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Alum News Round-Up: March 2017

By March 2, 2017March 6th, 2017No Comments

Rockwood has thousands of alums doing incredible work all over the world, so it’s no surprise they often pop up in the news.

Here’s the latest from the Rockwood network:

  • Linda Sarsour helped raise $56,000 for the St. Louis-area Jewish cemetery that was vandalized:

Linda Sarsour, who played a prominent role in organizing the Women’s March on Washington following US President Donald Trump’s inauguration in January and was a leading surrogate for US Senator Bernie Sanders during the Democratic primaries, started the fundraising campaign with activist Tarek El-Messidi to raise $20,000 for repairs.

  • Joanna Natasegara won an Oscar for the Netflix documentary short “White Helmets”:

Accepting the award on stage, Manchester-born Ms Natasegara broke into tears as she said: “Most of all – thank you to the White Helmets.”

She was greeted with a standing ovation by the audience as a message from the absent Syrian film maker was read out by director von Einsiedal urging them to “work on the side of life to stop the bloodshed in Syria and around the world”.

  • Van Jones talked Ava Duvernay’s 13th & prison reform with Vanity Fair:

“It’s devastating and important,” Jones says of the film, which also features interviews with figures like Angela Davis and Cory Booker. “There are very few things that you see or read that you literally wish were mandatory viewing for the country.”

  • Ramla Sahid was profiled in the San Diego Union Tribune for her work with refugees:

“It was clear to me that San Diego and the state really has a robust infrastructure of programs for immigrants,” she said. “There are people in agencies that are very capable in providing services — the (International Rescue Committee), Catholic Charities, Jewish Family Service.

“What we didn’t have was any investment in building the voice of refugees.”

  • Andrew Gillum is running for Governor of Florida:

  • Suzanne Hawkes is part of a team of trainers and organizational experts launching an executive leadership certificate program at Canada’s Simon Fraser University:

“They’ll also get coaching,” Hawkes said. “They’ll work on their own impact project, and they’ll have a lot of support to develop an individual leadership plan tailored for their ongoing development after.”

  • Alicia Garza and Opal Tometi, along with fellow #BlackLivesMatter co-founder Patrisse Cullors, were featured in a piece on black activists building more inclusive movements:

That message of affirmation continues to resonate far beyond Garza’s words — and it’s what makes the movement she co-founded (along with Cullors and Opal Tometi) so different from the fights for civil rights that came before. From Gandhi to Martin Luther King Jr. to Nelson Mandela, social justice movements have always been about more than their courageous and inspirational leaders. It’s the multitude of diverse individuals who unified behind a common cause that propelled movements forward.

“Nicole Berner has been a valuable advocate for the rights of working Americans throughout her decade-long tenure at SEIU,” said Henry. “She has a sharp legal mind, and is unfailingly dedicated to ensuring all working families have the opportunity to get ahead and join together in strong organizations to have a say at work and in their communities. Nicole is already a valued leader in the SEIU legal department and there’s no one better to step into this role at such a crucial time for our nation.

  • Rockwood alums including Gordon Whitman and Andrea Cristina Mercado were part of the U.S. Regional World Meeting of Popular Movements, an intiative of the Catholic Church that brought together over 600 grassroots community leaders to discuss issues impacting the world today:

At this moment of fear and anxiety, we urge our clergy and faith communities to speak and act boldly in solidarity with our people. As Cardinal Tobin shared with us, sometimes our faith leaders need to walk out in front and show that they are not afraid either. We ask our Catholic Bishops to write a covenant that spells out specific actions that dioceses and parishes should take to protect families in the areas of immigration, racism, jobs, housing, and the environment.

“The kind of work that Smith students are engaged in right now is the work that all of us in social movements need to be doing. Students are being incredibly introspective and self-aware, while at the same time exhibiting intense curiosity. I got to spend some time recently at the Design Thinking Initiative, where students are prototyping new answers and experimenting with building a world that no one has seen before. Young people understand that we don’t have single-issue lives. They see all of the issues we’re working on as connected. We’re at a moment where so many of us are under attack. I’m happy to see that we are not splintering.”

  • Opal Tometi talked about the consequences of American immigration policy with Coveteur:

“Sadly, the struggles that our communities have faced are structural. We have a flawed immigration system that does not account for the reasons people migrate in the first place. Oftentimes, people are literally forced to leave their home country because of economic instability, famine, and war. As a society, I think we missed that. We’ve been missing it for decades!”

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