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Restaurants across downtown Indianapolis are expecting big crowds throughout the rest of the month as the March Madness Tournament begins in the coming weeks. Navigating this spectacle in the midst of a pandemic is going to be new for many businesses downtown expecting to see a surge in sales since they were able to reopen nearly a year ago.
Joel Reitz, owner of Prodigy Burger Bar located at 910 W Tenth St. downtown used basketball terminology to describe his preparation for the influx of business.
“In preparation, by comparison in basketball terms, we’ve put the best team on the court and have spent many hours in the video room,” Reitz said.
Reitz’s restaurant got a preview of what to expect for the NCAA Tournament during the Big Ten Tournament a week prior to the announcement of the March Madness bracket.
“The Big Ten Tournaments brought many to Indianapolis,” Reitz said.
With the Big Ten Tournaments bringing much needed business, Reitz explained how he has seen a rise in dine-in, carryout, and delivery sales and expects to see more of it throughout the duration of the tournament, which ends at the beginning of April.
Other veterans in the restaurant industry seem to be a little on edge when thinking about the increase in clientele during the tournament.
Brionna Wray, lead server at St. Elmo Steak House in Circle Centre Mall downtown, is weary about the surge in business.
Increasing the restaurant's capacity right before the tournament has been the main challenge for Wray as of late.
“This month has me stressed,” Wray said.
“From a server's perspective, It’s harder to regulate people with certain restrictions being lifted,” Wray continued. “Also, we have been more busy than what I have been used to in the last year which has been mentally exhausting.”
Restaurants are now able to seat at 75% capacity and St. Elmo has opened up bar seating as another way to bring in additional revenue.
“We haven’t seen this many people downtown in over a year, so we are staffed a little heavier than normal,” Wray said.
The popular Steak House has also begun providing carryout options for teams and coaching staff that are currently in the bubble, increasing the restaurant's overall sales.
With March Madness bringing in much needed business for those who have been struggling due to the pandemic, patrons seem to be anxious because they believe a return to normal is on the horizon.
“Their(guests) anticipation has been encouraging for restaurant staff because we have been financially suffering for a year,” Wray said.
“I think there will be a period of time where certain populations will be weary of coming out, but business will ultimately be good,” Wray concluded.
The COVID-19 vaccine has made its way across the state and some students have already had the opportunity to get vaccinated.
Jacob Rater, senior health services management major, became eligible for the vaccine after he started his new job at Indiana University Health and just received his Pfizer vaccine.
“I work at IU health in a patient care setting so I qualified to get it as a nonclinical worker,” Rater said.
“I go back on March 17 to get my second dose of the vaccine,” he added.
According to in.gov, Indiana is in “Phase 1-B” of Hoosiers who are eligible to receive the vaccine. Meaning anyone aged 50 and older can register to get either the Pfizer, Moderna, or the Johnson & Johnson dose of the vaccine.
This phase is in addition to healthcare personnel, long-term care facility residents, anyone working in a congregate living facility for youth, and first responders who made up the initial round of Indiana residents eligible to receive the vaccine during “Phase 1-A” of the vaccination rollout.
Luckily for Rater, post vaccine symptoms weren’t an issue.
“I didn’t experience any symptoms other than a little bit of arm soreness and a small bruise at the injection site,” Rater said.
Unfortunately, for other students who received their vaccination, post vaccine symptoms were prevalent.
Jacob McNutt, a student at the IU School of Medicine, said he acquired many side effects linked to the vaccine.
McNutt said he had a fever, muscle aches, and malaise, which is a general feeling of illness, as well as injection site discomfort after receiving both doses of the Pfizer vaccine.
He was eligible to receive the vaccine because of his status as a medical student.
“Medical students were prioritized because we volunteer to administer the vaccine,” McNutt said.
McNutt said that volunteering to administer the vaccine means students and other administrators come in contact with hundreds of people throughout their shift. So making sure they are vaccinated is one of the main priorities for various clinics located around Indiana.
Jason Inglert, recent IUPUI graduate who works in an optometrists office, said there was no hesitation once he found out he would be a part of the initial round of Hoosiers eligible to get vaccinated in “Phase 1-A” of the vaccine rollout.
“I would like to reach herd immunity safely,” Inglert said “I feel at this point it’s either get the vaccine or get coronavirus,” he continued.
With three different vaccines authorized by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, getting to herd immunity can be reached sooner than expected.
“They are a lot quicker at manufacturing and I believe in the CDC and science,” Inglert concluded.
You can find out when you are eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine here
The fight to dismantle white supremacy comes in many forms. One of these forms can be as simple as supporting a Black owned business during Black History Month, as well as making the practice of supporting these businesses a part of your daily routine. Here are some Black owned businesses to check out.
Katrina Kenny, daughter of Gregory Kenny Sr., founder and CEO of Kenny’s Academy of Barbering, Katrina has followed in her fathers footsteps and has been a master barber for over 13 years.
Katrina is an instructor for her fathers barber school, and is the owner of Kenny's Barbershop located at 7425 Shadeland Avenue. You can contact her on instagram @thepinkbarber for hair consultation and booking needs.
Kiss of Silk. Founded in 2017 by Indianapolis native Kristen Johnson, personal experiences are what lead her to find her brand.
“When I was growing up, I got bullied for being a little different and having a forehead full of acne didn’t make it better,” Johnson said.
Other commercial brands for hair and skin care didn’t help negate the acne either, so she decided to make her own skincare products.
“Little by little my skin started to clear,” she continued. “After my skin got better, I wanted to help others with skin challenges and wanted to boost skin health with natural and organic ingredients.”
To support Kiss of Silk, reach out to Johnson on her website kissofsilk.com, on Instagram @kos.silk, or on Facebook KoS: Kiss of Silk.
Cleo’s Bodega Grocery and Cafe. Located at 2432 Dr Martin Luther King Street, Cleo’s was a part of the Flanner House initiative to provide a grocery store in the city’s largest food desert.
Whether you are in the mood for a fresh smoothie, hot coffee, a quick lunch, or need to pick up some groceries, Cleo’s Bodega and Grocery has got you covered.
Bar-B-Q Heaven. Looking for the best rib tips in town? Well look no further. Bar-B-Q Heaven has been a staple Black owned business in Indianapolis for nearly 70 years. Located at 2515 Dr Martin Luther King Jr Street, Bar-B-Q Heaven has shown no signs of slowing down.
