||The Leadership Program is pleased to announce a number of exciting programs and opportunities for spring semester. Below you will find a list of these programs and projects. You will find the possibilities to be intentionally wide, with opportunities for students to engage in both creative and critical thinking and there is room for any discipline or course to find a way to connect to these programs. For Spring 2013 we have chosen to focus our programming on “Human Rights and Freedoms” using the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation, one of Abraham Lincoln’s most important acts as president, as our inspiration. I am happy to talk to you further about how you might include any of the programs with one or more of your classes or a student organization.
Martin Luther King Day - National Day of Service
In 1994 Congress designated the Martin Luther King federal holiday as a national day of service and charged the Corporation for National and Community Service with leading this effort. Taking place each year on the third Monday in January, the MLK Day of Service is the only federal holiday observed as a national day of service – a "day on, not a day off." The MLK Day of Service is a part of United We Serve, the President's national call to service initiative. It calls for Americans from all walks of life to work together to provide solutions to our most pressing national problems. The MLK Day of Service empowers individuals, strengthens communities, bridges barriers, creates solutions to social problems and moves us closer to Dr. King's vision of a "Beloved Community" ("Our loyalties must transcend our race, our tribe, our class, and our nation . . ."). Our AmeriCorps* VISTA volunteer is required to organize an event, and we plan to host a relay event in Bruner Fitness and Recreation Center. We have selected this event to call greater attention to the idea that “the work for human rights and dignity is not a sprint, it’s not a marathon, it’s a relay. . .” and that every single one of us has a role to play. This event also links to a required IS 205 reading, The Mountain Top, which concludes with the image of “passing the baton” as human rights work continues. We hope to involve all parts of the campus and community. A modest entry fee will raise money for a community organization dedicated to the rights and dignity of all.
The Leadership Program's 2nd Annual Action! Values Video Contest
Last year the Leadership Program invited students to create their own videos that focused on the Leadership Program’s values of “Justice and Opportunity.” The program that featured the student videos played to a standing-room-only crowd. This year, the contest will feature the theme, “Human Rights and Freedoms,” and the Leadership Program will provide prizes in addition to a great campus program.
The Sonja Project Grows
The Leadership Program’s foundational course, “Leading the Way: Meaningful Leadership in a Democracy,” features as its service-learning project, The Sonya Project. This project connects class members to at-risk elementary school students in reading partnerships. The value of this program has been recognized not just by the Jacksonville School District, but also by Illinois Campus Compact and AmeriCorps*VISTA. This semester we look forward to expanding the program in key ways: The partnerships formed in Sonya Counts will work to strengthen math skills and in Sonya Explores, Illinois College science students will focus on reading in the sciences. However, we also want to extend the Leadership Program’s focus on Human Rights and Freedoms to the school that has worked the most closely with us in the development of The Sonya Project. We have planned a “Freedom Tellabration” for all students at Lincoln Elementary school. We plan to bring professional storyteller Linda Gorham from Chicago to offer the program, “I Shape Freedom,” at the school. In addition, we hope to be able to present each student with a copy of the new book illustrated by award-winning Kadir Nelson (Caldecott Award and Coretta Scott King Award), I Have A Dream, celebrating King’s most famous speech (2013 marks the 50th anniversary of this speech).
The Al Habtoor Leadership Lecture
The Leadership Program will welcome Ta-Nehisi Coates, senior editor of The Atlantic to campus as the 2013 Al Habtoor Leadership Lecturer. He is also identified by many as one of the world’s best bloggers. His recent controversial article in The Atlantic, “Fear of a Black President,” provoked both anger and praise. He is best known for his nuanced reading of and writing about the racial tensions inherent in American history and ideology including the Emancipation Proclamation.
Alternative Spring Break in Our Own Backyard
The Leadership Program plans an alternative Spring Break experience for Illinois College students who will engage in service throughout the Jacksonville community. We are planning service activities now.
