Healing Onondaga Lake

Sunset at Onondaga Lake highlights the natural beauty the Haudenosaunee are trying to preserve.
Sunset at Onondaga Lake highlights the natural beauty the Haudenosaunee are trying to preserve.

The Haudenosaunee come together for a spiritual ceremony at one of the country’s most polluted lakes. 

By Johnny Rosa

Along the water’s edge, at the end of a meandering series of parking lots, about 25 people slowly gathered under the setting sun. The group looked fundamentally out of place. Most visitors to Onondaga Lake Park come bearing young children armed with scooters, eagerly rushing towards the playground. The people gathered by the water’s edge weren’t there to play games at the end of a long day. They were there to heal the lake and give gifts to all the waters of the world.

Spiritual leaders, citizens of the Haudenosaunee, and political leaders gathered in the long grass behind the last parking lot. The Haudenosaunee consist of six Native American nations: the Seneca, Cayuga, Onondaga, Oneida, Mohawk, and Tuscarora. The gathering was a ceremony that has been occurring since long before the eager children began pleading with their tired mothers for overpriced lake-side ice cream.

Nature is constantly trying to start life anew, despite Onondaga Lake’s pollution.
Nature is constantly trying to start life anew, despite Onondaga Lake’s pollution.

A long blast through a conch shell signaled the beginning of the ceremony. As words of a Native American language opened the ceremony, a fish about the size of a forearm jumped out of the lake, as if to say hello. Gulls swooped low over the lake, catching the gnats swarming near the surface, and ducks paddled in circles far out on the water. In the heart of an old industrial city, the lake still teemed with nature. After the Haudenosaunee gifted the water with their words, an old woman who had been sitting in silence began to sing. Her lilting voice sang to the lake and brought tears to the eyes of her people.

To the Haudenosaunee, women are more in tune with water than men. So it was the women of the group who then filled a ceremonial plastic pitcher full of water from the surrounding area. Then all the women in attendance — Haudenosaunee and non-native alike — were instructed to line up one by one starting by the water and stretching back into the crowd. The pitcher was handed down the line, held for a moment by every woman in attendance before the youngest girl there slowly poured the water into the lake while a teenage girl chanted another Native song. The conch shell blew again signaling the end of the ceremony. The large fish returned, seemingly to thank the people by the water for their efforts. It leaped out of the water and crashed back into the lake, slapping the water in natural applause. The lake is not healed, but the Haudenosaunee don’t give up. They’ve known the land around Onondaga Lake for over a thousand years; they won’t abandon their friend now.


Syr-raza-cuse: Meet Bryan Sanchez

“No importa de donde vienes, si vienes del sur del río o el norte del frío, todos venimos aqui por un mejor futuro…”

“It does not matter where you come from, whether you come from south of the river or north of the cold, we all came here today for a better future…”

These were the words that Bryan Sanchez spoke over a crowd of people who demanded a better work environment for the Chican@ community. It has never been easy for Chican@s in the workforce. Even since the time of Cesar Chavez and Dolores Huerta, equity for Chican@s has not come without a struggle.

On this particular day, Bryan Sanchez was participating in a march and rally to stand in solidarity with the Chican@ workers in Oceanside, California in order to demand their basic rights as workers.

He remembers how people reacted to just the sight of he and his people joining together. He remembers people driving by and screaming at them to return to their country. He remembers a young white male, not much older than him, demonstrating a Hitler salute from across the street. This powerful moment reminded him the importance of remaining strong and always having pride for himself and his community.

Bryan David Sanchez Santiago is from Oceanside California and identifies as a Chicano. He grew up being taught that he was an American, but today he has very proudly dressed himself in the Chicano identity. When I asked Bryan what this identity represents to him he said “it represents a struggle and a legacy of Mexico.” His parents and ancestors from Mexico left this legacy by building a culture from their experiences and their history.

Despite living in the United States for most of his life and being coached to say he was American, Bryan Sanchez describes the phenomenon of not being able to fit into what has classically been painted as American.

However, he describes this phenomenon as a gift.

He carries a captivating pride for his identity as Chicano. He his happy to carry his ancestry, he is happy to speak out for his community and he is overjoyed at the beauty of the Chican@ culture.

¡Que viva Bryan y que viva la raza!