Barbecue is standard when it comes to African American cuisine and Bar-B-Q Heaven will always hit the spot. Make sure you have time to take a nap afterwards because the itis will sneak up on you.
Legendary Rootz. For those who like to make a political statement with their clothing, Legendary Rootz is the brand for you. Raven Nichole, owner of Legendary Rootz, created this brand due to the need for representation and a safe space for the Black community.
“Our purpose is to reclaim our history through powerful apparel and accessories,” Nichole said on the brands website. Go online to legendaryrootz.com to support.
Stitched by Shawna. Owned by Da’Shawna Curlin, this brand is nearly a year old and Curlin has the pandemic to thank for her brand's growth and success.
“I’ve always wanted my own business,” she said. “Once the pandemic started and we were on lockdown, I simply thought why not now? I had so much free time to get everything in motion,” she continued.
Stitched by Shawna has been growing locally around Indy on various social media pages in the months that it has been in existence, and can only go up from here.
Follow @stitched_by_shawna on Instagram, and check out her website stitchedbyshawna.com for more details.
Black History Month, a time to pay homage to the Black trailblazers who have made an impact on advancing African American culture, and American culture as a whole. While learning about this history throughout this month and the rest of the years to come, it is just as important to also learn about the Black LGBTQ+ trailblazers who get lost in the spectacle of this month. Past
“Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” released on Netflix on December 18, 2020, and is a film adaptation of world renowned playwright August Wilson’s play that opened on Broadway in 1984 to the same title.
The film stars Viola Davis as Ma Rainey, the late Chadwick Boseman as Levee, and Colman Domingo as Cutler.
The story takes place in a Chicago recording studio where Rainey and her band will record an album headlined by Rainey. Prior to her arrival, Levee buys a new pair of shoes, members of the band share stories, trade jokes, and Levee talks about how he is going to form his own band.
When he and the other members of the band are rehearsing before the recording session, there is much dialogue surrounding which arrangement of the title song they are going to use. Levee’s or Ma’s.
Once Rainey arrives, she is notoriously late and takes control of how the songs are performed, the order in which the songs will be recorded, and who gets featured on which song. She even has her nephew Sylvester, who has a stutter, open the title song “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” which delays the recording session even more because of his ailment.
After the recording session is finished, Levee talks to Sturdyvant to sell him his songs, as well as have his own recording session in the Chicago studio. Sturdyvant agrees to buy the songs from him for $5 a song, but goes back on his promise to allow Levee the opportunity to record the songs he wrote.
The reneging of Sturdyvant’s promise in allowing Levee to record his own songs, in addition to the ruining of his new shoes serve as a catalyst for a fatal ending to one of the characters in the film’s final moments.
While viewing the film, I couldn’t help but to notice how a majority of the story is not as centered around Ma Rainey as the previews had initially perceived it. If anything, the story is centered on Levee and how he has to navigate through a world cloaked in various forms of masculinity.
These forms of masculinity are mainly coded in racism and misogyny.
Levee, the young and vibrant trumpeter, seems to have everything going for him. He gets a new pair of shoes, he is talking to the studio manager to have an opportunity to record his own music, and he is told that his arrangement of the song “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” is going to be featured on the project.
Each one of these opportunities presented to Levee falters. His new shoes get ruined, Sturdyvant capitalizes off of his music without giving him the proper recognition, and Rainey is the one who ends up calling the shots on how the songs get performed.
The moment that masterfully allows us to tap into this never ending internal battle between Levee and masculinity, is his monologue where he tells the story of seeing his mother being sexually assaulted by a group of racist white men in his own home early in his life.
After Levee gives this powerful monologue, we see why moments like someone stepping on his new shoes, promises that end up getting broken, and having his voice constantly being minimized has a major impact on him at the end of the story.
This build up is the perfect example of how multiple forms of oppression Black people face both internally and externally at the hands of masculinity can overwhelm and cause you to go past your breaking point.
Levee is not the only character who has to deal with these never ending tropes. Ma Rainey also deals with this tedious navigation.
Rainey, who has made a name for herself as a blues singer during this time, is a plus-sized, dark-skinned, Black lesbian woman whose identities meet at the intersection of race, gender, and sexuality. The only way she has made a name for herself is through her music, but even her immaculate stage presence and captivating voice can not stop the lasting impact.
As she deals with these multiple identities, masculinity is at the forefront of each and every facet of her life.
She is a Black woman constantly occupying a space controlled by both white and Black men. While it is not explicitly addressed, her queer identity is ridiculed by a large group of Black folks. And she is the only one who believes that her nephew can get a successful recording of the title song intro despite his speech ailment.
These instances are controlled by masculinity and patriarchy that Rainey intentionally dismantles simply by existing as who she is.
One thing I thoroughly enjoy about plays penned by August Wilson is his ability to keep the conversation going after you leave the theater. Wilson forces the dialogue to continue to further explore different themes and messages through his storytelling, which has had a lasting impact on Black folks.
Wilson does this in a way that is not over the top to allow access for the dialogue to tell an authentic story regarding the Black experience.
“Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” is one of Wilson’s ten-play Pittsburgh Cycle that tells the story of the African American experience throughout the 20th century and is available to stream now on Netflix.
When the coronavirus pandemic began in March, so many questions were raised regarding what is going to happen next. Nine months have passed and we have continued to see the type of impact that COVID-19 has had on both the macro and micro level.
Facing some of the hardest times are small businesses throughout the state and the country as a whole.
According to the National Federation of Independent Business(NFIB), approximately one-in-five small and independently owned businesses in Indiana will have to permanently close their doors for good due to the financial impact of COVID-19.
This financial impact has been detrimental to businesses that did not have the luxury of being open during the initial lockdown towards the beginning of the year.
For the businesses that have the privilege to remain open throughout these times, navigating the continued changes to COVID-19 restrictions, as well as maintaining revenue to stay afloat has not been the easiest task.
Carl Tappendorf, owner of Schoolhouse 7 Cafe in Fishers, expressed the need to shift operational focus on areas outside of the regular day-to-day in-person service during the initial lockdown in March.
“We focused on our drive-thru operation immediately as it was our only opportunity to serve our customers,” Tappendorf said. “With our operation being confined within the walls of a once one-room schoolhouse, we had to really work on equipment placement and worker flow to maximize the efficiency of our space,” he continued.
