Auditorium, California State Senator Monique Limón spoke about the intersection between her experience working in public office and her Latina identity. The lecture is part of Hispanic Heritage Month and was hosted by the Hesburgh Program in Public Service and the Institute for Latino Studies. 

Limón is a first-generation college student and was born and raised in Santa Barbara, California. She graduated from the University of California, Berkeley and received her master’s degree from Columbia University.

In 2016, Limón won the State Assembly seat and in 2020, she won the State Senate seat. She serves the nineteenth Senate District, which includes Santa Barbara County and part of Ventura County. 

Limón is the first woman of color to be elected from the district to the State Assembly and the first person of color from the district to be elected to the State Senate. 

Although she represents a mostly white voter base, demographics are changing, and “as issues become more complicated and include many different communities, we are starting to branch out to think about who reflects the values that are important for the voters,” Limón said. “With my background, I have felt not just an honor to represent my community, but also a way to bridge stereotypes.”

Women make up just over 30 percent of the California State Legislature, but over 50 percent of California’s population.

Limón said there needs to be “an individual and collective commitment to ensure there are more marginalized communities represented in public office,” and women need to see others they identify with and support in these positions. 

Another problem Limón identified in her community is that, when people think of Santa Barbara, they only think of the pockets of wealth.

“This makes other people in my community invisible,” she said. 

It’s been important as a representative to ensure the voices of the community who aren’t always at the table are elevated and do so in a way that creates more allies, Limón said.

Before she became involved in politics, Limón was a member of the Santa Barbara Unified School District Board of Education, and her educational background taught her about the issues she cares about from a policy perspective. She worked with many students who were the first in their families to go to college and qualified for financial aid. 

“I very quickly understood that the issues that our community cares about weren’t limited to the classroom, because it turns out that whatever’s happening in the community is going to show up in the classroom,” Limón said. 

She became involved with non-profit community organizations to help students, and this motivated her to make the switch from implementing policy to creating it.

Limón said her connection to her community and her large network of students and their families made her a successful candidate for public office. 

She was able to build this network because she grew up in a big household with a large extended family.

“Family has taught me a lot about politics,” Limón said. “There are times when you have to break bread with individuals and not always agree with them.”

Her family also taught her important skills that helped her persevere when running for office.

“My parents always taught me the skills that it takes to work hard to overcome barriers and move forward,” she said. 

Although Limón’s commitment to higher-level education has influenced her policies, she said people assumed that when she got to the legislature she was only going to focus on education, since that was her strength.

“I did go in really focused on education, and I had this history being on the school board, and I cared a lot about it. But what happens when you’re in office is that, sometimes, you don’t get to pick what you work on,” Limón said. 

A year into her term was the beginning of the Thomas Fire. The fire affected Ventura and Santa Barbara counties and was the largest fire in California for six months. Over 100,000 people were evacuated from her district.

“And at that moment, no matter how much I cared about education, I had to turn immediately to become a policy expert in natural disasters,” Limón said.

She explained that she had to use her skill set to tackle different issues.

“I’ve always been a big believer that no matter what you do in life, you have to know how to transfer your professional, academic, intellectual and interpersonal communication skill sets to every environment,” she said. 

Some of Limón’s most important policies have been in different areas not related to her educational background.

“Most of the policy that I’m known for is actually not education,” Limón said. “I’m known for environmental policy, consumer protections, women’s issues and natural disasters.” 

Limón said she hopes to act in the best interest of the communities she serves, and her main goal is to elevate the needs of the individuals in these communities.

“I have adapted to being a leader that the community needs of me, and the community will decide when they no longer need the skill sets and the values that I move forward,” she said.

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Eating Disorder Awareness Club educates on body image, resources

Editor’s note: This article contains discussions of eating disorders.

The Eating Disorder Awareness Club (EDAC) was founded by Julia O’Grady, a senior at Saint Mary’s College, during the summer of 2021. Since then, the club has expanded to include a Notre Dame chapter led by junior Mollie McKone. The Saint Mary’s and Notre Dame chapters work together, and EDAC represents the tri-campus community. 

McKone explained that the mission of EDAC is to build a community with those afflicted by eating disorders.