Medley Magazine is Hiring For Spring 2016!

Medley magazine shares stories from our campus, our city, and our globe that explore the intersection of cultures from a socially conscious perspective. We cover food, local urban issues, fashion, international affairs, and so much more. Past issues can be found at: https://issuu.com/medleymagazine

For this semester, the following positions are available:


-Associate Editor

-Feature Writers





Public Relations

-PR Associates

If interested, please email su.medley@gmail.com with a resume, short statement of interest, and 2-3 samples by Tuesday, January 26. If you have any questions, feel free to email that same address.


BIMG_3966 peppery Maya Quiñones

When the fall begins in New Mexico we peel green chile. The chile is roasted and put into giant plastic bags. We take it home and empty it on the kitchen table. We cover our hands in plastic gloves because it starts to burn your hands after a while. We invite the family over so they can help. We can get it done quickly if more hands are working.


After hours of peeling, the whole neighborhood smells of green chile. This smell become a signal for the leaves to begin floating from the trees to fill the streets and cover the sidewalks. It’s a call to action, for the birds to start seeking shelter as the winter wind moves in.

The chile is chopped and packed into the freezer, where it will until we use it throughout the next year. Mom will use it to make green chile stew, green chile chicken enchiladas, and green chile cheese burgers.

In New Mexico chile is extremely important to the Chican@ culture. It is rare to have a meal without it. Identifying as Chicano or Chicana means a lot of things beyond food as well. The term ‘Chican@’ describes a person who is of Mexican descent, but born and raised outside of Mexico. There is power, pride and struggle that comes with this identity. For me, being Chicana is only half of my identity. With pride, I identify as a “ChicanaRican”, with a mixture of Chicana blood from my mother and Puerto Rican blood from my father. It is my f
irst time living outside of New Mexico, and away from my Chicana roots. Syracuse University is a long way from home, but I intend to continue to explore the Chican@ diaspora wherever I am in the world. In the time ahead I will be exploring what being Chicano means to my brothers and sisters on the Syracuse University campus.

Stay tuned, y que viva la raza.

tractor trailer

15 Contemporary Native American Musicians

By Jourdan Bennett-Begaye (Diné)

Jourdan BBYa’at’ééh. I’m Jourdan, a graduate student from the Navajo Nation. The Navajo Nation is the largest Native American tribe in the United States with the largest Native American reservation in the country (it’s as big as West Virginia).

On the second Monday of October, I participated in the celebration of Indigenous Peoples’ Day – known to some as Columbus Day. However, for indigenous people, it’s a day to celebrate our survival. We want the world to know that despite all that happened to us, we are a strong and resilient people still fighting today. In fact, our fight has become so strong that many of us young indigenous people continue to fight to change the name of C-Day to Indigenous Peoples’ Day. To date, nine cities have been successful. Colleges and universities are following suit.

Indigenous Peoples' Day

I spent this past Indigenous Peoples’ Day with my indigenous brothers and sisters on the Syracuse University Quad asking people to sign our petition to change the name of the holiday on campus. I spoke with a professor who teaches indigenous music at the university and enthusiastically expressed her love for our culture, especially the music, but she only teaches traditional indigenous music. When I asked her why she doesn’t include contemporary music, she said she can’t find any and it doesn’t exist. I held my tongue, calmed myself, and said, “There’s plenty of it!” I wrote down Revolutions Per Minute, a website full of indigenous artists today, and asked her to look at it.

I do not remember her name. However, that’s not the point. The point is that we as indigenous peoples are still seen as a people of the past. It’s 2015. Friends, family, and colleagues tell me stories of people they’ve encountered in the United States or overseas who think we are extinct. Extinct. As if we are animals. As if we were an endangered species and poof! We disappeared.

I can go on and on about how angry this makes me feel, but instead, I will share with you what I know.

I happen to have a noggin and network full of powerful, talented indigenous artists. I’m also a co-founder of the Survival of the First Voices Festival, an art and media festival for Native American and First Nations youth. From my experience, I got to know many painters, photographers, hip-hop artists, hoop dancers, models, fashion designers, graphic designers, actors, and actresses who radiate with beauty in their respected industries, who work their best to collaborate with one another, and who work their tails off each day for the next Seven Generations. They’ll blow you away.