Tappendorf and his crew also created their own Schoolhouse 7 app for customers to order remotely and drive to one of the designated mobile order parking spots to receive their order.
Due to the Schoolhouse 7 Cafe opening in August 2019, they were not eligible for many grants because they weren’t considered profitable during the fiscal year.
“The federal PPP program did assist many small businesses, but unfortunately, it was a temporary band-aid,” Tappendorf explained.
Fortunately, the city of Fishers has reached out to local businesses to provide assistance in promoting them. The city has also offered loans to help these businesses for the times where it does slow down.
For other small business owners, COVID-19’s financial impact is very reminiscent of the beginning days when a new business first came onto the scene.
Joel Reitz, owner of O’Reilly’s Irish Bar & Restaurant in downtown Indianapolis, spoke on the similarities between the decline in business today, to the time where he first opened his restaurant 14 years ago.
“There weren’t so many things to do downtown, so this time reminds me of back then. It’s almost like we are starting over again as a new business,” Reitz said.
Back in March, Reitz and a majority of other owners only had about four days to come up with a plan to deal with the unforeseen adjustments of the coronavirus.
“That Thursday seating was limited and events were canceled, and by Sunday night we got the word that we were shutting down on Monday to carry out only,” Reitz continued.
The location of many businesses also plays a major role in how well local businesses can sustain throughout the pandemic.
Reitz believes that businesses located near neighborhoods and more popular areas like Broad Ripple are going to do better compared to businesses located downtown because it creates a safer feel for those in the community. Downtown businesses rely solely on events and people who work there to bring in revenue.
In terms of reopening, Reitz has taken the necessary precautionary measures to ensure that both his staff and clientele remain safe and healthy throughout these times.
“Since reopening. I have only had an issue with one person not wearing a mask,” he said.
He has also invested in several HEPA air purifier units, which are certified to take the COVID-19 particles out of the air and add to more ventilation. Slowing down the spread of any possible transmission of the virus.
With two successful vaccines being distributed to major parts of the world, a sense of returning to normal for businesses that have managed to remain open during these times looks to be a plausible outcome.
Continue to support local businesses like Schoolhouse 7 Cafe and O’Reilly’s Irish Bar & Restaurant by following their social media pages. You can also get the word out to those you are close to to make sure these businesses can see a brighter future for years to come.
As times are still tough for many students throughout the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the last thing many want to be faced with is the possibility of contracting the virus.
Hyatt Place in downtown Indianapolis is opening its hotel to IUPUI students who live on or near campus and need to self-isolate if their roommate happens to test positive for COVID-19.
In addition to self isolating from a possible coronavirus exposure, students also have the option to stay at the Hyatt House for the entirety of the semester.
The Hyatt Place hotel franchise successfully housed many students at their Bloomington location throughout the fall semester for students who wanted flexibility in their leasing, or were relocated from their current living situation. After seeing this success, they wanted to extend that same housing opportunity for IUPUI students in Indianapolis.
Ben Weatherhead, Assistant Director of Sales at the Hyatt Place in Indianapolis, said that this is an ideal opportunity for students who may not have the luxury of returning home to isolate.
“During times like these it is hard for students who live out of state, or outside of the normal commute time to go home and quarantine,” Weatherhead said.
He also went on to say how it is also not the best option for students who may have contracted the virus, to return home and quarantine around other loved ones. Potentially passing on the virus to them as well.
The cost for students is $69 a night for a one bedroom suite, and $89 a night for a two bedroom suite. For a full semester at Hyatt Place, the cost is $8,250 for a one bedroom suite, and $9,750 for a two bed suite.
Suites are fully equipped with furniture, appliances, kitchen utensils, free wireless internet, a Smart TV to log into various streaming services, maid service upon request, and free complimentary breakfast.
This Hyatt Place location is also “Hyatt’s Global Care and Cleanliness Commitment” certified. Meaning they adhere to the industry’s top standards for cleanliness and sanitation.
“We have at least one person on property trained as Hygiene Manager, who will be responsible for their hotel adhering to new operational guidance and protocols,” Weatherhead said.
These and many other measures have been taken to ensure guests feel safe and comfortable staying there for a prolonged period of time.
Hyatt Place in Indianapolis is located at 130 S Pennsylvania Street, which is less than two miles away from campus.
Students still looking for housing options for next semester may want to consider the Hyatt Place as another option if their housing situation happens to fluctuate throughout the semester.
For more information contact 317-762-2031, or firstname.lastname@example.org
IUPUI Chancellor Nasser H. Paydar gave his annual State of the Campus address to students, faculty, and staff to wrap up the 2020 fall semester. Due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the address was given through a zoom webinar.
Chancellor Paydar began by giving a word of gratitude to Indiana University President Michael McRobbie, who is retiring in June of 2021 after serving as president since 2007. President McRobbie was known for his vision of tying university history and tradition together, as well as building a path to further the university's institution. Additional opportunities to celebrate president McRobbie’s accomplishments during his tenure will be expressed throughout the year.
The chancellor followed his word of gratitude to president McRobbie by recapping the last four years of IUPUI’s campus after the 2016 Election.
“Depending on who gets elected, the next four years for our country will look dramatically different,” Paydar said during his first address four years ago.
“What will remain the same is the value of higher education to our students who will be living, learning, and earning in an increasingly global environment. To best serve these students, we in higher education must continue to focus on our strategic priorities.”
He believes that throughout the past four years, IUPUI has remained firm in committing to strategic priorities of fostering student success, advancing health and life sciences, and contributing to the community.
Paydar also commended the campus for being nationally recognized for civic engagement, as well as the high numbers of IUPUI students who are registered to vote and casted their ballots in this year's election.
“I look forward to seeing what this new administration will bring for our nation’s leadership,” Paydar said.
The university's response to the COVID-19 was also highlighted in the chancellor’s address. Shifting to faculty working remotely, students receiving prorated refunds on housing, dining, parking, and other fees, and developing testing, tracing, isolation, and quarantine programs have been vital to keep a low positivity rate of COVID-19 throughout the campus.
To prepare and combat a potential financial crisis caused by the pandemic, the university cut the budget 5%, implemented a hiring freeze, and placed restrictions on university-sponsored travel. These and other adjustments have been successful in making IUPUI both safe and prosperous throughout the coronavirus pandemic.
Diversity, equity, and engagement has been an ongoing initiative under Chancellor Paydar and for the university as a whole.
