The Luminary

The Luminary blog is published by the Emerson College Division of Diversity and Inclusion. A “luminary” is a light-emitting celestial body, or an inspiring person who has achieved excellence in their field. With this in mind, we hope to uplift the College’s work in Inclusive Excellence through the writing and features in The Luminary, so that they might stand as examples of understanding, acceptance, and open-mindedness to difference.

How You Can Still Get Involved Post-Election

The 2016 presidential election took a toll on a lot of people. After the election, I felt like I was walking through a fog, and I know that a lot of my peers and professors felt similarly. Many class periods—or at least portions of them—following the election were devoted to talking through what the election…

Breaking Down the House by Zoe Gadegbeku

The night Beyoncé’s Lemonade visual album burst into my life, I scribbled page upon page of notes when I should have been putting myself to bed. I wrote down quotes from Warsan Shire’s poetry that served as the narration for the entire film, the familiar verses from her poetry collection and the new lines I…

My Immigrant Story: Reflections on Alternative Spring Break in El Paso by Kevin Milton

“We’re moving to America.” Those are the words that begin my immigrant story. At age three, I was told that I was leaving the Caribbean, traveling across seas to join my family in America. My father told me all about this family that was waiting for me, he told me all about the big house…

Humans of Emerson: Barry Marshall

Q: What are your music origins? Barry: Well, I actually started as a singer and I got into a really good band when I was sixteen, probably the best band across five towns. We got a lot of performances and paid gigs, and in those days I’d make $50 a night from singing. This was in…

Humans of Emerson: Alexandra Drouhet Henderson

Q: What led you to want to want to become an actress? Alexandra: When I was little I had a lot of confidence issues and I was very quiet, if that’s hard to believe. I started taking piano lessons and one day I sang for my teacher, got into opera, and began taking lessons every…

Humans of Emerson: Mark Yirrell

Q: It sounds like you were always an artist at heart, would you agree? Mark: I think I was an artist in denial. I don’t know if “artist at heart” would fit. I think that’s too generous of a term for me. I played instruments as a kid, piano and viola. I got into chorus…

Humans of Emerson: Jenny Yap

Lately, I have been listening to stories on NPR about how people have opened their homes and communities to refugees from Syria and the Middle East. I am so touched by the kindness and generosity that is out there. Reflecting on my family’s experience as Chinese-Vietnamese refugees, I want to share my story as a…

Communities United Against Violence by Melanie Matson and Greta Spoering

Communities United Against Violence is honored every April at Emerson. While some simply recognize awareness months, we intentionally choose to go beyond awareness and inspire action and community-building. We also recognize that this requires work year-round. Communities United Against Violence focuses our efforts to resist power-based violence in our communities. Power-based violence is a pattern…

La lengua de mi hogar by Caroline Rodriguez

Lunes Martes Miercoles Jueves Viernes Sabado, Domingo One of my first memories is that simple melody, repeated over and over with clapping hands, my grandfather laughing as he bounced me on his knee. Over and over again, until those words were tattooed on my brain, as completely unforgettable as all las palabras ingles stuffed in…

Standing in Integrity by Dr. Sylvia Spears

Oh, what a blustery and snowy day it was. The storm delivered a bit of a gift: a rare opportunity to be still. Of course, I really caught up on work email, washed clothes, cooked, and prepared two presentations for workshops that would take place later in the week. I also managed to squeeze in…

Women’s History Month

On March 8, 2016, people around the world celebrated International Women’s Day. Many marked the day by participating in the Day Without a Woman strike, which protested the many ways women continue to experience oppression in patriarchal societies. The strike called for women to take the day off work and refrain from spending money except…

ReVisionaries: A Transformative Writing Experience by Cheryl Buchanan and Massiel Torres

Cheryl Buchanan is a Writing, Literature, and Publishing professor at Emerson College, the president and founder of the nonprofit Writers Without Margins, and the editor of Writers Without Margins: A Journal of Poetry and Prose. During the Fall of 2016, I taught the first ReVisionaries class at Emerson with fourteen Writing, Literature, and Publishing students, who…

In Plain Sight: Reclaiming the Work of Hidden Figures by Judy Pryor-Ramirez

As February’s Black History Month comes to a close and we gear up for Women’s Herstory Month in March, I am struck by this particular juncture. This annual moment on our academic calendars illustrates my life — moving through the world at the intersection of race and gender. Because of this juncture, it is no…

Creating Change Culture Shock: Shifting Between Liberal Spaces by Lauren Lopez

I’m no stranger to culture shock. It happened the first months of college when I’d have conversations with my friends and someone would say “pop” as another argued “soda,” or “clicker” versus “remote,” and “bubbler” versus “water fountain.” It happens every time I prepare to order a bagel at Einstein’s, knowing it won’t be the…

Inspiring Action: Emerson’s MLK Week 2017 by Lucie Pereira

Each year, Emerson comes together to celebrate the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. not only with a holiday, but a week dedicated to events that explore themes of race and activism. This year’s theme centered on a question that MLK asked in the title of one of his books, “Where Do We Go…

Reflections on The Women’s March on Washington by Katja Vujic and Christine Lavosky

