Diwali Recap

Nikita Srivastava (’19)

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Me playing with a sparkler.

For many non-Hindus, Diwali is known as the festival of lights. Diwali celebrations focus on bringing the family together and enjoying festive activities such as: making rangoli, lighting diyas, and dancing to latest Hindi Film songs. However, the religious meaning of Diwali is incorporated in all these activities.

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The Srivastava Family: Geetika Srivastava, Nikita Srivastava, Bal Krishna Srivastava, and Sangeeta Srivastava

After several years, this was my first Diwali without my entire family. Usually, we make rangoli in front of each entry way into our home so the goddess Lakshmi will bless our home. Then we light diyas everywhere symbolizing light and guidance in the darkest of times. After our prayer ceremonies, we feast on the delicious food my mother spends all day making while I dance (horribly) to the trendiest Hindi songs. If the weather is nice, we end the night with fireworks and sparklers.

This Diwali, my mother drove down from Dayton to have dinner with me. She made traditional Indian food and desserts. I surprised my mother by lighting diyas outside and inside my apartment. Even though it was only the two us, we still had a great Diwali celebration.  Although we did not did get to make rangoli or play with sparklers, we reminisced about the good old days, laughed at each other’s corny jokes, and reminded ourselves why we celebrate Diwali.

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Geetika Srivastava, Samantha Andrews (my best friend), and I celebrating Diwali in 2012.

For Hindus, Diwali means finding your way back to the light. At some point, we all get lost and we all need guidance. For the Srivastava family, Diwali means coming back home to a supportive family that will stand by you no matter what happens.

As holidays approach, look to the sidebar for new, fun, or interesting facts about little known holidays!

 

 

Second Look

 

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Nikita Srivastava (’19)

Here’s what caught our eye on the web recently:

At a time when many are asking why race remains such a potent force in our society, it’s important to explore the impact of persistent residential segregation.  Mark Treskon of the Urban Institute reports that inclusive communities are more economically prosperous. Published in 2017,  this article focuses on segregation in Chicago from 1990-2010 and trends seen in Chicago appear in other major cities as well. City actors could break down barriers to local inclusion, the entire region could benefit from the higher incomes and education levels. The Urban Institute investigates how policy can break down these barriers.  Click on this link to learn more: https://www.urban.org/urban-wire/less-segregated-communities-arent-only-more-inclusive-theyre-more-prosperous.

 

mindy-kalingNeed a show to binge? Have no fear, Mindy Kaling is here! The Mindy Project starts its 6th and final season this month on Hulu. Kaling portrays Dr. Mindy Lahiri, a young Indian physician, navigating her way through life as successful owner of two practices. Mindy faces issues of being in an interracial relationships and being a single mom. Kaling not only shows the humor in these situations but the reality of what is truly like to be an ethnic minority woman trying to make it in a man’s world. Watch it now: http://www.hulu.com

 

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Witness to Innocence is a national organization composed and lead by exonerated death row survivors. Many wrongfully convicted individuals face the death penalty. WTI empowers exonerees by fighting against the death penalty. Furthermore, WTI partners with other anti-death penalty organizations providing a different perspective on the issue. The mission is “to abolish the death penalty by empowering exonerated death row survivors and their loved ones to become effective leaders in the abolition movement.” Click on this link to learn more: https://www.witnesstoinnocence.org/

 

Native American stories and voices are continuously ignored by mainstream culture. Colonization forced assimilation erasing, literally and culturally, indigenous people and the issues they face. In particular, Native American women, trans and nonbinary folks face a unique set of issues. Many Native American women lead the charge to not only raise awareness but also actively fighting for change. Here are 15 indigenous feminists you need to know about: https://www.bitchmedia.org/article/15-indigenous-feminists-know-read-and-listen

 

OJ Simpson Revisited

OJ Simpson’s parole hearing provides another opportunity to consider race in the criminal justice system.

By Nikita Srivastava

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OJ Simpson

Former football player and Hollywood star, OJ Simpson will have a parole hearing on Thursday, July 20th, 2017. In December 2008, Simpson was convicted of robbery with a deadly weapon. He was sentenced to 33 years in prison with the possibility of parole in 6 years. This, of course, was not Simpson’s first encounter with the law. In 1994, a jury acquitted Simpson of the murders of Nicole Brown-Simpson and Ronald Goldman. His high profile case sparked a division on race relations in this nation.

Simpson’s parole hearing will occur when race remains a highly contested and hotly debated topic in this nation. As a result, it’s fitting to examine Joe’s Feagin concept of the white racial frame (WRF) helps us understand why Simpson and his legal issues embody issues of race. And, to watch the Oscar-winning documentary, OJ: Made in America, which brings these complicated issues to life. Continue reading “OJ Simpson Revisited”

I speak Hindi, I am Hindu, and I’m an American: Fighting “Little Things”

Cultural ignorance slows the progress of social justice.

nikkis-photo.jpgGuest Contributor:  Nikita Srivastava, (’19)

As a minority woman in the United States, I am often defined by the color of skin. Although I take pride in my heritage, it is not the only thing that defines who I am. I find myself explaining who I am (or what defines me) more often than my white peers. Not only is this common in social settings, but professional settings as well. What makes matters worse is that my concerns about cultural ignorance are dismissed as “little things.”  Continue reading “I speak Hindi, I am Hindu, and I’m an American: Fighting “Little Things””

From Catastrophe to Intervention, Support, and Love

Adam J. Foss shares his vision for prosecutors at the YWCA Racial Justice Breakfast.

In less than ten years, Adam J. Foss has demonstrated how one young lawyer can make a difference.  A cum laude graduate from Suffolk Law School in Boston in 2008, Foss became

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Adam J. Foss via http://www.newprofit.org

a prosecuting attorney who quickly realized just how much power he wielded.  Choosing solutions over a high conviction rate, Foss worked with criminal defendants to achieve justice, something he said never learned in law school.  Foss shares his insights on criminal justice at the YWCA Racial Justice Breakfast on Tuesday, March 21.  The Center will livestream his talk in room 118 at 8 a.m.pic1-5413200bc8a56

Foss has since left the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office, to work full time at Prosecutor Integrity, which he co-founded with John Legend and his manager Ty Stiklorius.  This new organization seeks to broaden prosecutors’ perspectives by training them to see defendants as individuals not defined by their crimes and, in so doing, challenge a mindset that measures success in terms of convictions.  In his popular TED talk, Foss said that prosecutors can be the difference between catastrophe and intervention, support, or even love.

To see Foss’s talk at the College of Law, register here.  It’s free and breakfast will be provided.

 

 

The Long Shadow of Race and the Legal Challenges to the Muslim Ban

The revised immigration Executive Order remains a ban on Muslims.

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By Guest Contributor, Nicholas Espiritu

By issuing a new travel ban reportedly framed to address constitutional concerns and avoid protests, the Trump Administration seeks to hit the “reset” button.  But, this executive order’s new language can’t hide the fact that it’s targeting Muslims, not terrorism. Continue reading “The Long Shadow of Race and the Legal Challenges to the Muslim Ban”

Breaking the Mold?

Melania Trump’s actions suggest she may not be a traditional First Lady.

Could Melania Trump be challenging the traditional First Lady script?  She’s living in New York with her youngest son and recently declined to accompany her Japanese counterpart Akie Abe when she was visited Washington.  Is Mrs. Trump planning to remake the East Wing?   Continue reading “Breaking the Mold?”