“The virus has not changed the fact that diversity and inclusion are among the core values of our campus. These values are woven into our strategic plan and guide our decision-making. Our work towards a more diverse, inclusive, and welcoming campus is ongoing,” he said.
After the murder of George Floyd this past summer, Chancellor Paydar created an Action Committee under the leadership of Vice Chancellor Karen Dace to develop recommendations for the university that lead to anti-racist practices.
In addition to the Action Committee, Paydar spoke about the establishment of the “Center for Africana Studies and Culture” established in October, as well as the “Through Their Eyes” scholarship available for students to apply for in January. This scholarship is to honor the descendants of those who were displaced by the expansion of IUPUI in 1969. The scholarship has been named in honor of the 2006 Black Student initiative by the Black Student Union at IUPUI, which aimed to advance efforts to achieve racial equity and inclusion on campus.
“These are vital investments in diversity, equity, and inclusion that strengthen the foundation upon which we will continue to build,” he said.
With a new year comes new leadership, and at the beginning of the new school year IUPUI introduced two deans who were selected after a very competitive search at the latter end of last semester.
The first is Karen Bravo who is the new Dean of McKinney Law School. With this title of Dean of McKinney Law School, she is the first person of color and second woman to hold this position. Bravo assumed the position beginning on July 1.
The second new dean is John DiTusa, Dean of the School of Science. DiTusa comes from Louisiana State University where he served as department chair and other leadership roles at Louisiana State before coming to IUPUI on August 1.
The School of Liberal Arts is also welcoming Tami Eitle as their new dean beginning in January. Eitle received her master’s and doctorate degrees in Sociology from Indiana University and will be coming from Montana State University
Chancellor Paydar concluded his State of the Campus address with creating a sense of hope and unity that we will one day be able to return to normalcy, and that the new vaccines and treatment will help us win the fight against the coronavirus pandemic.
“It will take time, but we have each other, we have hope, and we have the power of education.”
To watch the full 2020 State of the Campus address, visit here
Like the 77 million Americans and counting who voted for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris to replace the failed Trump administration, seeing them finally declared the winners of the 2020 Election late Saturday morning on November 7 was a huge sigh of relief. However, the work to dismantle the interlocking systems of domination that were heightened during Donald Trump's presidency needs to be at the forefront.
The moment Joe Biden was announced as the 46th President-Elect of the United States, I was at work in the expo window waiting for my food to get ready to be taken to my table. I hear one of my coworkers say “Terrence look at the TV”. I turned to look at the TV and after four days of waiting, CNN had finally projected a Biden-Harris victory.
My reaction was very subdued.
While I was happy that the candidate that I voted for won, seeing the abundance of joyful reactions from my white coworkers and clientele reasserted this internal fear that I had of white people’s advocacy for groups like Black Lives Matter, or the thousands of children ripped away from their parents at the border, or the millions of people of color incarcerated for nonviolent marijuana and other drug offenses, or insert any other systemic issue going on in the United States right now, would take a back seat. When in reality, the pressure to make change needs to be amped if we’re going to dig deep into this problem of systemic oppression.
This fear materialized into anger because in midst of the champagne being brought out and people taking to the streets to celebrate the dictator being elected out of office, throughout that work shift and the rest of my day I rarely heard anyone give credit where credit was due as to why Biden and Harris even won the election. Black women.
Black women like Stacey Abrams saw the amount of voter suppression in states like Georgia and used her agency to act on it. Never in my life would I have predicted to see the state of Georgia go blue during a presidential election.
If it weren’t for Black women like Stacey Abrams and the countless other Black Americans who put in the groundwork to make sure that Black folks got registered to vote in predominantly red states, this election could have easily been a repeat of 2016. Especially, when looking at the pre-election polls.
As many know, polling is a way for news outlets and political analysts to notice certain trends, get an idea of where different demographics of people lean when it comes to voting, and who they voted for.
I say this could have been a repeat of 2016 because almost all of the pre-election polling numbers had Hillary beating Trump, yet here we are.
According to the initial exit polls taken by The New York Times this time around, about 90% of Black women voted for Joe Biden, followed by 80% of Black men who also voted for Biden. It is no secret that the Black community has carried the Democratic party for decades. This is why voter suppression is so ingrained in American culture. It lies at the intersection of race and politics. As the saying goes, “If your right to vote wasn’t so important, people wouldn’t be trying so hard to take it away.”
Like instances in Georgia and other southern states where Republicans tend to win and win decisively, the overwhelming voter turnout of Black Americans changes the narrative. Forcing us to once again have conversations on how to fix a system created to only serve the rich white male elite.
When looking at this same exit poll taken by The New York Times, 61% of white men voted for Trump, with another 55% of white women also voting for Trump. Honestly, I am not surprised. Asking white people to put aside their whiteness for the advancement of minorities was a reach. This statistic feeds into the notion of white people not taking it amongst themselves to have the tough conversations and to do the work.
The exit polling is another reason why I am not a fan of the overt spectacle of this election's outcome by white people specifically. It’s the celebration of the hard work at the expense of Black people and people of color that rubs me the wrong way. It’s the biggest slap in the face. As if they were the ones that saved democracy. If anything, white liberals and progressives need to do much more in order for this nation to see the change and equality it deserves to see. The last time I checked, Republicans still have the Senate. A Senate where the majority leader has openly confessed to making it hard for any progressive legislation to be passed. Democrats also lost a lot of seats in the House. That’s not something to celebrate. If you are celebrating the outcome of the only presidential election and not paying more attention to local and state elections, then you need to be doing a lot more homework.
During these times where some families might be getting together for the holidays, the universal argument of not talking about politics or religion at the dinner table needs to change. Especially to those with a platform that can perpetuate that much-needed change.
When I walk into a room, my Blackness and my queerness enter the room and exist together at the same time. Always. They are both a political statement and a religion where dominant mainstream culture constantly strives to question and obliterate my and many others' very existence. Until we can realize and grasp this concept, do not make a spectacle out of the grueling labor of those whose voices need to be heard the most.
