Fordham Notes: October 2010

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Poets Out Loud: Performance, Symposium and Contest

Poetry, Music, and Visual Arts

Thursday, November 4, 2010 | 7 p.m.
Poets Out Loud at Fordham University
Anna Rabinowitz
Bino Realuyo
with graduate student
Amanda M. Calderón
in conjunction with
Turning Tides: A Symposium on Diasporic Literature

12th Floor Lounge | Lincoln Center Campus
Reception & Book Signing to follow
Free and open to the public

Turning Tides: A Symposium on Diasporic Literatures

Saturday, November 6, 2010 | 1 p.m.
McNally Amphitheatre | Lincoln Center Campus

This creative and scholarly symposium which will highlight three different legacies of diaspora in the United States: Haiti, The Philippines and Puerto Rico. Each panel will feature a short scholarly talk, a reading by two writers followed by a moderated conversation. What do Filipino American writers take for granted, in terms of artistic freedom? In what political and aesthetic ways are Puerto Rican writers employing creative disobedience? Until January 2010, descendents of the Haitian diaspora could call Haiti their home—that geography has been rent. What kind of scattering will result? And, how will it be told by writers?

The principle aim of Turning Tides is to involve prominent artists and scholars in an exchange of ideas for the purpose of proactively responding to the growing phenomena of American diaspora as it is in the making and to ground and contextualize this conversation within a critical understanding of a larger global history.
Free and Open to the Public.
  • 1 p.m. Opening Remarks: Yvette Christiansë
  • 1:15 p.m. Panel on Haiti: After the Earthquake with J. Michael Dash, Denize Lauture, Yolaine M. St. Fort
  • 2:15 p.m. Panel on Puerto Rico: Creative Disobedience in New Nuyorican Writing with Arnaldo Cruz-Malavé, Willie Perdomo, Edwin Torres
  • 3:15 p.m. Break
  • 3:30 p.m. Panel on the Philippines: The Artist as Activist with Nerissa S. Balce, Bino Realuyo, Melissa Roxas
  • 4:30 p.m. Reading and Reception

Nerissa S. Balce is Assistant Professor of Asian American literature at Stony Brook University’s Department of Asian and Asian American Studies. She was born and raised in Manila, Philippines. She worked as a journalist in Manila, writing articles on Philippine literature, politics, culture and the arts. She took doctoral studies at the University of California-Berkeley where she received a Ph.D. in Ethnic Studies. Before joining Stony Brook University, she taught at the University of Oregon’s Ethnic Studies Program as a post-doctoral fellow, and at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst as an Assistant Professor of comparative literature. She is currently completing a book manuscript on American imperialism as a visual language and the image of the Filipino savage.

Yvette Christiansë is a novelist, poet, and scholar. She was born in Johannesburg, South Africa. She was raised in that city, and Cape Town, as well as Mbabane, Swaziland. In her late teens her family moved to Australia to escape apartheid. Her first full volume of poetry, Castaway, which was nominated for the PEN International prize. In 2006, she published the novel, Unconfessed, which was a finalist for the Hemingway/PEN Prize for first fiction and recipient of the 2007 ForeWord Magazine BEA Award. She teaches African American and postcolonial literatures, as well as poetics, at Fordham University.

Daniel Contreras is the author of What Have You Done to My Heart: Unrequited Loved and Gay Latino Culture and is Assistant Professor of English at Fordham University. His new work focuses on Latino literature and the problem of mediation.

Arnaldo Cruz-Malavé is Professor of Spanish and Comparative Literature and Chair of the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures at Fordham University in New York. He is author of Queer Latino Testimonio, Keith Haring, and Juanito Xtravaganza: Hard Tails (Palgrave 2007), a book about the relationship between high art and Latino popular culture in the gentrifying New York of the 1980s. He is also author of a study on the prose fiction of one of Latin America’s most important twentieth-century writers, José Lezama Lima, El primitivo implorante (Rodopi 1994), and coeditor with Martin Manalansan of Queer Globalization: Citizenship and the Afterlife of Colonialism (New York UP 2002). He teaches courses on contemporary Caribbean literatures and New York in Latino literature and film at Fordham. He has been the recipient of the NEH and Ford Foundation fellowships and has been invited professor at Harvard, Emory, and the University of Pennsylvania.

