Tag Archives: Social Justice

Ursuline celebrates ‘Preservation Month’

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Sarah and Hannah joined other HiPsters in presenting a booth at EarthFest 2014. Over 15,000 people attended Ohio’s premier environmental education event.

In Centennial, author James A. Michener asserts “During the few years allotted to each of us, we are the guardians of our earth, the custodians of our heritage, and the caretakers of our future.”

What an inspiring affirmation for preserving cultural memory and the intersections between Historic Preservation and environmental responsibility! The above statement encourages emphasis on the importance of the land and distinctive sense of place in our personal and national identity.

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Sister Henrietta, CSA: An Example of Giving

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By Timothy K. Kinsella, Ph.D., head of the History Department and Director of the Master of Liberal Arts Program at Ursuline College. 

Sister Henrietta, CSA (1902-1983), serves as a wonderful example of an individual going outside of herself, in this case to help the invisible poor in the Hough area, an inner city neighborhood on Cleveland’s east side. Prior to her work in Hough, she had already developed intellectual and administrative skills through her past positions in hospital work, and combined them with her heart’s yearning of service to the poor.

Marie Gorris, Sister Henrietta’s baptismal name, entered the Sisters of Charity in 1925 shortly after receiving an R.N .degree from Canton’s Mercy Hospital School of Nursing. She then worked at Mercy Hospital and Timken Mercy Medical Center between 1928 and 1962. Examples of her many titles include; night supervisor, supervisor of surgery, head administrator, supervisor of construction, and fundraiser. These skills would later be of invaluable help in Hough.

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H.E.L.P. Malawi journey: last day

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Final thoughts from the H.E.L.P. Malawi Ursuline College team: Tiffany Mushrush Mentzer, Rhianna McChesney, Taylor Bruno, Maggie Stark and Molly Sabolsky.

Tiffany Mushrush Mentzer. As I sit in the Dulles Airport waiting for our final flight back to Cleveland, I can’t imagine a better trip with Maggie, Molly, Rhianna, Taylor and the entire H.E.L.P. Malawi team. It may have been my third trip, but each visit gets better and better with new and exciting experiences. I was able to visit the local secondary school this time where I saw the four students, Felia, Mary, Ramek and Stand, who we taught sewing to on our first trip in 2011. Such a special moment to reconnect with them! H.E.L.P. and Ursuline have such an important mission to educate and I am so proud to be a part of both organizations.

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H.E.L.P Malawi Sewing journey: day one

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by Molly Sabolsky, Nursing Student

I can’t even begin to explain how amazing this first day at the school was. We entered the yard of the school and we were greeted by so many beautiful, smiling faces. It was overwhelming – so many of the children wanted to touch our hands.

I think the theme of this trip is “go with the flow.” After setting up the sewing room, we were told that we would not have power until the next day, so our sewing machines were not going to work. We switched up our game plan and decided to teach our hand sewing lesson instead.

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Rhianna McChesney

Q&A with the H.E.L.P. Malawi Team: Rhianna McChesney

Rhianna McChesney is an Education and English major and Resident Assistant set to gradate in 2016.

What inspired you to go on the H.E.L.P. trip?
I was inspired to go on the trip because what we’ll be doing in Malawi is what I want to do for the rest of my life: teach!

What do you hope to gain from the experience?
I hope to learn how to be a better teacher on a global standard and to improve my sewing skills!

What are you most excited about?
I am most excited about working with children who so desperately want to learn.

Thinking about Ursuline’s motto, Values, Voice & Vision, how will it represent you on the journey?
Ursuline’s motto will represent me on the journey through my value of service, using my voice when I return home to share what I learned and my vision of education for everyone worldwide.

What’s your favorite African animal?
My favorite African animal is the giraffe.

What are 3 words that come to mind when you think about Africa?
Three words that come to mind when I think of Africa are sunrise, hot, need.

Rhianna McChesney

Rhianna McChesney

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Q&A with the H.E.L.P. Malawi Team: Molly Sabolsky

Molly Sabolsky is a senior nursing major and volleyball player at Ursuline College. 