Katja Vujic: On November 9, I woke up at 7 a.m., though I didn’t have class until 10. I’d spent the day before, Election Day, avoiding all coverage. I’d sat on the hill in the Common in the dusky afternoon light and had a light picnic with my friends. It was the most pleasant day…

Diversity in Holiday Movies by Lauren Lopez

One of the magical parts about the holidays is being able to cozy up on the couch by yourself or joined by family, friends, and pets to watch holiday movies. But nothing can ruin the holidays faster than turning on the Hallmark channel and seeing nothing but predominantly white, heteronormative Christmas movies. So hopefully this…

A Time of Reckoning by Dr. Sylvia Spears

On Being Woke Our students sometimes talk about people being “woke.”  The term implies that an individual has moved from a place of not knowing to a place of deep awareness. It is a status ascribed to those who have transitioned beyond the sometimes slow process of awakening to a much deeper place of understanding…

Frida Kahlo by Fatima Malo Torres Trueba

On Friday, November 11, Emerson’s Latino organization AMIGOS took a field trip to the Museum of Fine Arts to see the Frida Kahlo exhibition. Even though the exhibition was somewhat small, it made me really happy to see a piece of Latin culture in Boston.   The exhibition is called “Kahlo and Her Circle,” and…

Boston Asian American Film Festival Opens at Emerson with Alumnus Hashiguchi’s “Good Luck Soup”

by Blake Campbell On October 18, Emerson College MFA graduate Matthew Hashiguchi screened his powerful new documentary Good Luck Soup to a full house at the Paramount Center’s Bright Family Screening Room. Presented by the Bright Lights Screening Series and the Boston Asian American Film Festival, the film uses Hashiguchi’s experiences and those of his…

Reading Race: Diversity in Publishing by Lucie Pereira

In October, the Department of Writing, Literature, and Publishing hosted a panel on the topic of diversity in children’s and YA literature, moderated by WLP professor Jabari Asim, the editor-in-chief of the NAACP’s magazine The Crisis and the author of the recently released picture book Preaching to the Chickens: The Story of Young John Lewis.…

Transgender Awareness Month by Lauren Lopez

November is Transgender Awareness Month, a celebration that seeks to bring increased awareness to the transgender community and the challenges transgender people face.Transgender Awareness Month allows the community to bring more attention to these conversations and to educate those around them about the experiences transgender people face on a daily basis and have faced throughout…

Are You Uncomfortable? Unpacking the N-Word by Anneliese du Boulay

The n-word is a term of mystery. A term of notoriety. A term so carefully scrutinized that it is put in quotations and given a nickname so as to not offend. But who does it offend? And in what contexts is the word branded offensive? Last Wednesday, EBONI opened these questions to fellow students seeking…

Queer History Month by Casey MacPhail

At a school like Emerson, where a large part of the student body identifies as LGBTQ+, it may seem like there’s no reason to make a big deal out of National Queer History Month. But it’s not just enough to know that LGBTQ+ students are here. We need to actively support and affirm those students,…

A Note from Dr. Sylvia Spears, May 2016

The end of the spring semester is often a time of great celebration. We have survived yet another academic year. We have watched our seniors and graduate students make their way through their final exams, projects, and capstones. We have congratulated newly promoted faculty. We have thanked staff for their hard work throughout the year.…

Spotlight: 2016 Inclusive Excellence Award Recipients by Rebecca Rozenberg

Each year, the Office of Diversity and Inclusion honors community members who have demonstrated leadership in inclusion at Emerson. The Inclusive Excellence Awards recognize staff, faculty, and students who are selected based on their creativity and innovation in contributing to the College’s inclusion-related goals. This recognition reinforces Emerson’s commitment to diversity and inspires other community…

Reflection: Faculty Assembly Student Walkout – One Year Later by Lucie Pereira

Sitting in the faculty assembly on March 29, watching a video about last year’s student walkout, all I could think was how differently I had felt back then compared to how I was feeling now. A year ago, I was frustrated, disheartened, and disillusioned. Before coming to Emerson, I had grown up in predominantly white…

Emerson360: Community Climate Survey Update by Rebecca Rozenberg

  In November 2014, the Emerson College Office of Diversity and Inclusion conducted the Emerson360: Community Climate Survey. The survey was administered in two parts, to students regarding general climate and perceptions as well as education, training, and support related to power-based interpersonal violence;and to faculty and staff seeking feedback regarding the College’s work environment.…

Tips for Studying Abroad by Ilse Damkoehler

1. Keep an open mind. Remember: you’re there to experience the culture, not change it—follow their customs with respect, and you might find your perspective changing. “At first, when an Italian kissed me on the cheek as a greeting I immediately thought that they were being creepy, a very harsh assumption. Over time, I became…

Inclusive Excellence in Action Spring 2016 Participants by Rebecca Rozenberg

During the Spring 2016 semester, a total of twelve Emerson College faculty and staff members completed the Inclusive Excellence in Action Certificate Program. The Inclusive Excellence Certificate Programs are offered each semester, focusing on skill development in intercultural competence. Upon completion of this six-week professional development course, participants are presented with a certificate sharing their…

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