BRISTOL, R.I. – When we as Americans – particularly northerners – contemplate our history of enslaving Africans, we tend to frame it as the nightmare that happened down south approximately 150 years ago. But how many of us know that many northerners were complicit in the profiteering from this nightmare, or recognize that the legacy of slavery did not tidily end with the liberating decree of the Emancipation Proclamation and conclusion of the Civil War?
They were just simple steps – tweeting and shooting out an email – but they were all it took for Molly Katchpole ’11 to ignite her inner activist, the RWU alumna told students at the concluding event for Social Justice Week on campus last Friday.
In 2011, Katchpole had recently graduated from RWU’s art and architectural history program and was living in Washington, D.C., working two jobs and counting down the days until her six-month student loan repayment grace period would end. With the Occupy Wall Street movement in full force at that time, the public’s discontent concerning economic justice was palpable – everyone, including Katchpole, heard Occupy’s frustration in the news, on the Internet and in social media outlets. So when Bank of America announced a plan to institute a $5 monthly fee for its debit card users to access their money – which would hit Katchpole and other low-income Americans hardest – it was the last straw for her. And then it happened….
BRISTOL, R.I. -- Whether it’s engaging in a worldwide virtual discussion on the future of densely populated cities, or learning to inspire involvement from RWU alumna Molly Katchpole ’11 – who successfully petitioned Bank of America to drop a debit card transaction fee that hit low-income people hardest – a variety of events to inspire your inner activist will take place on campus during Social Justice Week, October 22 to 26.
After recognizing a need on campus to inspire more diversity, tolerance and cultural and social sensitivity, faculty members in the History and American Studies Department developed this inaugural weeklong series of events – co-sponsored by several departments and on-campus student groups – to encourage students to engage in social justice issues in ways that are meaningful to them.
Interested in spoken-word poetry? How about social activism? Then look forward to seeing the two combine explosively when Climbing PoeTree – an arts-activism group that uses their voices to bring awareness and attention to social inequality and offer hope for the future – comes to campus next week.
As part of Social Justice Week at Roger Williams, Climbing PoeTree’s Alixa and Naima will host a workshop on Wednesday, Oct. 24, in which they will discuss inspiring change and awareness through art. At the workshop, students will be asked to contribute to a tapestry of 5,000 stories from people around the world – a storyboard that seeks to present hope in a visual and immediate communication. Later that day, the Bronx-based group will put on a multimedia performance from their award-winning tour, “Hurricane Season: The Hidden Messages in Water.”