Students help gain votes

first_imgOn Nov. 2, voters in the 2nd District of Indiana will go to the polls to elect current representative, Democrat Joe Donnelly, or Republican Jackie Walorski to be their congressional representative. Over the next few weeks leading up to Election Day, several Notre Dame students who are interning with either of the congressional campaigns may approach Indiana residents and try to sway them to one candidate or another. One such intern for Donnelly, junior Conor Bolich, said his Notre Dame education armed him with skills that have proven critical in his time working with the campaign. “I feel very prepared working on the campaign,” he said. “Notre Dame has done a really good job with communicating and networking skills that are very important in politics.” Senior Eunice Ikene, also of the Donnelly campaign, said her classroom experiences have challenged her to sharpen her political knowledge. This in turn benefited her work with the campaign. “Notre Dame has helped with being up to date, such as when a voter asks about health care and small businesses,” she said. “It is not specifically in the curriculum, but when it comes up in class you want to know what is going on.” Senior Charlie Nejedly is working with Walorski’s campaign. He said he spends his time interacting with voters over the telephone and in person. “I do phone calls for Jackie Walorski and more broadly the Indiana Republican Party, and I go door to door for Jackie around South Bend and Mishawaka,” he said. Ikene and Bolich said they spend most of their time making phone calls and canvassing as well. Bolich said these pursuits are critical in understanding what voters expect from their candidates. “Just going out and listening to what voters have to say has been so important. Canvassing allows you to understand what the voters have to say,” he said. Ikene said communication is crucial in finding out what voters have to say about the campaigns as well. “One of my primary duties is making calls to voters who have leaned Democrat,” she said. “You can ask if there are any issues they have and a lot of the time voters complain about negative ads.” Ikene said her interest in these aspects of campaigning were the driving force behind her decision to work on a congressional campaign this fall. “I took a class last semester on campaign strategy that focused on polarization and negative ads,” she said. “I wanted to see how it applied to a smaller campaign in north Indiana.” Nejedly said previous political experience and his interest in the democratic process sparked his inspiration for working on the Walorski campaign. “I worked at a political action committee this summer and I thought that getting campaign experience in the field would be fun,” he said. “Those who volunteer represent the hard work of democracy. Things like getting out the vote, regular people might not do, but it is important for the democratic process.” Ikene said one thing that surprised her in her time with the campaign was the lack of basic political knowledge in some voters. “I find it interesting that some people have no idea what is going on. These are people who are registered voters, who do not even know the opposing candidate,” she said. “The fact that you don’t know who is running, that is odd.” Ikene also said that for the most part, voters she has personally interacted with have been receptive and polite. However, she said she had one bad experience with a man at one household in Granger. “This guy took forever to get to the door. When he did, he didn’t even look at me. His dog was yapping and I was scared that it was going to attack me,” she said. “After I was done, he told me he was Republican and to not waste his time.” Nejedly said working on this election has reminded him of the responsibility Indiana voters are tasked with this November. “Just staying updated on these midterm elections in general is important for our economy especially in a district like ours. What happens now could mean a job or not for some people,” he said. “It forces me to stay updated on the current events.”last_img read more

Panelists discuss effects of LA riots on race relations

first_imgThe program was part of the Visions and Voices program, the university’s arts and humanities initiative.The panel featured three professionals who studied the 1992 L.A. riots. Erin Aubry Kaplan, an award-winning journalist and a columnist for the Los Angeles Times and LA Weekly, focused on the effect of the riots on the city’s black community.Kaplan emphasized that discourse around of black justice has been slowly disappearing since the time of the riots to now.“We talk about Latinos, immigrants, gays, but we don’t talk nearly enough about black people as a whole,” Kaplan said. “African-Americans are becoming less and less visible.”The panel discussed topics ranging from racial profiling and the Los Angeles Police Department to the geography of wealth versus poverty in Southern California. Panelists also discussed relations between black, Korean and Latino communities as well as the rebuilding efforts in post-riot South Los Angeles.Darnell Hunt, director of the Ralph J. Bunche Center for African American Studies at UCLA, noted that it is often difficult to hold honest conversations about racial conflict today.“We have the facade of racial progress, but in reality it’s a different story,” Hunt said. “We can’t talk about it because we’ve supposedly moved past it. It’s difficult now.”Another panelist, Dae Hoon Kim, a filmmaker and founder of the Korean American Film Festival New York who directed a new documentary concerning the 1992 riots in Los Angeles, emphasized the need for objectivity and for society to be more open-minded about racial issues.“In reality, all of us, to a large degree, are ignorant,” Kim said. “Unless we start coming together and stop being political, we won’t have a full picture on the topic.”Some students, many of whom have no memory of the riots, said the discussion provided a stimulating learning experience in terms of the history of Los Angeles.“Before coming to this event, I didn’t know much about the [1992 riots],” said Katherine Lee, a sophomore majoring in biomedical engineering. “I learned how race played a huge role through this event, how the riots actually happened and what people hope for today.”Other students believed the event helped them receive a more concrete understanding of race relations. Louige Oliver, a sophomore majoring in neuroscience, found the discussion to be rewarding.“I thought it was really interesting in that it gave me a lot of perspectives about race, both current and past,” Oliver said.Some students were worried about the current state of race relations in Los Angeles. Connie Ge, a junior majoring in history, emphasized that Los Angeles neighborhoods today are still suffering from the same conditions they were under in 1992.“I learned that the same problems that caused the riots are still not being addressed,” Ge said. “There is still a lot of poverty, discrimination, police brutality and not enough business initiatives that make people feel that they have a stake in their neighborhoods.”Kaplan’s father, Larry Aubry, a prominent scholar, who specializes in civil rights, also served on the panel.Though the riots occurred more than 20 years ago, Aubry remained adamant that it still has significance to the current state of race relations as it did in the past.“Race does matter. It’s a perpetual thing,” Aubry said. “Whatever exists then still exists now.” Panelists reflected Monday on the 1992 riots in Los Angeles and discussed their effect on the current state of race relations at Doheny Memorial Library.Speaking out · Journalist Erin Aubry Kaplan, who studied the 1992 Los Angeles riots, discusses the current state of race relations in L.A. – Ralf Cheung | Daily Trojanlast_img read more