Week-Long Event Series Celebrates Diversity

By Mark Sullivan
Staff Writer

A week of events celebrating cultural and religious diversity on campus, and the contributions of women to the Boston College community, will close out with the Archbishop Oscar A. Romero Scholarship Dinner on Saturday.

The week's events include a lecture today at 4:30 p.m. in Devlin 008 by Blanche Wiesen Cooke, professor of history and women's studies at the City University of New York and an award-winning biographer of Eleanor Roosevelt. Cooke will present "Eleanor Roosevelt, Women and Power," in commemoration of Women's History Month. The lecture is being sponsored by the Women's Studies Program and several other departments.

Tonight at 8 p.m. in Gasson 100, a two-person play based on a dialogue between civil rights leaders Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X, titled "The Meeting," will be sponsored by the Undergraduate Government of Boston College's Unity office as part of the UGBC "Diversity Week" observance.

That observance continues tomorrow, March 27, when the Philippine Society of Boston College sponsors its fifth annual showcase for various student performance groups at 7 p.m. in the Welch Dining Room of Lyons Hall.

On Saturday, March 28, the Social and Political Action Committee of UGBC will host a "teach-in" on poverty from 11:30 a.m.-3 p.m. in Higgins 304.

"We're seeking to provide a variety of programs and talk about a variety of issues, so everyone on campus will get something out of the week," said Jason Williams '98, executive director of the UGBC Department for Social and Cultural Issues. "We're hoping to teach that, between all these diverse perspectives, there runs a common thread. We hope we'll find commonalities among everyone that will allow us to come together."

Also tomorrow, the Women's Resource Center marks its 25th anniversary on campus with an afternoon of events.

Saturday's Romero dinner will take place at 8 p.m. in the Lower Campus Dining Hall Heights Room, where University President William P. Leahy, SJ, will present the scholarship named for the slain Salvadoran archbishop. The $3,500 scholarship is presented annually to a Boston College junior of Latino descent who represents the values and ideals of Archbishop Romero, whose work against poverty and repression in El Salvador led to his assassination while saying Mass in 1980.

The event, sponsored by the Archbishop Oscar Romero Scholarship Committee, coincides with the first annual Hispanic Alumni Weekend at the Heights.

The week began on Monday when the Boston College Neighborhood Center hosted a community reception at Gasson Hall to open what organizers called "a week of activities dedicated to appreciating people, respecting differences and sharing common bonds."

College of Arts and Sciences Dean J. Robert Barth, SJ, greeted the more than 150 reception guests, who included workers from local youth, elderly and church programs and some 70 schoolchildren and their parents involved in tutoring courses with Boston College student volunteers. The two-hour program included folk tales by master storytellers and music by the Heightsmen, the Acoustics and members of the University Chorale.

Yesterday, panelists versed in several different faith traditions took part in a discussion on religious diversity at Boston College. The event was sponsored by the Diversity Project, a campus multicultural campaign, and carried out under the auspices of the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Committee.

Center for Ignatian Spirituality Director Howard J. Gray, SJ, moderated the forum in Gasson 100. Prof. Francis Clooney, SJ (Theology) and Seena Aras '99, offered perspectives on Hinduism, and Assoc. Prof. John Makransky (Theology) spoke on Buddhism. A Protestant outlook was given by Rev. Howard McLendon, a Baptist minister who is affiliated with the University Chaplaincy, while Asst. Prof. Bruce Morrill, SJ (Theology), presented a Catholic view.

"We need to have these conversations," said Black Studies Program Assistant Sandra Sandiford. "People tend to think of Boston College as a monolith - white, Irish-Catholic, upper-class. That's all they see. But there's much more than that here."

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