I can’t name all of the indigenous artists. Heck. I could write a series of posts about Native artists. This list of 15 Native American musicians today is just a starting point.

What I hope you take away is that we are living, breathing people with extraordinary talent. I hope you share this with your network and educate one mind at a time. Let others know we are striving.

I ask you to really listen to the music. It’s not your typical hip-hop, rap, or electronic dance music. It all means something. These songs tell our stories and our fights.

1. A Tribe Called Red

A Tribe Called Red played at the 2015 Coachella festival where they banned all headdresses. If you wore one, you couldn’t attend their performance. This native producer/DJ crew of three – DJ NDN, Bear Witness and 2oolman – create unique club music mixing traditional pow wow vocals and drumming with electronic music. Take a listen to them, you won’t regret it.

2. Frank Waln

Frank Waln is an award-winning Sicangu Lakota hip-hop artist, producer, and performer from the Rosebud Reservation in South Dakota. He received his BA in Audio Arts and Acoustics from Columbia College Chicago. Waln was featured on Buzzfeed’s 12 Native Americans Who Are Making a Difference, USA Today, ESPN, and MTV’s Rebel Music Native America. He is part of the Dream Warriors  Management and Scholarship Program, a management program recently started by himself, Mic Jordan, Tall Paul, and Tanaya Winder.

You can find his music on his website, iTunes, BandCamp, and Soundcloud.

3. Inez Jasper

Inez Jasper is an award winning pop artist, speaker, nurse, producer, and sound engineer from Canada. She blends traditional native sounds with pop music that will positively influence your mood. She has won six awards and numerous nominations for the JUNO awards in Canada. Jasper is heavily involved in speaking about the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women throughout the community.

4. Supaman

Supaman is from the Crow Nation in Montana and was featured as MTV’s Artist of the Week in 2014. He wears his regalia while he performs, which is now part of his signature look. MTV filmed a live performance that shows you how he earned that Artist of the Week title.

5. Mic Jordan

Mic Jordan (Anishinaabe) is hip-hop artist, speaker, activist, and graphic designer hailing from the Turtle Mountain Reservation. He speaks to youth about the disparities Indian Country struggles with (e.g. alcoholism, suicide, Native mascots, and gun violence) and inspires them to overcome the obstacles. His music video, #DearNativeYouth, promotes a new project him and many other Native artists are working on called The Last Stand Mixtape. Check out more of his work in music and design.

6. Tall Paul

Tall Paul started making rhymes at the age of 14 – and didn’t stop. Now he is part of Dream Warriors Management and his goal is to “make people shed tears of joy and pain, feel that familiar tingle down their spines, and nod their heads with conviction all while experiencing bits of laughter here and there.”

7. Nataanii Means

Nataanii Means (Diné/Oglala Lakota/Omaha) is from Chinle, Arizona on the Navajo Reservation. He is part of True Pride Music, a label of many Native artists. His music talks about the hardships of indigenous peoples and speaks about the rights of indigenous peoples, a legacy he is carrying on from his father, Russell Means (a famous Native American activist who passed in 2012).

8. Wab Kinew

If you haven’t noticed, the Native artists on the list wear many hats. This is certainly true for Wab Kinew. He’s a father, journalist, speaker, community leader, and heavily involved in academia and politics. He recently published his book, The Reason You Walk.

9. Spencer Battiest

Spencer Battiest is from the Seminole Nation in Florida and is full of talent. He opened for Aerosmith, Sting, and The Police, and performed in London’s Hyde Park. Before focusing on pop and R&B, he use to sing gospel music and hymns in Miccosukee, Creek, and Choctaw. Watch out for this rising artist!

10. Lightning Cloud

This duo (Crystle Lightning and MC Redcloud) is a hip-hop group from Los Angeles, California. They work with DJ Hydroe to fuse together gangsta hip-hop and electronic trap music with sounds of the club scene. All three are very talented indigenous artists who are constantly on the road working and speaking. Learn more about them here.

11. Derek Miller

Derek Miller was born on the Six Nations of the Grand River, Mohawk Territory in Canada. He’s a guitarist, singer/songwriter who toured with Buffy Sainte-Marie and has released three albums.

