Ongoing Campus Dialogue Takes Committment…. Yours.

There is a significant event in Baker Hall tomorrow night. The Kenner Lecture series has invited Michele Norris back to campus to support campus wide conversations about race and it’s impact on our society. Many of us may have heard her speak at last year’s MLK Convocation. Her return this year includes a panel of noteworthy actors reading selections from her book, “A Grace of Silence” and “The Race Card Project.” And, if you’re a fan of our own, Dr. James Peterson, he will speak with Michele to take audiences behind-the-scenes of The Race Card Project and open up the conversation to the audience. 

Ms. Norris is one of the most respected voices in American journalism. As a National Public Radio host and special correspondent, she produces in-depth profiles, interviews and series. She also leads “The Race Card Project,” an initiative to foster a wider conversation about race in America. In the book she turns her insightful interviewing and investigative skills on her own background to unearth long hidden family secrets that raise questions about her racial legacy and shed new light on America’s complicated racial history. Tickets are free, but can’t stress enough that if you want to attend, you should reserve a ticket. If you reserve online, you will be charged a $3 service fee. Alternatively, stop by the Zoellner Box office today or tomorrow between noon and 5pm to pick yours up with no service charge.
Here’s a few thoughts to consider exploring to deepen your experience at the Kenner lecture Thursday, Jan 30th at 8pm.
In a recent tweet, Norris wrote about submissions to The Race Card Project, “Sometimes the comments that flow from a 6-word story are as interesting or arresting as the submission itself.” If you are on Twitter, we encourage you to follow @michele_norris to get a sense for how she encourages dialogue in many forums.
On December 4th, 2013, Lehigh University Africana Studies Post-Doctoral Fellow Imaani Jamilla El-Burki wrote an article for the Huffington Post, “College Students Are Unprepared to Talk about Racism.” We encourage everyone to read this article, again if necessary especially in tandem with the Kenner Lecture.
Another perspective to the issue of racism in America is available in the current exhibit in the Lehigh University Art Gallery inside Zoellner. 
image by William Earle Williams

image by William Earle Williams
Bishop Peter Spenser Memorial and Grave, Wilmington, Delaware, 2006

“A Stirring Song Sung Heroic: African Americans from Slavery to Freedom” is a series of black and white silver gelatin prints of photographs by William Earle Williams. Through his work, the artist asks, “What is freedom? How have we determined it for ourselves and how has it been determined for others in America? And how do the events of the past forever mark the landscapes of the present.”

It is clear that the climate issues on this campus resonate beyond our ivory towers. It’s time for all of us to remain active in the dialogue. We all must embrace a personal responsibility to understand cultural issues beyond our own ethnic, social, religious and sexual identities. This campus, its faculty, administrators, program directors, staff and student body has work to do. While many of the resources are available for those who seek insight, answers and connection, we can’t spoon feed you.

An ode to now being here a full year- Carly Novek

After dealing with some technological difficulties, I hope this blog post works so I know my posts in the future will as well!

As a reminder, I am a junior here at Lehigh University. The more it sinks in that it has been a year that I had first transferred here, the more I realize how old I am getting. Quite frankly, I also feel like an older college student now that I am in more 300 levels, and therefore have more intimate classes, and sadly what feels like a never ending amount of work. (And to think it is week 2…) I can’t complain too much though because I am at least taking interesting courses..

Despite being an Art History major, I have grown to love the field of Marketing, and take advantage of the ability to take courses in the business school. One of my classes this semester is a special topics course about retail. Not only do I love this course already because I like the retail field, and Professor Gallant- who is teaching it- is awesome, but because of the project my class will be working on throughout the semester. Dominique Brown is a student here at Lehigh who aspires to launch her fashion line called “Rind.” Not only is it the job of my classmates and I to help her launch it, but we will be producing a fashion exhibition of her pieces at the close of the semester! Dominique is a product design major who pretty much shifted it to be her own independent study revolved around fashion design and clothing construction. She presented her aspirations and influences to my class, and what she said really spoke to me. Not just personally did I connect to her belief that clothing is something constructed, like architecture for the body, concept, but holds true to much of what Lehigh is made up of. We are all studying something in arts & sciences, business, or engineering, and the way Dominique spoke about her line, and how she developed it, felt like a staple of what Lehigh would want to make of their students. Lehigh wants us to be hands on, innovative, creative, but also practical. The basis of her line and what she wants her line to represent does just that, which I feel makes it that much more special to essentially be a product of Lehigh and the Lehigh community compared to a more traditional fashion school.  (incase you’re wondering…she uses very unique fabrics, and carefully constructs pieces to fit the female form, but i’ll go into that more in future posts..)

This speaks to me because as I mentioned before, last spring was the first semester I was a student here. I only wanted to transfer to the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) in New York City because I knew I wanted to make it in the art/fashion industry and thought that was the place to redirect my college life. Clearly, I did not end up there. Though I sometimes wish I had opportunities that being in the city itself presents, I increasingly am thankful I wound up at Lehigh. Not only have so many of my professors been interesting and helpful, and classes have been interesting, but I continuously feel assured that I can still make it in the field by being a Lehigh student, and that others seek the same. I admire Dominique for not going to a traditional fashion school. She’s another example of Lehigh’s blossoming art community, while also posing as a representation of combining multiple aspects of Lehigh’s overall community and mindset.