Conversations with Sheila: Christmas, Year-end thoughts

Diversity Today

December

What a busy season! This issue includes year-end thoughts and reminders for J-Break and the start of spring semester.  First, finish strong! Take your learning to the next level and leave your professor with a very favorable impression of you.   Push yourself to get you best grades of the semester. Then, enjoy Christmas break. 

Diversity Today resumes in February.  When you return for J-Term, have a great J! Don’t forget to stop by and see us, when you have time.   If you are abroad or away, take some pictures of your experiences and share them with us.   If you are at home or with friends for J-Term, enjoy! 

Kwanzaa:  December 13th chapel and celebration on December 14th.  Get tickets now!!!

Kwanzaa is celebrated by many African-Americans.  The holiday marks the commitment among African-Americans to build families and support communities in order to reclaim the promise of full humanity.  The holiday was created by Malanua Ron Karenga to celebrate black culture and to foster connections among African-descended people whose heritage was denied by years of slavery, Jim Crow, and post-apartheid forms of racism.   

We celebrate Kwanzaa at Luther because a holiday that acknowledges African-American heritage provides a perfect opportunity to share values inspired by the African-American experience with the entire community.  At Luther, all are welcome to Kwanzaa.  People from all backgrounds on campus and in the community honor this African-American tradition with family oriented entertainment, traditional food from the black diaspora, and a gallery of African-American heroes.  As students and faculty explain the traditions and meanings of Kwanzaa, they are bridging cultural differences by sharing one exciting tradition with many other groups.  Kwanzaa was founded to remind us that America was built on the immense human suffering of African and other people.  For example, we remember the forced labor of slaves, the vast lands taken from native peoples, and the exploited labor of immigrants and their families.  Kwanzaa acknowledges that America’s history that has not always been worthy its ideals.  But even as we acknowledge our legacy, we recommit ourselves to the work of building a more just and peaceful world.  There are seven principles of building our community as African Americans. Come and learn what they are during Chapel on December 13.  The next evening, join us and see what makes this celebration one of the most exciting on campus!  If you have gifts(talents) to share contact: Lilliana Peetsch-Horvath at petsli01@luther.edu. Looking forward to seeing you at Kwanzaa, Luther style!

Black History Symposium

For eleven years, Luther College has sponsored a black history conference to explore issues related to race, to understand experiences throughout the black diaspora, and to celebrate the contributions of African-Americans to US and world history.   This year marks our second symposium titled Sport, Media and Race.  The symposium will be held on February 19-20, 201.

Sport, Media and Race encourages participants to think beyond the global appetite for sports celebrities and explore commonly held beliefs about the athletic abilities of African-descended people. Our goal is to consider how sport and the media both challenge and reinforce racial assumptions in American society and world culture. The symposium features a Plenary Lecture by David Epstein author of the New York Times bestseller, The Sports Gene: Inside the Science of Extraordinary Athletic Performance. The event also features a lecture by Douglas Hartman, a sport sociologist whose research explores race, sport, politics, and public policy.  The event concludes with a Respondent Panel that explores the themes presented in the lectures and includes Thomas Johnson, a sport researcher in the Communications Studies department; Emerald Jane Hunter, Luther alumna and media producer, and Benny Boyd football coach at University of North Dakota.  Luther student Ian Carstens’ exhibit visually explores athletics, race, gender, and embodiment.  The exhibit will be available throughout the symposium. 

The symposium commemorates the legacy of Wilma Rudolph. Wilma Rudolph was chosen as the legacy honoree for this symposium because of her athletic ability and her personal story.  At the age of six, she lost the use of her left leg due to polio and was fitted with metal leg braces. Although Rudolph grew up in a poor family, her brothers and sisters took turns massaging her crippled leg every day and her mother, a domestic worker, drove Wilma 90 miles round trip to therapy in Nashville once a week.  In the 1960 Rome Olympics, 5’11” Wilma Rudolph became the fastest woman in the world and the first American woman to win three gold medals in one Olympics.  She won the 100 and 200 meter races and anchored the US team to victory in the 4x100 meter relay.  Wilma Rudolph was voted into the Black Athletes Hall of Fame in 1973 and the National Track and Field Hall of Fame in 1974. Read more

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