12. Andy “Wake Self” Martinez & DJ Young Native

I love these two together. They freestyle it up in the studio of Generation Justice in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Wake Self has a sweet hit called “New Mexico,” the unofficial state anthem along with other moving lyrics here. DJ Young Native spends his time spinning some sweet beats. Check of more of DJ Young Native‘s music on Soundcloud.

13. Honey

Honey, or Rhonda Duvall, is Navajo and an independent R&B artist mixing hip-hop and soul. She performed during half-time at the WNBA Atlanta Dream game and continues to perform across the country.

14. Scatter Their Own

Scatter Their Own is an “alter-NATIVE” Lakota rock duo from the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota. They speak on many indigenous issues through their music and are deeply invested in spreading knowledge about their Lakota culture.

15. The Plateros

Last, but not least, The Plateros. This blues rock band is from Tohajiilee, New Mexico on the Navajo Nation. They describe their sound as “a style like Stevie Ray Vaughan.”

BONUS: I could not leave out one well-respected artist who was a hit many years ago and still touches the hearts of people across Native America. I remember the first time I fell in love with Litefoot. I was 9 and my mom listened to his CD in her green Toyota truck. His song, “My Land,” was my first taste of activism. He recently released a new music video called “Pop.”

I believe as a journalist, I am an educator as well, so I included another song from MTV’s Rebel Music: Native America featuring Frank Waln, Nataanii Means, Inez Jasper, and Mike Cliff called “The Revolution.” It sends chills down my spine.

Revolution by Frank Waln, Inez Jasper, Nataanii Means, and Mike Cliff

Here is the episode from MTV. Enjoy!

You can use this list of music awards and resources to find more contemporary Native American music.

Punto de Contacto Celebrates Its 40th Anniversary

By Stacy Fernandez

The year was 1975 when Punto de Contacto ­— Point of Contact— opened its doors to the public. Fast-forward to today, the celebration of the gallery’s 4oth anniversary.

When you walk in through the glass doors, there is a stark difference between the silence of Armory Square and the atmosphere inside of the gallery. The lights are dimmed just enough to give the large open room an intimate feeling. There is a DJ in the corner playing contagious salsa music, and in the center of the ceiling of course hangs a shiny disco ball. What is a 70s themed celebration without a groovy disco ball?

In the main room where the exhibit is on display there is a mix of students and adults alike. Some people are analyzing the art intently, others give it a quick glance, but all seem to be enjoying being in the space together.

“I’ve been here once before when they were setting everything up,” said Zach Barlow a junior dual major in writing and rhetoric and photography at Syracuse University. “I think it is amazing, it is beautiful, and to be honest I feel super classy.”

Halfway through the event, Miranda Traudt, managing director of the art show, thanked the crowd for coming out to support the gallery. She also mentioned that the artwork that was being exhibited is from the permanent collection and was either especially made for or donated to Punto de Contacto.

“It represents where we come from and where we hope to go in the future,” Traudt said.

After a few more remarks from Traudt the crowd returned to its happy hum of discussion, laughter and wine clinking.

In the following room, Pedro Cuperman is meticulously putting cocktail shrimps on his plate. Cuperman also is a renowned Argentine poet and professor of Latin American literary theory at Syracuse University as well as the founder of the contemporary art gallery.

When he is approached with a few questions about the gallery and its significance to him, without hesitation, he abandons his plate and heads to his office where he is accompanied by executive director Tere Paniagua.

When asked why he opened the gallery Cuperman looked bewildered and said, “I don’t know why.” The gallery started off as a literary journal and in the early 2000s Syracuse University offered him a gallery space so Punto de Contacto could, “Expand and become what it really wanted to be.”

From the onset of the gallery Cuperman said that he didn’t want to just publish his friends. Punto de Contacto has published and featured beginners as well as artists in the Syracuse community. “Even though he has very famous friends, some of the biggest names in the Latin literary world,” interjected Paniagua lightheartedly. She also added that the Latin American aspect is important to the gallery, but the true goal was to blur the line between different worlds and cultures and connect through dialogue and art.

When asked what the gallery means to him Cuperman said, “It means a home. A step closer to the culture that I come from of literature and art. A culture which is outside of cultural identities and ethnic identities.”

TIFF 2015: It’s all about enjoyment

By Tiffany Zhang

A few days ago, a friend of mine in China asked me about western media’s comments on their film Mountains May Depart. I did some research and told him: it’s fortunate for your film to be in Toronto.