What inspired you to go on the H.E.L.P. trip?
It was kind of by chance that I got included on the planning for this trip, but my freshmen year I had heard about the trip and thought it was only for fashion majors. I was so jealous because it sounded like such an awesome opportunity!

What do you hope to gain from the experience?
I hope to have an eye opening expereince that will make me more knowledgable of a different culture. I also hope to have fun and just make some great memories.

What are you most excited about?
I am most excited for meeting the kids in Malawi and teaching them a skill that will allow them help themselves, but also their community!
Thinking about Ursuline’s motto, Values, Voice & Vision, how will it represent you on the journey?
I feel that by going on this trip I will be able to take who I am as a person and the core values of Ursuline  that I embody as I interact with the people there and make a positive impact on their lives.
What’s your favorite African animal?
AN ELEPHANT! It has aways been on my bucket list to ride an elephant in Thailand…I obviously wont be in Thailand and I probably won’t get to ride one But, if I get to see one while I am there I will be so excited!
What are 3 words that come to mind when you think about Africa?
Service. Eye opening. Memorable.
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Sewing for Malawi: Ursuline Students to HELP Out

H.E.L.P. (Hope, Educate, Love and Protect) is an organization dedicated to sustainable primary education in impoverished African regions. The organization believes it is every child’s birthright to receive hope for a better future, education to grow, unconditional love and protection from disease and illness. In March 2014, Ursuline College will send 4 students and a staff member to Nanthomba Primary School to continue an established sewing partnership with H.E.L.P. that began in 2010.

The travelers include students Taylor Bruno ’16 (Psychology), Rhianna McChesney ’16 (Education & English), Molly Sabolsky ’14 (Nursing) and Maggie Stark ’14 (Art). Joining them is Tiffany Mushrush Mentzer ’03, Director of Alumnae Relations & Development Specialist.

You’re invited to join Ursuline College at the Panini’s in Chagrin Falls on Tuesday, December 17 from 6 to 8PM  to help raise money in support of the students’ trip to Malawi. The cost is $25 per person and the fee includes entrance, pizza, chicken fingers, pop and Heineken 50/50 Raffle and Silent Auction.

To purchase tickets, visit ursuline.edu/help or call 440.646.8375.

Stay tuned for Q&As with all of the Malawi travelers!

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Sr. Dorothy Kazel Club Attends School of America’s Watch Protest

Well here’s the short story: 16 students, two days of protesting, 32 hours of travel.

Now, let me back up and give you the play by play…

After our send-off prayer at Ursuline, the Sr. Dorothy Kazel Club hopped in the car for a short trek to Magnificat High School. Here we boarded the bus for Georgia. One car got a bit lost on the way but, no worries, it only delayed us a half hour.

The bus ride down was filled with movies about social activism and the School of Americas (SOA) to keep us up-to-date.

We finally arrived in Atlanta, Georgia around 9am to grab breakfast and freshen up pre-protest. Surprisingly, we we’re earlier than most to reach Fort Benning Road, where the School of America’s protest would take place. Roy Bourgeois, founder of the School of America’s Watch (the organization monitoring the School of America’s bad behavior) actually took time aside to meet with us. It was so inspiring to hear how Roy dressed in a military uniform, climbed a tree on the School of America’s base and played Oscar Romero’s last homily (urging “Salvadoran soldiers to disobey their military commanders, lay down their arms, and stop killing their sisters and brothers”). Roy Bourgeois performed this civil disobedience 30 years ago, igniting the start of this protest!

Throughout Saturday, there were speakers (victims of the SOA, leaders in social movements in Central America and grassroots organizers from the States) and musicians with powerful messages at the heart of their lyrics. Along the side of the street, organizations set up tables with information on a wide variety of social issues and fair-trade items available to purchase. There was also a Puppetista show that some Kazel Club members took part in as well. It’s was a wonderfully artistic way to make a statement through non-violent performance!

