CJ hosted its second global issues and social justice symposium on February 24—an event now re-named the “Stang Symposium.” The event was held in tribute to Sister Dorothy Stang, SNDdeN who was murdered in Para, Brazil on February 12, 2005 for her life’s work centered around social justice and conservation.
“We gather today because of Sister Dorothy. We gather today because her life inspires us to look beyond our own life experiences and into the experiences of others,” said Molly Bardine, symposium coordinator and CJ English teacher. “We gather to explore social issues with the same eyes of faith that Sister Dorothy had so her spirit can take root in our lives.”
Dayton Daily News journalist Mary McCarty delivered the keynote speech portraying her own passion for Sister Dorothy, and explained what compels her to research and write about important global issues on a daily basis. She cited as a pinnacle moment in her career, the day that she was present when the guilty verdict came in for those responsible for Sister Stang’s murder.
“There was pandemonium, sheer joy, dancing in the rain,” she recalled. “It made you feel how much they were oppressed and how much they appreciated Sister Dorothy. It makes me passionate about my work--telling stories like this, and shining a light on issues like this.”
This year’s symposium was led by students who presented topics relating to inequity and oppression including children and war, human trafficking, and the education of girls. After students presented their research, their topics were opened for discussion among their peers. Bardine challenged them to take the discussions further and asked, “What do we do from here? In what ways can we take action as a school?”
“This is all about celebrating what we can do at school,” she said. “It’s a collective dream—whether it’s going on a mission trip, involvement with junior service, thinking about global issues through research, or when you cultivate a perception of global justice.”
As a final component of the event, students who painted the Sister Dorothy Stang Murals were on hand to discuss their inspiration and passionate connection they have with Sister Stang in creating their segments of the murals—all based on the Beatitudes. The murals, located in a community gathering room at CJ, took three years to finish and were officially unveiled just prior to the symposium.
Senior Nola Lee said that initially, she and fellow mural artists viewed over 300 photos that were loaned to them from the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur. “I just saw one of the pictures that I liked.”
She created her mural from a photo of mourners traveling down a hill to attend Sister Stang’s funeral. “There were so many of them. It was very humbling,” she said.