The mission of EDAC is “to make a place where people can find resources and find other people who may have struggled in the past and have a community and a network of people they can talk to,” McKone said. 

O’Grady said previously, there was no organization on campus allocated for eating disorders, and she formed the club to be a place for education.

EDAC was formed to “advocate for those who have experienced, are experiencing or may be at risk for experiencing an eating disorder,” she said. “The goal is to educate and break down stigmas that are associated with eating disorders and to promote awareness about the proper way to go about educating about eating disorders.”

MccKone seconded the need to destigmatize eating disorders.

“We saw a need for an organization that advocated [for] and recognized that there needs to be a culture shift on college campuses about the way we look at eating and the way we have discourse about eating and exercising and recognizing that there is a real problem,” McKone said. 

McKone explained that eating disorders are prevalent on college campuses due to people attempting to gain control over their lives during a time of change.

“Unfortunately, food and exercise are really easy things to grasp on to [and control], and a lot of people find themselves in an unhealthy situation,” McKone said. 

EDAC hopes to bring attention to the resources that are available on campus for those who may be struggling with an eating disorder, McKone said.  

“The University Counseling Center (UCC) has a [few] therapists that specialize in eating disorders. But, they were seeing such an influx in cases of not only people who are being diagnosed with eating disorders, but people who are coming back from residential treatment reintegrating into Notre Dame,” McKone said. “The UCC doesn’t have the resources for [this demand].”

O’Grady explained that EDAC hopes to supplement the services offered by UCC with its own events. The club plans to host a mindfulness yoga event to work on developing healthy coping mechanisms. EDAC will also plan weekly trips to the grocery store to provide people with a safe space and extra support while grocery shopping.

Another initiative is the body positive project which is being led by sophomore Bella Henriques, McKone noted.

“[The movement] was started through Stanford research which talks about how food insecurity creates eating habits and how the way we talk about diet culture affects eating disorders,” she explained.

The goal of the project is to train people to run discussion sessions and equip them with the necessary resources to talk about eating and exercising. These sessions will be free for anyone to attend, whether they are a part of the club or not, McKone said. 

In addition, EDAC is looking forward to participating in National Eating Disorders Awareness Week (NEDAwareness Week). NEDAwareness Week takes place the last week of February and is a campaign to educate people about eating disorders and support those affected by eating disorders. 

Last year for NEDAwareness Week, EDAC partnered with Active Minds for “In Our Own Words,” a student-led conversation where students sent in submissions about their experiences with eating disorders and shared their stories. Other events included conversations about body image and a candlelight vigil at the Grotto, McKone explained.

Although EDAC is a relatively new club, they are looking to gain new members and form a Holy Cross chapter, McKone said. Anyone in the tri-campus community is welcome to join the club or attend any of the events. 

O’Grady said the most memorable part of being involved with EDAC has been getting to know people from the tri-campus.

“[I enjoy] getting to know girls at St. Mary’s that I probably wouldn’t have crossed paths with otherwise. They have been so supportive in my recovery journey,” she said.

EDAC has group meetings every month and more information can be found on EDAC’s Instagram @ed_awareness_club.

Caroline Collins

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ND AAHD majors display “Ongoing Matter” exhibit on the Mueller Report

“Ongoing Matter: Democracy, Design and the Mueller Report” is a project created to educate and help people interact with the information presented in the “Report On The Investigation Into Russian Interference In The 2016 Presidential Election”, also known as the Mueller Report.

The exhibit is presented by the department of art, art history and design (AAHD) and was designed by co-creators Anne Berry and Sarah Martin. The project is on display in the AAHD Gallery in 214 Riley Hall until Sept. 29. 

The Mueller Report was published in 2019. The report documents the findings of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian efforts to interfere with the 2016 U.S. presidential election and allegations of Donald Trump’s campaign coordinating with Russia to undermine the election. 

Berry, an associate professor at Cleveland State University, said the goal of the exhibit is to make the Mueller Report more digestible for the general public.

“The objective [of the project] was to take sections of the Mueller report and make it easier to understand for a general audience through the medium that we are most familiar with, which is graphic design,” Berry said.