To no one’s surprise the GOP once again proved their corruption and hypocrisy with the recent confirmation of Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court. The appointment of Barrett comes after the Trump administration unlawfully rushed to replace the seat of longtime Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg after her sudden death in late September. This also comes after Ginsburg’s dying wish was for her seat to be replaced after a new president is elected.Barrett is now in the highest judicial position in the land meaning that she will oversee cases that deal with a wide range of issues that can impact many marginalized Americans. So if you’re not white, male, cisgender, heterosexual, able-bodied, middle or upper class, you pretty much have to hold your breath for any landmark legislation being passed, or repealed that would completely strip away your rights. She is known for her conservative views which now gives the Supreme Court a 6-3 conservative majority. With a 6-3 conservative majority the rights of women’s reproductive system, marriage equality, affordable healthcare, and so many more groundbreaking laws that protect the unprotected are all in jeopardy. These are rights that every single person is entitled to according to the founding fathers. Of course when the founding fathers all occupy the utmost positions of privilege in a country created on genocide and racial hierarchy, that interpretation gets misconstrued. Recurring themes of oppressed people constantly living in fear that a system will take away their basic human rights has become the new American dream for those who are comfortable in their positions of societal superiority. Seeing people struggle to make a case for why they should be seen and exist equally amongst all has become an addiction for those who want to maintain their place at the top of the ladder. Toni Morrison said it best. “If you can only be tall because somebody’s on their knees. Then you have a serious problem.” Just when you thought those who were on their knees finally had a chance to be just as tall as everyone else, people like Barret put them back on their knees. At this point, I’m more upset at the system that was created to have someone like Amy Coney Barrett who is subpar at best, and not qualified to have this position, gain this position because of her whiteness. According to motherjones.com, Barrett has never tried a case, she has never argued an appeal, she only has two years of private practice which never dealt with criminal cases, and has never served as a judge until 2017. She couldn’t even list the five freedoms citizens have under the first amendment during her confirmation hearing. To put this into perspective, immigrants can’t gain US citizenship without displaying knowledge of the first amendment, yet she doesn’t and is still confirmed to the highest court in the land.She is a prime example of the revolving narrative of white people doing the bare minimum in situations where a person of color needs to be exceptional. And that exceptionalism is still undermined by white mediocrity. This is literally White Supremacy at work. If her name was too “ethnic” or “hard to pronounce” her application would’ve been thrown in the trash despite being qualified to do the job well. If she was dark skinned and had type 4c natural hair, she wouldn’t be in the position she is in. If she wore a hijab, she would’ve been called a terrorist and wouldn’t have the agency to occupy this space. There are so many more examples I can list that would have automatically disqualified her. She pretty much got this position because she’s a conservative white woman that conforms to the Trump administrations right-wing propaganda. I give her the title of Jane Crow because many people forget that Mrs. Jane Crow, Jim Crow’s wife, is the matriarch of White Supremacy. Jane Crow is Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, who prioritized white women’s liberation during the women’s suffrage movement over all women’s liberation. Jane Crow is Carolyn Bryant, the white woman who falsely accused Emmett Till of whistling at her, leading to his racial charged death in 1955. Jane Crow is the majority of white women that voted for Trump in 2016 after he admitted to using his patriarchal privilege to sexually assault women, call them out of their name, and grab women by their, you know.Jane Crow is Sarah Page, the white woman who falsely accused Dick Rowland of assaulting her after he slipped in an elevator on his way to a segregated bathroom. Sparking the Tulsa Race Massacre of 1921.Jane Crow is Amy Coney Barrett, the white woman who likes to play up the idea of being a white savior because she adopted two Black children, while in the same breath reasserting negative racial tropes when speaking of her Black children. Not many people caught it, but during Barrett’s opening statement when she was introducing her family she spoke very highly of her white children. Calling them smart, boasting about how one wants to be an author, the other a future lawyer, and all these great things. However, when she spoke of her Black children, her daughter Vivian, who was brought from Haiti at a young age, was never supposed to be able to walk or talk normally. Now, she can “deadlift as much as the male athletes in her gym and has no trouble talking”. The other child JP, who was also rescued from Haiti, is the “happy-go-lucky” Black boy whose life has been greatly transformed for the better as a result of being saved by white people. These two distinctive descriptions Barrett gives of her Black children conjure up the centuries old controlling images of Black people that are still experienced to this day. They couldn’t be intelligent, mathematicians, and have bright futures. They are “happy-go-lucky” and as strong as men. That’s Jane Crow. And Amy Coney Barret is Jane Crow.
“Antebellum” follows the fictional character Veronica Henley, who is a New York Times best-selling author that is kidnapped by white people and sent to a modern day slave plantation. While she is now a slave, she must battle her way back to the freedoms and the life she once knew as a “free” successful Black woman.
This film stars Janelle Monáe, who burst into the entertainment industry with her critically acclaimed debut album “The ArchAndroid”. Monáe has also been a part of many Oscar-nominated films throughout her career, such as “Hidden Figures”, “Harriet”, and “Moonlight”. Seeing that she was the main character in this film made me excited for its release because anyone who knows me knows how much I love Janelle Monáe.
Other notable actors in this film include Jena Malone, known for her roles in “The Hunger Games” movie series, Eric Lange, whom I haven’t seen since my teenage days watching him play Mr. Sikowitz in Nickelodeon’s “Victorious”, and Oscar-nominated actress Gabourey Sidibe, most known for playing the title character in the film “Precious”.
Seeing all these seasoned and acclaimed artists sharing one space is often a recipe for an amazing film. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case.
With the exception of Monáe, many of the characters were very one dimensional. Malone played the overtly racist white woman who uses Black bodies to perpetuate America's enthusiasm when it comes to maintaining the system of capitalism. Lange played the racist confederate soldier who repeatedly rapes Black female slaves. Sidibe played the character who was there solely for comic relief for the brief moments in the film where we could have a glimpse into the personal life of Veronica Henley before she was kidnapped.
Besides the one-dimensional characters, it was hard for me to watch yet another film depicting Black folks in chains for white America to understand that their ancestors had and still have an obsession with racism. At this point it’s not even entertaining to me, it just adds another layer of trauma on top of all the other examples in the media of Black folks being seen as second-class citizens in a country that we built.
Movies with this same story and this general theme of racism have been recycled over and over and over again. From “Birth of a Nation”, to “Roots”, to “Django Unchained”, to “12 Years a Slave”. There are more than enough examples from Hollywood to show that white supremacy is the spark that has ignited the oppression and suppression of Black folks and people of color in this country.
Another thing that bugged me throughout the film was the fact that we never saw the reaction of Henley’s family after she was taken away. We never got to see her husband and daughter deal with the fact that their loved one might never return home.