J. Michael Dash is Professor of French at New York University and director of the Africana Studies Program. He is the author of Literature and Ideology in Haiti (1981), Haiti and the United States (1988), Édouard Glissant (1995), The Other America: Caribbean Literature in a New World Context (1998), and Culture and Customs of Haiti (2001); editor (with Charles Arthur) of Libete: A Haiti Anthology (1999); and translator of Gisèle Pineau's The Drifting of Spirits (1999). He is currently at work on a manuscript entitled "Surrealism in the Francophone Caribbean."

Luis H. Francia who has lived in New York since the 1970s is the author of several other books, including Eye of the Fish: A Personal Archipelago, which won both the 2002 PEN Center Open Book and the 2002 Asian American Writers literary awards. His poetry collections include the recently released The Beauty of Ghosts (performed as theater at Topaz Arts in 2007); Museum of Absences; and The Arctic Archipelago and Other Poems. He is also the author of A History of the Philippines: From Indios Bravos to Filipinos, published this year. He edited Brown River, White Ocean: An Anthology of Twentieth Century Philippine Literature in English, and co-edited, with Eric Gamalinda, Fiippin’: Filipinos on America, and, with Angel Velasco Shaw, Vestiges of War: The Philippine-American War and the Aftermath of an Imperial Dream, 1899-1999. He writes an online column for Manila’s Philippine Daily Inquirer and teaches creative writing at the City University of Hong Kong, literature at Hunter College, and Tagalog Language and Culture at New York University.

Denize Lauture's poety has appeared in Callaloo, Black American Literature Forum, African Commentary, Drumvoices and Bomb. He has written four volumes of poetry. In Creole: The Blues of the Lightning Metamorphosis, The Curse of Sincerity River's Samba. In English: When the Denizen Weeps, The Black Warrior and Other Poems and children's books: Father and Son (nominated for the 1993 NAACP Image Award), Running the Road to ABC (winner of the 1996 Coretta Scott King Award) and Mother and Daughters.

Willie Perdomo is a prize-winning Nuyorican poet and children's book author. He is the author of Where a Nickel Costs a Dime (W. W. Norton & Company, 1996) Postcards of El Barrio (Isla Negra Press, 2002), and Smoking Lovely (Rattapallax Press, 2003), which received a PEN American Center Beyond Margins Award. He is a Pushcart Prize nominee, and recently was a Woolrich Fellow in Creative Writing at Columbia University. He is co-founder/publisher of Cypher Books and teaches in New York City.

Bino A. Realuyo is the author of The Umbrella Country, a novel, and The Gods We Worship Live Next Door, a poetry collection. His works have appeared in The Nation, The Kenyon Review, The Literary Review, New Letters, and several anthologies. For the past fifteen years, he has worked as an Adult Educator and Community Organizer in underserved communities in New York City. He can be found on the web at He recently founded a social enterprise for low-skilled, low-wage immigrant workers, We Speak America.

Melissa Roxas is a Filipino American poet who has won fellowships from PEN USA Rosenthal Emerging Voices and Kundiman. She is co-founder of Habi Ng Kalinangan, a Los Angeles-based Filipino cultural organization dedicated to promoting community empowerment and progressive social change. In May 2009, while on a medical mission in Tarlac, Philippines, she was abducted at gunpoint and held against her will for six days until her surfacing in Quezon City. She campaigns today for the safety of activists in the Philippines.

