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Charleston residential leaders host “Stay Woke” panel


On Oct. 25, the Gender Studies club presented “Stay Woke: A Panel Discussion” to shed light on social justice and intersectionality.

The panel consisted of the residential leaders of Charleston, and included Charleston Assistant Director of Student Life Mary Whitehead and Graduate Residence Coordinator, Yuri Kim.

The event began with a viewing of a lip-sync performance by the Charleston resident assistants. The performance was filled with songs of empowerment for women, the LGBTQ community, and African Americans. The set included “Respect” by Aretha Franklin, “I’m Coming Out” by Diana Ross, and “Freedom” by Beyoncé. As the video ended, the audience erupted in applause.

The lip-sync was originally performed at an event for Loyola’s RAs and gave the Charleston RAs a platform to bring up some difficult topics in a powerful and entertaining way. Whitehead expressed her pride in the Charleston leaders and said that their fearlessness was empowering.

“For me as an [assistant director], watching my staff have these kinds of conversation is powerful for us,” Whitehead said. “We want to have this conversation.”

The panel explained that they are always trying to find new outlets to reach people and that this performance brought the newly acquainted RAs together.

““We talk about care for the whole person, and people don’t really care… For us, this is to start. This is to start the conversation,” Whitehead said.

A large portion of the event was dedicated to the issues of intersectionality. According to Merriam Webster, intersectionality is the complex, cumulative manner in which the effects of different forms of discrimination combine, overlap, or intersect. The RAs explained how intersectionality is a common theme in today’s social justice movements.

The panel also discussed being an ally and the concept of privilege. They said that we all have different types of privilege, and we need to be open and compassionate towards others and respect what makes each person unique. The group admitted that it’s often difficult to respond to privilege.

The group discussed their observations about other students and the stereotypes that are present on campus. The RAs said that because of Loyola’s small size, students may assume that everyone is like them. They encouraged the attendees to not assume, and to be open to learning more about what other people are going through. Additionally, they expressed the importance of attending campus events that can educate us about different identities.

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  • Nicholas CironeOct 30, 2017 at 6:57 pm


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Charleston residential leaders host “Stay Woke” panel