This film was also categorized under horror, and I honestly thought it was more suspenseful than scary. But who knows, maybe I’m just used to watching the same story.
My biggest issue overall with this film is the ending and the never-ending narrative of white people trying to create stories where they can’t access the same experiences of the actual suffering of Black people. I say this because many times when white creatives try to pen stories that deal with American slavery, a lot of elements where your target audience can learn and grow from get lost in the failed narrative that the writer was trying to create. Let Black folks be the ones who create Black stories.
With the ending, there wasn’t much closure, which is one of my biggest pet peeves when watching films. I hate having to draw my own conclusions. I can see why the writers created an ending like this and yes, Henley got the revenge she deserved, but what about her family? What happens next? Did the other “slaves” also gain “freedom”?
To draw your own conclusions, “Antebellum” is available for streaming on Amazon Prime Video, YouTube, Vudu, and Google Play Movies & TV.
Since the first Presidential Debate was a national embarrassment, all eyes were set on the Vice Presidential Debate between current Vice President Mike Pence and Senator Kamala Harris. A debate that many political analysts have said is the most important Vice Presidential Debate in American history.
To begin, both parties somewhat respected each other, which seems like a foreign gesture when looking back on the previous debates with Donald Trump both in the first Presidential Debate against Joe Biden, as well as the Presidential Debates in 2016 against Hillary Clinton. While both parties were respectful of one another, it’s important to draw focus on what was actually discussed throughout the debate.
The first topic dealt with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. This topic came as no surprise because six days prior to the debate, President Trump, the First Lady, and many White House officials tested positive for COVID-19. When asked about what a Biden administration would do in January and February to combat the pandemic if they are elected, Sen. Harris said that their plan includes a national strategy for contact tracing, coronavirus testing, and administering a vaccine that is free for everyone who desires to get one.
After Sen. Harris answered her question from the moderator Susan, Vice President Pence was asked why the US death toll was higher than every other wealthy country when dealing with the coronavirus. He immediately blamed China for bringing the coronavirus into the country, and was quick to praise President Trump for suspending all travel to China. In the same breath he attacked Joe Biden for calling the suspension of travel to China xenophobic.
CNN Reporter Daniel Dale fact checked this claim made by the Vice President and found it to be false. All suspension from China was not banned because citizens, family members, and permanent residents were exempt from this restriction. Dale went on to note that a lot of the coronavirus cases actually came from travel to Europe and not China, and that it was too late for restrictions to take place in foreign countries because the virus had already reached and began to spread throughout the US.
A moment that stood out the most during this section of the debate was the moment Vice President Pence said “stop playing politics with people’s lives” during the designated time for open discussion between both candidates. This statement from Pence proved very hypocritical when thinking about how President Trump tweeted out a day before the debate saying that he is suspending a potential coronavirus relief bill until after the election.
“I have instructed my representatives to stop negotiating until after the election when, immediately after I win, we will pass a major Stimulus Bill that focuses on hardworking Americans and Small Business,” Trump said.
Another hot topic that was discussed during the debate was the issue of abortion. With the passing of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the Trump administration has been rushing to confirm Ginsburg’s potential successor Amy Coney Barret. The potential appointment of Barret has drawn much controversy over the past week because many fear that with her having the title of Supreme Court justice, the case of Roe v. Wade will more than likely be overturned. When Vice President Pence was asked how he would want Indiana to respond if the landmark case is overturned, he once again neglected the question and pushed the urgence for the confirmation of Amy Coney Barret.
Sen. Harris was asked the same question but focused on her state of California and she stated that she will always fight for a woman’s right to choose.
“I will always fight for a woman’s right to make a decision about her own body. It should be her decision and not that of Donald Trump and the Vice President Michael Pence,” she said.
The last topic of the debate dealt with the ongoing issue of racism in America. With the ruling of Breonna Taylor’s case, Susan Page asked both candidates if they believed that justice was served in Taylor’s case. Sen. Harris believed that justice wasn’t served and spoke on the proposed reforms of policing and criminal justice in America she and Joe Biden hope to enact if they are elected.
“We will require a national registry for police officers who break the law. On the issue of criminal justice reform we will get rid of private prisons and cash bail, and we will decriminalize marijuana,” Harris said. She also said that under a Biden administration those who have been convicted of marijuana charges will have their records expunged.
Vice President Pence said that the family of Breonna Taylor has his sympathies. He then goes on to express how he trusts America’s justice system and that there is no excuse for the rioting and looting that proceeded after the incident that occurred where George Floyd was murdered.
The part that had me raise an eyebrow was Pence’s denial of systemic racism in America and claiming that police officers don’t have an implicit bias. To deny systemic racism in America just goes to show how much of an ingrained issue White Supremacy is in this country.
While all seven topics highlighted in this debate were and still are very important, the never-ending trend of candidates pointing fingers, dodging the questions at hand, and viewers constantly having to remind themselves what topic is being discussed made this debate seem somewhat normal.
Harris saying “Vice President I’m speaking” and the black fly that landed on Mike Pence’s white hair made more headlines and memes than the actual issues being discussed in the hour and a half long debate.
Don’t let the memes and gifs from this debate deter you from going out to vote. Make sure you have a plan. Either early or on Election Day November 3. Go to indianavoters.in.gov for more information on how to access information regarding voting in your area.
September 26 marked the beginning of stage five, Governor Eric Holcomb’s “Back on Track” plan to reopen businesses throughout the state of Indiana. Moving to stage five means that bars, restaurants, nightclubs, gyms and fitness centers and indoor and outdoor venues are allowed to be open at full capacity. While these businesses are allowed to be open at full capacity, they are met with a number of restrictions.
Face coverings and practicing social distancing are a requirement for these businesses to reopen. It is also required that you frequently wash your hands or use hand sanitizer when hand washing is not available.
The stage five plan also includes a color-coded metrics system that allows the state to report how prevalent coronavirus is in each county. This metrics system measures the number of positive coronavirus cases per 100,000 residents in the county per week. Four different colors separate the severity of outbreaks depending on how many confirmed cases there are within the seven day period.
Blue means that there has been less than five percent of new coronavirus cases reported within seven days in the county. If a county is blue then normal activities are able to continue. Yellow symbolizes that a county has a positivity rate of five to nine percent and increased awareness and safety measures should be taken. Orange and Red codes mean that there is high community spread of the virus and the Indiana State Department of Health will speak to local
health officials about the recommended actions the community needs to take to slow down the spread.
