The Talent Amongst our Community

On Thursday, April 9th Midnight Run hosted heART of Milwaukee at Redeemer Lutheran Church on the corner of 19th and Wisconsin. This was a night of showcasing talent, authentic tunes, laughter, and a stronger sense of community. Members of the Marquette and Milwaukee community came together to show their support for the arts and community building.

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The first hour was a social hour were friends were had the opportunity to snack on food provided by Troop Cafe and  listen to live music. Troop Cafe is a nonprofit cafe located at 3430 W. Wisconsin Avenue that provides food service and hospitality training to US Veterans along with serving meals to the public.

At 7pm the performances began with a beautiful poem about loss performed by a fellow Marquette student. The thunderstorm echoing outside of the church throughout the event add such an eerie and special feeling to the night. This was a night of brave souls whom look leaps of faith on trying something new and sharing on issues in our community. There was a performance by the man behind Humans of Milwaukee that shed light on homelessness and a women’s sexuality. My friend Tim also had the chance of performing a few songs for the audience with his new guitar.

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The last of performance of the night spoke volumes to me. A Marquette nursing student performed an original spoken word poem inspired by a teacher she met while service learning at an elementary school in the Milwaukee area. This poem emphasized how these teachers wear many hats ranging from being a mentor, friend, nurse, tutor and cheerleader helping them walk through the many obstacles the children face on a daily basis.

All were invited to this community event as a way to celebrate the many talents of our community and its great to see how well the night went. A big thank you to the Midnight Run team and all the hard work they put into this organization. Can’t wait to see what this organization does next!


45 Minutes of a Deeper Understanding

On Wednesday March 18th, Marquette University’s Campus Ministry and a faith-based organization known as WISDOM joined forces to shed light on the mass incarceration and solitary confinement issues in Wisconsin through a public forum. I along with other students were exposed to shocking statistics on the matter. For instance, the United Nations has determined that it is inhumane to sentence someone to solitary confinement for longer than 15 days; however, this is not being carried out in Wisconsin with inmates being confined for weeks up to a year.

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This past week, Marquette University showcased an exact replica of a solitary confinement cell in the lobby of Raynor Library to shed light on the topic. Students and members of the Milwaukee community had the opportunity to sign up for a 45 minutes session of confinement in the cell. “Hmm I wonder what it feels like in confinement”, I thought to myself. Little did I know how much I would learn about myself, as well as what an inmate goes through will being locked up in solitary confinement.

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During your 45 minutes in the cell you are provided with headphone playing an audio clip of what one would hear in prison.  You hear cries of the mentally ill, clanking of metal bars, the howling of the wind and the guards seeking to maintain order. While trying to block off the noise, I spent time reflecting on what I had learn from the forum the night before.

Those locked in solitary confinement are confined in a cell for 23 hours a day hidden away from rest of the world expect for mail and prison guards. One hour a day they are taken out of the cell and are put into a bigger cell as a “break” from confinement.

After spending approximately 20 minutes in the cell, I started to feel uneasy sitting on the bed. I got up and walked around the room thinking about a story that was shared at the forum. An elderly women shared here story on how its hard not to lose your mind in such a setting.

My biggest take away from this experience is that our current there is a lot of room for improvement in our current justice system and us as students have the ability to stimulate a movement for change. For more information on how you can become a part of the WISDOM Movement please visit: prayforjusticeinwi.org

Gone too Soon

I woke up February 10th to the sound of my phone buzzing with a BBC update: Three students shot and killed at Chapel Hill. As I scrolled through the news article my heart sank. Three college students were killed in their own home by a neighbor. An investigation arose to determine whether the case at hand was a hate crime. It is speculated that the students were targeted because of their Islamic faith.

Every situation, no matter how dark or tragic it might seem always has a positive side to it. Social media was a tool used to unite thousands on both a global through the use of the Twitter hashtag #MuslimLivesMatter. On the friday after the shooting,Marquette’s Muslim Student Association held a prayer vigil at the Alumni Memorial (AMU), where roughly 150 member of the Marquette community gathered to mourn the deaths of the three victims.

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Noman Hussein, a member of the Milwaukee muslim community, spoke at the vigil expressing his condolences for the three students. “We are all different and the purpose of these difference is that we as a community can learn about who we are as humans and what makes up these differences. These three have left a legacy and their death should not be left in vain. We should start a dialogue and a movement.”

Standing in the AMU watching community members embrace each other in this hard time, I felt an overwhelming sense of unity and comfort. It important to remind ourselves that although these beautiful people were taken from this world too soon, we can learn a lot about the importance of loving each other through our darkest of times. These three student dedicated their time to a life of service and advocacy for those hurting both in their community and Syrian refugees in Turkey.  

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These students inspired many with their story and their legacy will live on #AllLivesMatter 

Behind the Mission

Who Cares? Charity, Justice, and the Common Good echoed through the heart of Marquette this week. Mission Week is a time of reflection among Marquette community members who share a heart for enlightening others on the Jesuit Mission. I along with many others were provided with the opportunity to attend eye-opening seminars and engage in intentional conversations on discrimination and personal faith.

One the most memorable parts of this week was speaking with Mrs. Mary Pimmel-Freeman. I ran into Mary walking into Raynor tuesday evening while she was working on a her artwork. Marquette hired Mary to paint a portrait of American journalist James Foley, a beloved Marquette alumni who left this world much too soon. Stopping to admire Mary’s work, I proceeded to reflect on her project with her.

Mary has a passion for social justice. She loves how she is able to connect her passion for the arts with social justice issues that arise each and every day. She strives to tell a story through her work and her emotional drive sparked by her heart for justice issues, continue to motivate her.

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When asked what social justice means to her Mary said, “It means working for social change to do what you can to make the world a better place. I feel like I found my calling in art. I am able to help people connect to social justice issues. Like music, art touches people in different ways.” The last part of her answer really spoke to me. My passion for music is a big part of my life, so I knew exactly what she meant by this. It is amazing seeing how people like Mary can use their calling to care for the greater good.

Prior to this experience, Mary felt disconnected from Foley’s story. She stressed that artwork such as the one she was working on connects people to important issues they might have previously overlooked. Mary holds true to the belief that things happen for a reason and she intends to use her opportunity to shed light onto this tragedy.