Around 4pm we made our way back to the bus, drove to the hotel and then walked to dinner. We actually hit up a restaurant I found on last year’s trip – there’s was a stuffed polar bear wearing a sombrero in the window, so it was hard to forget. The convention center was a short walk away and was already packed with protest-goers eager to sit in workshops on everything from killer drones to international solidarity to free trade and corporate colonialism to grassroots fundraising strategies! Around 8pm, we gathered to hear spoken-word and dance to jams from some incredibly diverse musicians. It was a personal highlight of my night to see everyone jam out to some high-powered ska music!

When Leah Song from Appalachia Rising performed the song Caminando, the entire crowd fell to hush tones. Madgie Dunn, Kazel Club member and Ursuline Education student, was personally touched by this performance. Madgie says, “Before singing Caminando, Leah explains that social justice is not something that we will wake up and just have… it’s something we will be continuously walking towards for the rest of our lives…There will always be problems in the world, so we must make this our journey… siempre vamos a estar caminando”.

Caminando from Ursuline College on Vimeo.

We woke up the next morning at the crack of dawn to eat breakfast and make our way to the protest for the second day. On Sunday, it is definitely a more solemn event – with all protest attendees in procession while each name of those murdered are read aloud. We converge at the fence, barring us from Fort Benning, to place our crosses and signs on it as we chant / pray / sing to ‘CLOSE THE SOA’. This is an incredibly emotional and spiritual part of the protest.

After helping tear down the stage and acting like the roadies for the School of America’s Watch, we boarded the bus back to return home. It was really nice to hear how first-time protest attendees and people that have attended for 17 + years felt about the weekend.

Please join us Monday, December 2nd for a Lunch Discussion on the Protest and Martyrs. It will be 12- 1 in Mullen 214. Also, at 4:30 there will be a short prayer service remember the women in the Mullen St. Angela Chapel!

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To the protest we go!

thank you2The Sr. Dorothy Kazel Club was able to raise $3,395.35 through the support of the Ursuline community, family and friends. I would like to convey my deepest gratitude to each person who has cared about our efforts through donations, food packages, thoughts and prayers.

You might be wondering why 16 current students, two alumnae, one faculty member and a friend of the college are boarding a bus for a 14-hour ride to Georgia…

Well, to be honest, the first year I rode to Georgia I was jumping at a chance to feel warm weather on my face and cross ‘Attend Protest’ off my bucket list. Now, attending the protest for my third year in a row, I truly feel connected to the thousands of people who gather in solidarity at the base of the School of Americas. I stand with such an eclectic group of people, whom know Sr. Dorothy’s story and the story of tens of thousands of others who died like her.

I want to be more. To do more. And by riding to Georgia I’m able to use my voice to speak out against the injustices in this world, to educate myself through workshops and lectures, and to continue to work towards nonviolence in my life.

I will be writing and posting photos about our trip and all that we have learned from this experience. Please check back next week for a recap of the protest.

P.S. If you would like to donate to the Sr. Dorothy Kazel Club, we are sending the extra money we raised to the Cleveland Mission Team in El Salvador (the same team Sr. Dorothy Kazel served on) for clean water efforts and sustainable stoves.

An Ohio Historic Marker celebrating Victoria Claflin Woodhull stands in front of the Homer Public Library.

Did you know? First woman candidate for the U.S. Presidency was from Ohio

An Ohio Historic Marker celebrating Victoria Claflin Woodhull stands in front of the Homer Public Library.

An Ohio Historic Marker celebrating Victoria Claflin Woodhull stands in front of the Homer Public Library.

Who would have guessed that the first woman to run for the U.S. Presidency (1872), a nationally known campaigner for women’s suffrage and social justice, was born in the tiny community of Homer, Ohio?

Probably very few until the people of Homer had the foresight to erect an official Ohio Historic Marker in front of their library, reminding us of Victoria Claflin Woodhull and her commitment to women’s rights.