Another goal was for the exhibit to be collaborative. Berry said she and Martin, who is an assistant professor at the University, reached out to their design friends and had a group of designers come together to talk about the report. The group responded to the prompt by making posters, she said. 

Jessica Barness, one of the designers featured in the exhibit noted that the exhibit is a more effective form of communion.

“Through visual communication, designers can convey meaning in ways that words alone cannot,” she said in an email. “‘Ongoing Matter’ leverages the power of posters and draws upon histories of political and social issue posters.”

Another designer, Andre Murnieks remarked that he enjoyed their artists’ use of posters.

“Posters are a good medium to get a message out about something important and timely,” he said.

Berry, exhibit co-creator and an assistant professor at Cleveland State University, said the goal of the exhibit is to make the Mueller Report more digestible for the general public. Photo by Caroline Collins.

Murnieks said the biggest challenge he faced during the design process was encapsulating all of the information from the report into a few posters. Murnieks’ poster is based on a handwritten letter that was included in the Mueller Report.

“The letter is being decoded as you look at the poster,” he said.

According to Martin, the Mueller Report failed to communicate information effectively, and she hopes the art installation will help people engage with the material presented in the report in a more delightful way. 

“It’s tantalizing, it’s enticing, it’s visual, it’s the exact opposite of what the report was. The augmented reality is meant to delight a viewer, it’s meant to engage someone in a report that’s dry and dense,” Martin said. “The goal is to have people engage verbatim with the language of the report.”

Martin further explained that the report was a design failure because it was 448 pages long, 12 point Times New Roman font, contained legal jargon that would be unfamiliar to the general reader and the original report was later redacted. 

“A bad design can shape the future. It can change how people think about things and respond to things,” Martin said.

The exhibit is meant for everyone and it is a nonpartisan, grassroots design initiative aimed at encouraging people to engage with the government, Martin said. 

Berry explained that there was a public interest and media frenzy surrounding the report. She also stated the exhibit is an investigation of how information is presented and interpreted and serves as “an investigation about design and design solutions.”

“The content is political, but our approach has been an investigation of the imagery and the language of what’s buried in the report,” Berry said. “We are trying to emphasize that this is a case study about how important information is being communicated. The larger issue is how government entities communicate information.”


University Peace Plaza construction to be completed this fall

The Our Lady of the Lake World Peace Plaza is in its final stages of construction and will be finished this fall according to university architect Doug Marsh. 

“It’s a place that we hope will become another of our many sacred places here on campus,” Marsh said. “I hope that [it will be] inspiring to all that come and enjoy the plaza and [its] beautiful surroundings.” 

March noted the plaza is at the intersection of foot traffic including walkers, runners and others who enjoy the paths around St. Mary’s Lake

“It’s a place of respite and refuge from busy days and busy campus life that will be attractive to 

everyone,” Marsh said. “It’s a great vantage point, so we felt that it was the best location to have a place like this where [people] can stop and sit on the benches and enjoy the natural surroundings.” 

Sophomore Catie Berkemeier noted the new plaza will increase the natural appeal of the lake.

“It will add to the scenery of the lake and be something people can appreciate as they look out at campus,” she said.   

Marsh said the idea for the Our Lady of the Lake World Peace Plaza was born from the Prayer for World Peace. 

The prayer was inspired by William Pulte, master builder and community member, who passed away in Mar. 2018. 

This prayer will be the focal point of the plaza, Marsh said. The prayer will be displayed on a granite disk in six different languages with a fountain of water flowing over it. There will also be a landscaping installation with plants and trees. 

Construction began in the summer of 2021 and the project has been underway for a year. 

“The site has a lot of challenges with the kind of soil that is available, so we had to take many measures to mitigate that, and it took a little longer than we had hoped, but the result will be worthwhile,” Marsh said. 

In addition to the Our Lady of the Lake World Peace Plaza, three other construction projects are happening on campus. 

“One is the continuation of the McCourtney Hall research facility,”  Marsh said. “To the north of that adjacent to Johnson Family Hall and across the quad from Dunne Hall is a new residence hall for men that will open in Aug. 2024. The other major construction on campus is the Raclin Murphey Museum of Art that will open in late 2023.” 

Caroline Collins

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