As a school devoted to creating a better future and fighting for social justice, one of the many events held at Lewis during the International Lasallian Days of Peace (ILDP) is the annual Peace Teach-In. The Lewis community celebrated the International Lasallian Days of Peace by virtually traveling around the world on Oct. 12, Oct. 14 and Oct. 15.
The Annual Gross Memorial Event was co-sponsored by Lewis’s Gross Institute and Catholic Theological Union. Five female intellectuals of varying faiths and backgrounds discussed how the pandemic and racial inequalities have been changing their private life, academic scholarship, religious life and women’s leadership.
In such an effort, Lewis invited Dr. Mehnaz Afridi, Rev. Dr. Nicole Martin, Maharat Rori Picker Neiss, Dr. C. Vanessa White and moderator Dr. Malka Simkovich, Crown-Ryan Chair of Jewish Studies at Catholic Theological Union in Chicago. Each of these speakers provided insight on interfaith relations and how people from all walks of life can strive to achieve peace with one another.
These extraordinary religious women have responded in trying times to attempt to promote peace and social justice. Additionally, participants had the chance to consider new opportunities for interfaith healing and dialogues about being a female religious leader.
“In order to affect change, you need to provide examples to look at so people can understand and look at themselves or critique society,” said Prof. Jo Slowik, assistant professor of theatre and producer at the Philip Lynch Theatre. These astonishing panelists are the pillars of the example described by Slowik.
In the sessions, Slowik’s topic of “Augusto Boal’s Theatre of the Oppressed” sought to motivate people, restore true dialogue, practice just peace and create a safe space for participants to rehearse taking action against social injustices.
Slowik got the audience involved in an interactive theatre workshop that exposed micro behaviors of social injustice. Her event was unique in that it was not entirely virtual, but a hybrid event.
Slowik wishes that in another life, “she would be a lawyer and fight the fight.” In this life at least, Slowik, along with every other speaker at the event, furthered the conversation on social justice amidst these trying times.