Ehrenreich Draws Hundreds
By Craig Dorsett
In front of an overflowing Gasson 100 crowd, Barbara Ehrenreich spoke passionately on a range of issues. From staggering minimum wage rates and inaccuracy in the nation's poverty level all the way to the Terri Schiavo situation, Ehrenreich covered everything, all the while inspiring the activist inside those who listened.
Ehrenreich is most widely known for her book Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting by in America. While this political essayist and social critic has written a variety of works, none of them are as famous as her undercover journey to discover what it's like for low-wage workers trying to get by in America.
"It feels good to be in a Blue state," she noted, within minutes of mentioning her speech would be non-partisan. She pointed out how good it must feel for everyone to know that whomever they love, they could one day marry in the state of Massachusetts. Massachusetts remains the only state in the nation where same-sex couples can get married.
Ehrenreich also discussed how comfortable she felt at a Catholic school, despite her atheism. "I was raised in a home with ethical values not just for some after-life, but for their own sake," she said. Ehrenreich was also pleased to see that Boston College had a student body which worked so passionately for issues of social justice, both at home and abroad. She briefly mentioned BC for Equality Movement's April 15th "Strike and Rally for Equality," to which the room roared with applause.
One of the most noteworthy moments of her talk was when she pointed out the hypocrisy of the Republican Congress and President Bush's exploitation of Terri Schiavo. While leading the "right to life" movement, many conservatives failed to recognize that the only reasons Terri Schiavo lived as long as she did were Medicare and a large malpractice lawsuittwo things Republicans are known to abhor. "If you want to talk right to life, you must talk healthcare," Ehrenreich stated emphatically.
The event succeeded not only in drawing hundreds of community members but also in inspiring a sense of activism in many who attended the event. For Daniel O'Keefe, A&S '06, the event "was, indeed, beautiful. I left feeling motivated to go out and work on issues of social justice in America."
Front Page (April 29, 2005)
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