The people of Toronto love film. The 40th annual Toronto International Film Festival (also known as TIFF ) has nearly 400 films this year, enough to satisfy any audience. The main function for a Film Festival is to bring together films around the world that would never be shown in regular theaters. There also is the potential that a film you see at this festival may change your life path, or you may understand a world that you would never have had a chance to know before. It’s the general standard for either artist-film-focus festival or commercial-movie-focus festival.


What we could see in the cinema are mostly commercial movies; entertainment is their main purpose and this is true for almost everywhere in the world, including France — the country most famous for its artistic filmmaking. Our judgment on them is mainly dependent on our first impression of the movie itself, like how we unconsciously define people by their appearances.

However, in TIFF, the very first and essential thing you do is enjoy a film with the chance to discuss it with the director and stars. There is little recreation in Toronto at night except pub and parties. Film, as a result, is becoming an essential part of life in Toronto.

It’s not surprising that for the TIFF Favorite Movie has covered the same films paralleled with the Golden Globes and Oscar. It may suggest that those who show up in this great film festival have good foresight on the recent film industry (Don’t forget The Academy involves thousands of professionals for the Best Picture each year.)

The general air in the festival is relaxing. Everything is organized pretty well, no special premiere events, no luxurious dinner parties; the president of TIFF even hosted some events himself. You can see producers and directors having a good time on the street or being interviewed in a small bar.


The essence of TIFF is to transform the way people see the world, it embraces diversity while selecting some inspiring films in the screening list. Besides the Chinese film Mountains May Depart (山河故人) , directed by Jia Zhangke, whose films have received both praise and criticism, notable for winning Golden Lion in Venice Film Festival with Still Life, German film Land of Mine, Palestinian Film 300 Nights, American Film I saw the light, which is about the legend Hank Williams, Colonia, the film about two German lovers imprisoned during the Chilean riots, and the Mexican Film Bleak Street are all worth expecting

Academy Award winners Eddie Redmayne and Julianne Moore brought in fresh perspectives by starring in The Danish Girl, which is adapted from the true story of the transgender pioneer artist – Lili Elbe, and in the rights drama Freeheld. The Canadian director Jean-Marc Vallee, who directed Dallas Buyers Club and Wild, brought his new work Demolition to World Premiere as the opening film.


It’s not hard to see that the major International Film Festivals are becoming more inclusive year by year. The ways we perceive the world change by understanding differences depicted in film. I shared my opinion with the friend from China—it’s going to be the best age of communication and understanding through film.


Medley magazine is hiring!

Medley is a culture and diversity magazine that started at Syracuse University in 2007. The magazine provides a forum for students to explore the intersection of cultures on campus, in the city, and abroad. We publish once a semester.

 Check out our past issues at http://issuu.com/medleymagazine

This fall we are looking for:

 Senior editors

Assistant editors




Web editors


PR staff members

To apply, please send your resume, a brief statement of interest, and three writing or art samples to su.medley@gmail.com by Friday September 4, 2015.

Email editor in chief Tory Russo at vrrusso@syr.edu with any questions.

Stranger in a Strange Land

By Anna Hodge

YAOFANG PENG felt a sense of crippling embarrassment every Wednesday
during the fall semester of her freshman year. Sitting among her peers in a recitation on global communities in a Syracuse University lecture hall, Yao (as her close friends call her) struggled to
form her opinions on the controversial articles assigned for homework. One article discussed women’s rights. Another discussed labor unions. Yet the readings, which took her peers 45 minutes to digest, took her six to seven hours to read. And while the readings were in her peers’ native tongue, the readings were in the Chinese student’s second language.

Yaofang Peng, now a senior finance and supply chain management student, is just one of 4,004 international students at SU. This is a number that has grown by 130 percent in the past ten years. More than half of these students, like Yao, come from China. Nearly 20 percent of the student body consists of international students, but there is still a major sense of segregation in classrooms, residence halls, and throughout the SU community between foreign and American students.

Zhiyi Gan, a fifth year industrial design major from China, also experiences this segregation on campus, but understands why it occurs. “It is hard for both the international students and Americans to understand one another,” Gan says. “Because of the different cultural backgrounds and language barriers, it’s not easy for an international student to express everything he or she wants to say and to be understood.”