While Indiana is moving to stage five, some managers in the restaurant industry are optimistic, yet still hesitant on whether this is the right call. Especially, heading into the fall and winter months where communities are expected to lose more small owned businesses during the latter end of the year.
James Husek, general manager of Sangrita Saloon in Broad Ripple, says that it’s exciting to be back at full capacity, but it should also be taken with apprehension.
“At Sangrita, we still do not allow bar top seating because we simply just don’t feel comfortable with strangers three feet away from our faces without a mask on,” Husek said. “I think if it is possible for you to survive the winter by only seating what you are comfortable with, you’ve made the hard, correct decision,” Husek continued.
Husek also went on to say that he can’t fault businesses who need those extra dollars to stay afloat. He just hopes that they are doing their best to be safe and healthy. Jordan Schneider, front of house manager at Half Liter Barbecue and Beer Hall, says that she and the Half Liter management staff have gotten together to discuss potential outcomes in time for the winter.
These plans include taking even more sanitary precautionary measures, as well as employees getting a COVID-19 test if they show any symptoms before they can come back to work.
“All we can do now is stay optimistic and stay ahead of our plan to help curate the safest environment for all our guests,” Schneider said.
Schneider has been at the forefront of every different route that Half Liter has taken these past several months. From turning the restaurant into a grocery for members of the Broad Ripple community to have access to fresh produce and carryout during lockdown, opening up for outdoor seating only, to being open indoors at 50 percent capacity. She and the rest of the Half Liter staff are prepared for whatever outcome the winter brings.
With an uncertain timeline for a COVID-19 vaccine and stage five being the final stage in Holcomb’s reopening plan, many are left wondering where to go from here.
As many parts of the world celebrate this year's LGBTQ+ Pride month COVID-19 style, it’s important to highlight and commemorate the reason why a month like this even exists. Black and brown queer and trans people. On June 28, 1969, NYPD raided the Stonewall Inn, a gay club located in New York City igniting a riot between police and the bar patrons. This brought 6 days of protests, looting and violent encounters with law enforcement and would later be referred to in some history books as “The Stonewall Riots”. These riots were led by Marsha P. Johnson, Stormé DeLarverie, Sylvia Rivera and Miss Major Griffin-Gracy. All Black and brown queer and trans activists. They served as catalysts for the modern-day LGBTQ+ movement, and without their fight for equity and justice, pride month, the pride festivals, and the overall pride celebrations that are seen throughout the month of June wouldn’t have the same significance that they do today. Unfortunately, the fight is still far from being over because much of the history surrounding the LGBTQ+ movement is either whitewashed or simply not taught in public and private spaces that allow these important dialogues to be had. Like all movements, there is and will always be a lot of work that needs to be done in order to ensure justice for all marginalized groups of people with overlapping intersectional identities. Black people in all different forms are oftentimes at the forefront of every American movement.After protesting in downtown Indianapolis this past weekend and witnessing police brutality, acts of homophobia, transphobia, and sexism through various social media platforms against Black people, it can’t be more evident that the fight being fought today is very similar to the fight made during the LGBTQ+ movement, the Civil Rights movement, and now the Black Lives Matter movement.In the Black community specifically, the term intersectionality is used as a way for us to understand how we as Black people have to navigate the experiences of not only being “Black first”, but being “Black and”. Depending on whatever the “and” identity is, if the “and” isn’t male, those varying “and” identities are overshadowed by the “Black first” identity. When in reality, it is vital to equate the importance of both the “and” identity that is put in conjunction with the “Black” identity. With the prominence of the Black Lives Matter movement, it must be reiterated that this movement is not simply fighting for the justice of Black men's lives who are murdered at the hands of racism. This movement is fighting for the justice of Black women who are not only murdered at the hands of racism but sexism and patriarchy as well. Three byproducts of white supremacy. This movement is fighting for the justice of Black queer and transgender people who are murdered at the hands of racism, queerphobia and transphobia. Not only from white supremacy, but within the Black community as well. This movement is fighting for the justice of Black lives that are currently incarcerated at six times the rate of white lives for nonviolent drug charges, and the disproportionate rates of almost every single statistic that Black Americans face in comparison to white Americans when it comes to the criminal justice system. So when you chant “Justice for Dreasjon Reed!” and “Justice for George Floyd!”, remember to include Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, Iyonna Dior, Sandra Bland, Emmett Till, and Marsha P. Johnson in that fight for justice. Don’t just look at the Black Lives Matter movement from the perspective of police brutality. Look at the movement from the perspective of the Black lives that have to deal with sexism, homophobia, transphobia, toxic masculinity, the school to prison pipeline, and all of the other institutions in addition to racism that are murdering us.This movement wouldn’t be as groundbreaking as it is without Black women, Black queer/trans/non-binary folks, Black survivors of sexual assault, Black plus-sized people, Black people with mental health issues, disabled Black people, and every other intersection of Blackness leading this fight to justice. So if you say “Black Lives Matter” but don’t include all Black lives, you need to re-evaluate who and what you're fighting for.
With Democratic hopeful Bernie Sanders ending his campaign for the 2020 Presidential Election, the path for Joe Biden to take on Donald Trump is virtually guaranteed. Now, like every general election, the American people are divided and fear that the 2020 election will be equivalent or worse than the 2016 election.
On one side you have citizens who will vote Republican no matter what. On the other side, you have those who vote “blue no matter who”. People often seem to forget about those in the middle. The voters who vote third party, those who write-in candidates, or who just don’t vote at all.
Those that fall on the latter end of the spectrum take a lot of criticism and all of a sudden become the main reason to blame as to why we got to where we are, without realizing that the issue is much deeper than third-party candidates and non-voters. We got to where we are because we live in a system that is built on white supremacy.
How a vast majority of elections work, the candidate who receives the most votes when it’s all said and done wins. But of course, America has to overcomplicate this simple system. For those that didn’t pay attention in history class or forgot, allow me to quickly explain how presidential elections work in America.
To determine the next President of the United States, America uses this thing called the electoral college. A system where there are 538 electoral votes up for grabs, but a candidate only needs 270 electoral votes to win the presidency. Each state has a certain number of electors, and whichever candidate has the most votes in that state receives the designated number of electors to inch closer to the 270 they need. So instead of having whoever receives the most votes win the presidency, we have this complicated system.
