African ‘Her’story: Overcoming obstacles

12 Nov

My majors have done a lot for me. As a political science and justice studies double major, I may not have job security immediately after college as opposed to my business major counterparts, but I can guarantee you that I will get a job I love…eventually. But even if I don’t, I’m satisfied knowing that for the past four years, I’ve been happy. I’ve been studying things I love—unlike by business major counterparts.

All business majors strive to look like him.

Justice Studies in particular has given me the ability to engage in great conversations, analyze amazing stories and cherish awesome opportunities. This past week, for example, I was able to have lunch with Nate Fields, someone who was exonerated from death row.  His memories and stories were unbelievable. Closer to the beginning of this semester, I had lunch with the head of the Southern Poverty Law Center—a center that researches hate groups and works to minimize their effects.

This week, I’m especially excited about my upcoming lunch date. I get to have a dinner conversation with Elavie Ndura, a Burundian Hutu genocide survivor and peace scholar. As a victim of exploitation and violence in the 20th century, Dr. Ndura’s life has been filled with challenges.

I initially heard her on a radio interview on With Good Reason, a Virginia Foundation for Humanities program on National Public Radio. I caught the very end of her interview as I was driving to work and I heard her say something truly inspiring. To paraphrase, she said that doors aren’t always going to be open for you; sometimes you have to push them.

To hear someone say something so encouraging and uplifting after having gone through a lifetime of struggle is remarkable.

As president of the Justice Studies Student Organization, I knew she would be an awesome speaker. I looked her up to get more information and found out that she currently teaches peace education at George Mason University. In particular, she stresses the importance of positive dialogue and the critical nature of acceptance of cultural diversities. I emailed her to see if she would be interested in speaking to our organization and anyone else we could get to hear her story.

She agreed to come speak. She is doing so this Wednesday (November 16) at 7:00 p.m. in Transitions.

When I heard her on the radio say that we sometimes had to push open doors, I had a realization. I think all too often, we expect things to fall in our laps. As college students, I think we sometimes forget that. We wait for the internship, job opportunity, or experience to come to us and get frustrated when it doesn’t. I fall into that trap all the time.

Instead of relying upon someone else to get our foot in the door, so to speak, we should realize we’re the ones that must push the doors open for ourselves.

I’m sure Dr. Ndura will have similar inspiring stories this Wednesday night. You should come and listen. The title of her speech is “Social Justice and Genocide Prevention: The role of local and global communities.”

3 Responses to “African ‘Her’story: Overcoming obstacles”

  1. Tuba 11/12/2011 at 9:07 am #

    Katie, you and your blog are so awesome!

    • classifiedsarcastic 11/13/2011 at 7:52 am #

      you would say that… even though its super true

  2. ihavemythings 11/12/2011 at 3:40 pm #

    You look live you’ve had incredible experiences while at JMU and this past semester! Congratulations!

    And, Justice Studies is the best department out there, coming from one Global Justice major to another.

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