Pat Burak is the director of SU’s Slutzker Center for International Services, a safe haven that provides support for international students the moment they arrive on campus with orientation services and mentor-mentee programs. Last fall, 180 of the 400 incoming undergraduate international students signed up for the Slutzker Center’s mentoring services. Through this program, a single mentor works 20 hours per week with 15 to 18 mentees to provide guidance to students as they navigate American college life. While the mentorship services benefit the international students, including a guide when they arrive on campus and opportunities to meet other international students, segregation still exists for international students in the residence halls.

SU built its first International Living Center (ILC) in 1971 in today’s Lyons Hall. Foreign students made up 60 percent of the residence, while American students made up the remaining 40 percent. This was a strategic method, according to Burak, to prevent American students from dominating the learning community. There were never more than three people from the same foreign country living in the building, ensuring that students were forced to mingle with one another. The building, which consisted of bedrooms, a pool table, laundry machines, and study areas, separated men and women by floor. The ILC ran for 26 years and was “hugely successful” at socializing both American and foreign students, according to Burak.

However, a number of factors contributed to the downfall of the ILC. Following the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, U.S. immigration services created a new immigration software system to oversee international students. This computer program increased the workload of the Slutzker Center by 100 percent, at a time when the university was continuing to admit more and more international students.

Budgeting also took hold of the ILC. Deborah Freund, former vice chancellor and provost from 1999 to 2006, announced in 2002 that she had 10 million dollars within her budget to develop learning communities across campus. The ILC, which had been running for 27 years, was ultimately turned into a residence hall for first year international students. However, the kitchen was removed, forcing students to travel across the street to Shaw Hall for meals. “It took away the sense of community,” Burak says. “We were one of the first in the country to have an international learning center. That made it a bitter pill to swallow.” Then the ILC moved to Day Hall on Mount Olympus. The learning community turned from an entire floor to just half of one.

Despite the move to a smaller facility, the Slutzker Center supports the students in other ways. The course Global Learning in a Global Community provides international students with a classroom experience focused on international living and learning. The course is offered through the learning community and is taught by Elane Granger, associate director of the Slutzker Center. Granger cites the attendance levels in the course as an example of the segregation that often occurs on campus between American and foreign students. Although international students attend, there is a lack of American student participation.“It takes a great deal of effort to inspire students to wake up and engage with these international students,” Granger says.“This is an issue that drives my fuel each semester. It is a constant uphill battle that comes about each year.”

One contributing factor is study abroad programs, which can stunt students’ abilities to really engage with their international peers. “These students go abroad and tell me how wonderful their experience was and how they are better communicators and have a better global perspective,” says Granger. “But while you go abroad, only some of the experience rubs off on you. So many students study abroad and get two percent of a 100 percent experience.” To both Granger and Burak, living in a country for a semester isn’t enough. “You need to be just as engaged globally on campus as you were when you lived internationally,” Granger says.

“The saying ‘A stranger in a strange land’ is often passed around,” says Diane Danneels, a junior advertising and marketing student from Switzerland. “It’s interesting because it is a campus that really pushes for diversity, but some of the students just don’t always support that ideal.” Americans students can forget about the culture shock that comes with being an international student adjusting to American college life and dealing with American peers, says Burak. She discussed one student who came to the Slutzker Center for support: The female student’s roommate frequently had sex in their split double room with different male guests while the international student was in the room. The situation ended in a room switch for the international student who was too scared to confront her roommate.

Another student came to the Slutzker Center after her checkbook went missing following a weekend away from campus. Burak says it was painful to watch as the international student grappled with the fact that her roommate might have taken the checkbook. “She felt a great deal of shame accusing her roommate of stealing,” Burak says. “That’s something we witness often – the difference in values, and what we consider right and wrong.”

Language and the differences in meaning are also apart of the culture shock that adds fuel to the ongoing segregation at SU. JoJo Liu, a junior marketing major, says language surrounding the LGBT community that is acceptable in his home country, China, is considered offensive in the United States. “In China, it is okay to say things like, ‘That’s so gay,’ but here it is really frowned upon,” he says. “The customs sometimes just don’t align, which limits relations even more.” Gan says that, while she is “good partners” with American students, they are “not close friends” who support her.