 

 

 

The main intersection in Homer, Licking County, Ohio

The main intersection in Homer, Licking County, Ohio

Homer, Ohio:  It’s a sleepy little place at the crossroads of two secondary rural highways and the Otter Run Fork of the Licking River, not far from where I was born and raised.  In just a few minutes, you can drive through this unincorporated community in Licking County, past the post office and the handful of clapboard commercial buildings at the intersection.  You might glance at the old brick school building that sits back a bit from the highway and, as you near the edge of town, you can see the United Methodist Church, an ancient cemetery, and the modern library where the historical society meets regularly.  This is, and was, quintessential Ohio farm country.

 

Victoria and her sister Tennessee were born in Homer, respectively in 1838 and 1845, to Roxanna and Reuben Buckman Claflin. Local legends abound about the Claflin family – that they were poverty-stricken, that the children only sporadically attended school, that Roxanna was a clairvoyant, that Buck burned down his own gristmill to collect insurance money, and that the family was semi-nomadic, using the children to sell homemade patent medicines, practice faith healing, and tell fortunes as part of their travelling medicine show.

 

Also according to local legend, community members “encouraged” the Claflins to leave Homer by raising funds at a benefit so that the family could join Buck who had been run out of town for alleged insurance fraud.  Can’t you just picture those scenes?  Do you think the fundraiser was held in the old town hall?  Or the church?

 

VictoriaInPrintWhatever the circumstances of her childhood in this minuscule town and what sounds to be an unusual family, Victoria rose above hardship to follow the courage of her convictions, some of which were considered exceptionally radical in the 19th century.  Many of her achievements were, and are, truly inspirational.

 

 

 

 

Victoria’s achievements (SOME of them):

  • First woman to run for the U.S. Presidency (1872) representing the Equal Rights Party (She lost to Ohioan and Civil War General Ulysses S. Grant.  After all, the amendment granting women the right to vote would not be ratified for another 48 years!)
  • First American woman to address Congress (1871)
  • As two of the first women stockbrokers in history, she and her sister Tennessee Claflin opened Woodhull, Claflin and Company on Wall Street in 1870 with the backing of railroad tycoon Cornelius Vanderbilt
  • Published the very successful Woodhull and Claflin’s Weekly newspaper promoting a plethora of social justice issues
  • Leading membership in the National American Woman Suffrage Association and International Workingman’s Association

 

Victoria’s advocacy:

  • Woman suffrage
  • Equal educational opportunity for women (how keenly must she have felt her lack of it?)
  • Women’s right to control their own health decisions, including birth control
  • Labor reform including an 8-hour workday
  • Divorce law reform
  • Free love (can’t you just hear the consternation of the people of post-Civil War Ohio over that?)

 

Homer, Licking County, Ohio

Homer, Licking County, Ohio

So, the next time you drive through a tiny little burg, or across a lonely countryside, and see an Ohio Historical Marker, take a moment to stop and read it.  Who knows what rich, complex heritage it will reveal about a place that may seem quiet and unassuming?  I always appreciate the inspiration these marker stories provide, as well as the commitment of the community members who did the research, writing, and fundraising to bring you an important message about their/our heritage.

 

 

Like to know more about Homer, Ohio?  Visit the Homer Public Library at http://www.homer.lib.oh.us

 

Like to know more about Victoria Claflin Woodhull?  Visit the:

National Women’s History Museum at http://www.nwhm.org

National Women’s Hall of Fame at http://www.greatwomen.org

New York Times obituary at http://www.nytimes.com/learning/general/onthisday/bday/0923.html

Ohioana Library Association at www.ohioana.org

Ohio Center for the Book at www.ohiocenterforthebook.org

Ohio History Central at www.ohiohistorycentral.org

Ohio Memory at www.ohiomemory.org

Remarkable Ohio at www.remarkableohio.org

Women Working, 1800-1930, Harvard University Library Open Collections Program, at http://ocp.hul.harvard.edu/ww/woodhull.html

OR

Our own Ursuline College Besse Library for access to published biographies.