In the past, the carpets matched the drapes, and more often than not, the candidate who won the electoral college also won the popular vote. It took a candidate to lose an election despite having three million more votes than her opponent for people to question the legitimacy of this outdated system. A system that was created during a time where African Americans were only counted as 3/5ths of a person and white people could still own slaves.
Adding this system to the heavy upper class white male-dominated politicians that lack the intersectional range to be a voice for the voiceless in a country as diverse as America, creates a recipe for minimal or reverse progress.
It is also important to explore the reasons why people don’t vote or choose to vote third party that those with privilege neglect to understand.
A lot of people opt out of voting in presidential elections because of the way the electoral college works. If the state they live in continuously goes red or blue every four years, they are more than likely not going to be motivated to vote.
You then have to factor in the major parties not nominating favorable candidates who adhere to the interests of the population that they are trying to serve. Especially, when it comes to issues that will affect them the most. These candidates aren’t for prison reform. They aren’t for healthcare reform. And they aren’t calling for reform when it comes to voter suppression. It’s a never-ending cycle of complacency.
Voter suppression is alive and well today in various forms. Specifically in the South where it is targeted towards groups of color. Whether it’s citizens being denied the right to vote due to the egregious process for people who have a felony record to get their voting rights back, not making Election Day a federal holiday so people don’t have to risk a steady income to go vote, or the lack of public transportation available for those to get to their polling sites to ultimately choose from a list of candidates who won't fight for them, in the end, makes it even harder.
The Democratic party had the most diverse and inclusive bunch of presidential candidates ever seen in any election. Ranging from women, people of color, and LGBTQ candidates, but to no surprise, a straight white man with a not so good history has claimed the nomination. Bringing forth the ever tired narrative of voting for the “lesser of two evils”. People are tired of voting for candidates with malice history attached to them, which is why millions of voters choose to go third party.
Somehow throughout the grieving process of the 2016 monstrosity, the argument shifted to “a vote for a third-party candidate is automatically a vote for Trump”. When in reality, a vote for a third-party candidate is just a vote for that candidate. People have been voting third party for decades. This is nothing new. I think people use this argument as a coping mechanism to blind themselves from realizing the issue is much bigger than citizens exercising their human rights. And until people realize that, history will just repeat itself.
“I felt ugly.”
Those three words rang throughout the post “Tunnel of Oppression” discussion as students talked about their experience going through this immersive program.
The Tunnel of Oppression is an interactive production created by the Social Justice Scholars, Resident Assistants, staff and students. The Tunnel aims to highlight contemporary social justice issues and to introduce participants to the concepts of oppression, microaggressions, and the -isms faced by numerous communities in today’s society.
Participants were guided through a series of scenes that aim to educate and challenge them to think critically about issues of oppression.
The topics covered this year were “School Shootings,” “The Colonization of Puerto Rican Women,” “Criminalization of Homelessness” and “Colorism in the Black Community.”
Before groups went through the tunnel, there was a room that featured the topic of white supremacy and racism in America. This room had a Ted Talk titled “Dismantling White Supremacy in Education” by Noelle Picara playing over the speakers to further show how white supremacy is a problem in America. Specifically in the educational system, and what we as citizens need to do to further combat this issue.
The tunnel took place on the fourth floor of the Campus Center and was open to students, staff, and everyone in the community with over 1,300 people attending this year.
The first room was the “Colonization of Puerto Rican Women” which featured a series of clips from three different generations of Boricuan women from the past to today, and how Spanish and American colonization had an effect on this specific group of American citizens.
“The room that shocked me the most was definitely the ‘Colonization of Puerto Rican Women’ because I had zero prior knowledge on the subject. Plus it’s not an issue that many people talk about, so hearing the stories was eye opening,” Jacob Rater said.
Next, the group was taken to the “School Shootings” room highlighting a teacher, parent and student narrating their own personal perspectives of how they view school shootings and the impact it has on the everyday lives of individuals in the public school space. This room is performed using poetry to emphasize the constant narratives surrounding school shootings.
“It was honestly scary how normalized and numb I realized I was to school shootings now that they are so frequent. It was impactful because it made me think about how insane it is that this happens so often,” freshman Anita Buhendwa said.
Then, the group goes to the “Criminalization of Homelessness” room. Telling the story of an IUPUI student and how they navigate life as a college student that is also homeless, as well as being considered a criminal because of all the tickets and fines they received while juggling school and the responsibilities of being an adult.
“Making the homelessness section be about a homeless student was a good idea,” Ballard said.
The last room the group went to was the room that highlights “Colorism in the Black Community.” This room was especially unique because before the performance, the group is separated by two different sides of the room based on the color of their skin through the brown paper bag test.
The brown paper bag test is a test that was created by members of the Black community to further segregate lighter skinned Black people from darker skinned Black people. If you passed the brown paper bag test, meaning your skin is lighter than the bag, you would be accepted into various clubs and exclusive groups.
If you were light skinned, you were considered the cream of the crop when it comes to being “beautiful” in the eyes of society.
“I was not expecting a paper bag to be held to my face and to be placed on the ‘wrong’ side of the room. I felt angry for people who have to face this in their daily lives,” Anita went on to say.
The final two stops on the tour are a wrap up that shows a video telling the group what they can do to be the change they want to see, followed by a discussion about the topics they have just witnessed.
In the discussion room, you could hear a pin drop as people still try to process the heavy subjects they’ve seen showcased.
“I feel like crying right now because I’m a mom and the school shootings room hit close to home for me,” a woman said.
The Tunnel was created seven years ago by Amanda Bonilla, who is the founder of the Social Justice Scholarship.
“It started back in 2013 when a group of students came to me and wanted to do a diversity program that went deeper than ‘food and festivities’. I knew that they were very talented and passionate students at IUPUI who just needed a platform to share their stories, and I had seen The Tunnel done at other campuses so I knew it would be the perfect format,” Bonilla said.
“The Social Justice Scholars pick the topics. I believe that by allowing the students to choose the topics adds more buy-in and the students really gain so much from designing the room. As well as working with the Sapphire Theatre Company to develop the scripts and set design,” Bonilla added.
“Every year we hit capacity and have more and more people attend and support the event. It’s really empowering to see so many faculty, staff, and students take an hour out of their day to learn and participate in Tunnel. I hope people who attended gain an understanding of the experiences of their peers at IUPUI and challenge themselves to think critically about issues of oppression,” Bonilla said.