While this segregation needs to end on campus, Granger says, there is only so much the Slutzker Center can do alone. Regardless of the resources available to fix the issue though, she emphasizes the need for a reform to the campus culture.

“The light needs to go on across SU that this is a global environment,” Granger says. “I believe so strongly that we do a great disservice to students by not addressing this problem. They will be the ones to vote for presidents, they will be the ones entering into a global workforce. How does our world function if we don’t prepare our young people for that kind of a world?”

Take Two on Diversity in Hollywood

By Alexa Diaz

The 87th Annual Academy Awards has been regarded as one of the least inclusive awards shows in recent years. The nominations did not consist of a single actor or actress of color. Not one female director or writer was nominated, and of all the movies that were nominated, only five were directed by a person of color.

The lack of diversity among the nominations made waves on the Internet, spurring the #OscarsSoWhite hashtag and emphasizing the fact that female directors are underrepresented twelve-to-one, according to the 2014 Hollywood Diversity Report conducted by the Ralph J. Bunche Center for African-American Studies at UCLA. A Los Angeles Times report revealed Oscar voters are 94 percent white, 76 percent male and on average 63 years old. Although the diversity gap in the Academy Awards is undeniably present, there are several directors working to change that.

Ava DuVernay

Ava DuVernay is an American director and screenwriter who gained national attention for “Selma,” which tells the story of the historic voting rights marches from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama in 1965. The film made Duvernay the first black female director to be nominated for a Golden Globe Award and to have a film be nominated for the Academy Award for Best Picture. DuVernay also co-wrote “Selma,” which was released in December of 2014 and earned $5 million on Martin Luther King Jr. Day alone.

DuVernay’s achievements date back to previous years, including 2012 in which she became the first African-American woman to win the Best Director Prize for her film “Middle of Nowhere” at the Sundance Film Festival. In the summer of 2013, DuVernay was invited to join the director’s and writer’s branches of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, making her the second black woman to be invited to the director’s branch.

“Folks see films, see history, see art, see life through their own lens,” said DuVernay on the lack of diversity at the Oscars to Democracy Now. “And when there’s a consensus that has to be made by a certain group, you know, the consensus is most likely going to be through a specific lens. And unless there’s diversity amongst the people that are trying to come to the consensus, then, you know, there will be a lack of diversity in what the consensus is.”

Alejandro González Iñárritu

Alejandro González Iñárritu, director of “Birdman: Or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance),”
was the second Mexican man to accept the Oscar for Best Director and Best Picture at the 87th Annual Academy Awards. “Birdman” received nine Oscar nominations and won four, including Best Director, Best Original Screenplay, and Best Achievement in Cinematography. González Iñárritu was not a stranger to the Academy though. In 2007, his film “Babel” was was nominated for Best Picture and earned him a nomination for Best Achievement in Directing. His debut feature film,“Amores Perros,” was also nominated in 1999 for Best Foreign Language Film.

In his acceptance speech when he took home Best Director for “Birdman,” González Iñárritu addressed Mexicans and Americans alike: “The ones who live in Mexico, I pray that we can find and build a government that we deserve, and the ones that live in this country, who are a part of the latest generation of immigrants in this country, I just pray that they can be treated with the same dignity and respect as the ones who came before and built this incredible immigrant nation.”

Justin Simien

Director Justin Simien is best known for his social satire “Dear White People,” which debuted at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival and won the Special Jury Prize for Breakthrough Talent. The critically-acclaimed film, made possible through an IndieGoGo campaign started by Simien, was awarded Best Independent Feature Film by the African-American Film Critics Association and was nominated at the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation Media Awards for Outstanding Film. On an individual basis, Simien was nominated for Best Breakthrough Film Artist by the Central Ohio Film Critics Association and Most Promising Filmmaker by the Chicago Film Critics Association Awards in addition to other recognitions from various organizations. The Texas-born writer and filmmaker was named in Variety magazine’s “10 Directors to Watch” list in 2013.

“I love when people, white folks especially, don’t expect to really identify with the black characters, but they do,” said Simien about “Dear White People.” “I think we all have identity crises throughout our lives. It’s a very universal human experience, so it’s cool that people are able to have that even though the cast is primarily of color.”