10 Most Inspirational Moments from ’DEIS Impact 2014

March 26th, 2014

Agonizing that you couldn’t make all 55 ‘DEIS Impact 2014 events? No worries! Here are the 10 moments I found particularly inspirational. For more information on the incredible speakers, performances, and events that took place, click here. What inspired you? Let me know below!


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1. “As we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.” – Ndaba Mandela took several deep breaths before quoting from his grandfather’s inauguration address. ‘DEIS Impact keynote address



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Photo: Sister Helen speaking at Social Justice and “Protest, Politics and Change: Social Movements” (SOC 155b) taught by Prof. David Cunningham during ‘DEIS Impact College.

2. Sister Helen Prejean describing the hero in her book, Dead Man Walking, as the father of a murdered teenager fighting the death penalty because he knew it’s not what his daughter would have wanted. Dead Men Still Walking: A First-Hand Account of Death Row by Death Penalty Activist Sister Helen Prejean



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3. Alum Blanca E. Vega ’98 (second from right in photo) describing the racism she faced as a Latina on the Brandeis campus and how it motivated her to advocate for racial equality in higher education, reminding students that social justice begins at home. 3rd Annual Brandeis SoJust Leadership Forum




4. The courage and empathy filling the room at Queerlogues, an event where students explored LGBTQ issues through poetry, song and monologue. Queerlogues



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5. The sobering Harry Potter Alliance event “Magic Can’t Create Food, Can You?” demonstrating the difficulty low income Americans face cooking a nutritious diet … and getting a shout out from Brandeis alum and HPA founder Andrew Slack ’02. Magic Can’t Create Food, Can You?




6. Waltham Mayor Jeannette McCarthy personally thanking students for volunteering their time at the Chill Zone, stressing that even one act of service is social justice. Brandeis Unites in Service




7. The emotional and personal film “Seoul Train” shown by Brandeis Liberty in North Korea taking students for a heart-wrenching ride as North Koreans attempted to flee to freedom. The Secret Underground Railroad Out of North Korea



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8. Damiana Andonova ’15 sharing her experience as a Sorensen Fellow witnessing discrimination against Roma infants in Bulgaria during “Recognizing the Roma Conflict – An Exploration of Human Rights.”



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9. The rhythmic heartbeat of communal drumming at the Brandeis Beats event “Beats of Peace” as Peacebuilding and the Arts Director Cynthia Cohen told a story describing a Hutu and a Tutsi drummer traveling and performing together in an effort to combat ethnic tensions in Rwanda. Beats of Peace




10. The enthusiasm, dedication, and determination of the ‘DEIS Impacters, the ‘DEIS impact steering committee, and Ethics Center staff that made it all possible.

– Mia Katan ’15 member of the Ethics Center Leadership Council

‘DEIS Impact explores LGBTQ Issues

March 14th, 2014

With its aim to tackle issues regarding social justice, ’DEIS Impact 2014 featured events covering a wide range of subjects, one of them being issues faced by the LGBTQ community.

Two of the most striking events regarding these issues were “Queerlogues” (read a Hoot article about the event: “‘Queerlogues’ demonstrates Brandeis’ LGBTQ pride”) and “Breaking the Silence on LGBTQ Sexual Violence” (see a ’DEIS Impact Blog post about the event, written by a ‘DEIS Impacter).

“Queerlogues” was arranged by the Queer Resource Center and featured multiple performances by Brandeis students. The aim of the event was to provide a safe space for participants to share their stories, hardships they have faced and courage they have found through the support of empathetic people they have encountered. Students read poetry, performed songs, read vivid monologues and left the audience empowered – most of the listeners with tears in their eyes.

One could sense that most of the people in the room felt an inexplicable connection with others, shattering the negative social constructions that tend to obstruct one’s capacity for empathy even against one’s kind will. Performers disclosed what was under their external layer of conduct and reminded the audience of the depth of human feelings, magnitude of one’s bias and actions on other people’s lives and the importance of human loyalty.

I left “Queerlogues” feeling empowered after seeing a large group of passionate individuals, yet I could not forget about the grim aspect of the human nature – violence that often exhibits itself from individuals whom one would least suspect. After all, can one definitely tell if a particular person is capable of sexual violence per se  – an issue unfortunately prevalent in the modern society?

“Breaking the Silence on LGBTQ Sexual Violence,” the second above-mentioned event, concentrated on occurrences of sexual violence on the LGBTQ community and ways of addressing and hopefully reducing, if not exterminating that violence. The event was hosted by the Queer Policy Alliance club and featured two speakers who provided the audience with statistical information, as well as gloomy details of the subject.

Speakers conducted a small workshop that put the audience in the position of encountering a case of sexual violence and gave them suggestions on how one can address the problem. We were provided with details about resources to reach out to in case of encountering such a case (for resources visit Boston Area Rape Crisis Center).

Both of these events restated the importance of activist work, as well as of tackling individual cases of oppression with the aim of achieving social justice and ensuring the protection of human rights of every single member of the community. I was moved and inspired by both of these events and I do hope that more students start to pay attention to the issue that affects our entire community.

– Shota Adamia ’15

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