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7th Annual Teach-In on Social Justice

Monday, March 6, 2023

“How Social Justice Issues Collide: Poverty, Wealth, and Public Policy”

(Registration Required)


Register for the Teach-In
(Students, Staff, Faculty Only Please)
Submit a Question 2023 Program Schedule

Gail ChristopherMorning Keynote – Dr. Gail Christopher

Truth, Racial Healing and Transformation: A Necessary Path Forward
(Students, Staff, and Faculty only)

This presentation will offer a comprehensive framework for addressing the legacy of racism in America. The framework is focused on eliminating the belief system of a false hierarchy of human value and its harmful consequences. The antiquated belief system is being replaced with a deeper understanding of our interconnectedness and interdependence as a human family. We will explore how local communities are implementing and adapting the framework as well as the growing movement in America to address related social justice and policy issues. Multi-sector collaborations and diverse coalitions are hallmarks of this work.

Dr. Gail Christopher is an award-winning social change agent with expertise in the social determinants of health and well-being and in related public policies. She is known for her pioneering work to infuse holistic health and diversity concepts into public sector programs and policy discourse. As Senior Advisor and Vice-President at the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, she was the driving force behind the America Healing initiative and the Truth, Racial Healing and Transformation effort. Dr. Gail Christopher also became the Executive Director of the National Collaborative for Health Equity in 2019. In 2021, Dr. Christopher was elected by the American Public Health Association Governing Council to serve as its Honorary Vice President for the United States.

Kim Park Nelson

Afternoon Keynote – Dr. Kim Park Nelson

Resolving Adoptee Multiversity: Direct-to-Consumer Genetic Testing as a Proxy for Birth Family Search among Adopted Adults
(Students, Staff, and Faculty only)

What does it mean to be separated from the family of one’s birth, to lose one’s first identity? The “life that could have been” and the fact of parental replacement is continually present for adoptees. The desire to learn more about our first families is inescapable. We become the people we are as the result of our adoptions, but we also know there must be a “could have been”—if only we could find it. This presentation theorizes adoptee multiversity as a lived experience among adoptees, with birth search through direct-to-consumer genetic testing (DTC GT) as one remedy adoptees use to recover information central to their identities.

Kim Park Nelson is a Korean adoptee, educator, and researcher whose work uses adoption as a lens to understand race and culture. Her work has contributed to building the field of Adoption Studies and Korean Adoption Studies in the U.S. and internationally. She is director and associate professor of Ethnic Studies at the Winona State University. Dr. Park Nelson has authored or coauthored several published articles on adoption cultures and communities. Her book, Invisible Asians: Korean American Adoptees, Asian American Experiences and Racial Exceptionalism (2016) published by Rutgers University Press, dismantles the stereotype that Asian Americans are untouched by racial marginalization. The book is based on her ethnographic research exploring the many identities of adult Korean adoptees, as well as the cultural, social, historical, and political significance of seventy years of Korean adoption to the United States.

Let the Little Light Shine, Kevin Shaw

Evening Program

(This event is Free and Open to the Public)

A film screening and discussion with Kevin Shaw (award winning director, producer, and cinematographer), Elisabeth Greer (professor of English at Harold Washington College), and Isaac Castelaz (educational consultant and former NTA principal)

Let the Little Light Shine is the story of a thriving elementary school in Chicago’s fastest growing neighborhood that is a beacon for Black children, until gentrification threatens its closure. When a proposal is initiated to close the National Teachers Academy and transform it into a high school benefiting the community’s wealthier residents, parents, students and educators fight for the elementary school’s survival.

Social Science image

Unifying Principles behind the Teach-In

  • INCLUSIVITY. We must vigorously work toward an increasingly “inclusive academic community” and not take for granted that this has been achieved.
  • OUR INTELLECTUAL TRADITIONS. We are called to bring the wisdom of our Benedictine and Catholic intellectual traditions into the dialogue about urgent social issues confronting our local, national, and global communities.
  • ENGAGED CITIZENS and THE COMMON GOOD. In our efforts to become “engaged citizens,” we need a fuller understanding of what it means to “promote the common good” and to work toward social justice according to Catholic teachings.
  • OUR HALLMARKS. We are expected to live and to model the values of our Benedictine hallmarks: Love of Christ and Neighbor, Prayer, Stability, Conversatio (formation and transformation) , Obedience/Listening, Discipline, Humility, Stewardship, Hospitality, Community

Questions? Chat with the Virtual Registration Desk

If you have any questions or would like to be involved in planning, please contact:

Wilson Chen
[email protected]

Pat Somers
[email protected]