The Harriet Beecher Stowe Center Connects to Illinois College
The Leadership Program would like to sponsor a program that mirrors those offered at the Harriet Beecher Stowe Center, the evening “salon,” just as Harriet Beecher Stowe and friends did in the 19th century. Those salons focused on the important issues of the day and so will we. Generally, the Stowe Center facilitates the discussion, and they invite two “experts” to add to the discussion. We will as well. We hope to invite our own alumnae experts and Katherine Kane, executive director of the Stowe Center to lead the discussion. We would like to offer at least two salons (since participant discussion is key to the “salon,” we would have to limit the audience. We would like to offer one salon for Leadership Fellows and class members (perhaps we could meet in Paul Findley’s home, or the home of the president or the dean) and one for wider community members. We are exploring funding to make this program possible.
Art Poster Contest
The Leadership Program will sponsor a poster design contest for Illinois College students addressing the “Rights of the Child” as determined at the 1989 United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.” The Convention set out these rights in 54 articles and two optional protocols and spelled out the basic human rights that children everywhere should have: the right to survival; to develop to the fullest; to protection from harmful influences, abuse and exploitation; and to participate fully in family, cultural and social life. The four core principles of the Convention are non-discrimination; devotion to the best interests of the child; the right to life, survival and development; and respect for the views of the child. Every right spelled out in the Convention is inherent to the human dignity and harmonious development of every child. The Convention protects children's rights by setting standards in healthcare; education; and legal, civil and social services. The posters will present these rights in list form:
1. The right to live
2. The right to develop and grow
3. The right to have an identity
4. The right to have parents
5. The right to have an adequate standard of living
6. The right to be protected from all harm
7. The right to be informed and educated
8. The right to have thoughts and beliefs
9. The right to express feelings and opinions
10. The right to have privacy
11. The right to associate with others
12. The right to belong to a culture or religion
13. The right to be treated justly
We have also asked that, in addition to the poster contest, students be invited to focus on one of these rights alone in order to create a piece that might be included in a Leadership Program traveling exhibit that could be featured in schools and other public venues. (2014 will mark the 25th anniversary of the “Rights of the Child,” and we want to prepare now for how the Leadership Program can educate and serve the community in this regard.)
The Leadership Program will sponsor the CONGO/Women Art Exhibit to campus. We are exploring funding possibilities to help us with this program. This project will help to raise awareness on campus and in the community on the plight of women whose “human rights and freedoms” are denied in horrific ways. The Women of the Democratic Republic of Congo have shown incredible bravery in the face of unbelievable atrocities, as evidenced by the photographs assembled in this exhibition. These women, along with their families, have survived a litany of atrocities: oppressive dictators; the violent passage to democracy; economic crises; and an ongoing struggle of regional and tribal warfare which has found its end far too slowly and with far too much bloodshed. These challenges have been accompanied by a devastating lack of both general and reproductive healthcare, HIV/AIDS, and the common occurrence of rape and extreme sexual violence against women and girls of all ages. For those who survive, support is often unavailable.
The photographs in this exhibition, taken by Lynsey Addario, Marcus Bleasdale, Ron Haviv and James Nachtwey, tell the story of daily life in the Congo – political, economic, cultural, medical and personal. These images are at once gorgeously composed, highly aesthetic and full of humanity. At the same time, many are painfully saturated with human grief and suffering.
The essays that accompany the photographs provide a deeper background with which to understand their context. They address a human-made humanitarian crisis. This is not a natural disaster; it is our disaster as a global community.
This exhibition sheds light not only on the situation facing women of the Democratic Republic of Congo, but on gender-based violence around the world and demonstrates why the arts have a powerful role as mirror and map to influence social change. Through the arts we create possibilities, identify necessities and shape our realities. In recognizing this phenomenon, we acknowledge a profound and far-reaching fact: art can encourage our greatest human capacity and can be the vehicle for the deepest of human expressions and actions.
Visit the National Civil Rights Museum
Several faculty members have approached the Leadership Program with requests to sponsor a field trip to Memphis, Tennessee, to visit the National Civil Rights Museum. Given our semester focus on “Human Rights and Freedoms,” such a trip fits perfectly with our focus and could be a wonderful learning opportunity for Illinois College students. At this point, we anticipate that this would be a long weekend trip (leave Friday and return Sunday). We are presently exploring funding for this trip.