Yolaine M. St. Fort is a writer of Haitian descent. In 2000, she received an M.A. in Creative Writing from Long Island University. Her thesis was a novel titled My Shadows in the Mirror. She’s had her prose and poetry published in Downtown Brooklyn, Prose Ax, Calabash, Vwa: Poems for Haiti, Poetry in Performance, General Authority: Earthquake 2010, For The Crowns Of Your Heads: Poems For Haiti, and The Caribbean Writer (forthcoming) . She has also written a second novel titled Hear Their Echoes. She’s currently working on a collection of short stories and a poetry manuscript. She teaches English at Edward R. Murrow High School and sometimes adjuncts at Long Island University. She is the adviser for the school’s literary magazine called The Magnet.

Edwin Torres is a recepient of poetry fellowships from The Foundation For Contemporary Performance Art, the New York State Foundation for the Arts, and The Poetry Fund and his CD Holy Kid was part of The Whitney Museum's exhibition, The American Century Pt. II. Edwin is currently co-editing POeP! an eJournal, and Cities Of Chance: An Anthology of New Poetry from The United States and Brazil, both from Rattapallax Press.

Free and Open to the Public. Sponsored in part by Ports Out Loud
See website for full details:

Poets Out Loud Prize Deadline

Monday, November 15, 2010

The POL Prize awards $1,000 and publication to a full-length poetry manuscript. For the first time this year, two volumes will be published by Fordham University Press.

Judge: Mei-mei Berssenbrugge
For more information and guidelines go to:
To submit online, go to:

Poets Out Loud
Fordham University
113 W. 60th Street, Room 924i
New York, NY 10023
(212) 636-6792

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Fordham Shatters Silence at ‘Take Back the Night’ Event

On Oct. 21, the Fordham community took back the night.

About 65 students, alumni and faculty members, as well as several speakers and other supporters, gathered in the wind on Robert Moses Plaza for the third annual “Take Back the Night” event at Fordham. The vigil and forum gives voice to the survivors of sexual, domestic, and LGBTQ-related violence.

The event was sponsored by Isis, a student organization at the Lincoln Center campus that facilitates discussions on feminist aspects of the political, intellectual and cultural climates of the world.

Students shared stories about their experiences and stories about family members and friends who were victims of violence. In addition, several students performed music focused on the themes of love, compassion, support and putting an end to hate.

Fordham faculty in attendance included Keith Eldredge, dean of students at the Lincoln Center campus; Vincent DeCola, S.J.; Sofia Bautista Pertuz, assistant dean and director of the Office of Multicultural Affairs; and Margaret Schwartz, Ph.D., assistant professor of communication and media studies and the Isis faculty adviser.

Ten speakers from outside the Fordham community joined in the discussion about violence. They shared their experiences of living through violence and working with organizations that try to curb violence.

The vigil ended with a student reading Maya Angelou’s poem, “Still I Rise.”

Following the forum was a debriefing session facilitated by psychologists from Counseling and Psychological Services at the Lincoln Center campus. Topics of discussion included gender violence and not blaming the victim.
—Jenny Hirsch

Tell Us About Your Unsung Heroes

What makes a hero? To kids, it might be a comic book character with a cape; to students, it might be that special teacher who imparts a lesson that inspires them to live their dreams. Or it could be a first responder who makes a daring rescue in the line of duty.

There are countless untold stories about people who walk among us who are working to change the world, one small act at a time. These persons are our unsung heroes.

On Nov. 11, Fordham University is shining the spotlight on ordinary people doing extraordinary things when it hosts the Opus Prize 2010 on the Rose Hill campus. The Prize recognizes faith-based humanitarian leaders from all around the world who tackle some of the most persistent global problems and who, in the process, show a deep commitment to service and inspiring social entrepreneurship.

Past recipients of the award may not be household names, but they are larger than life in the eyes of those that they serve. Recipients include:

-- Dr. Zilda Arns Neumann, a pediatrician who founded an innovative public health program in Brazil that taps 265,000 volunteers to help raise poor children with dignity;

--Aïcha Ech Channa, founder of Morocco’s Association Solidarité Féminine, which helps unmarried women with children gain the skills needed to support themselves; and

-- Brother Stan Goetschalckx, whose AHADI International Institute in Tanzania helps refugees from the war-torn nations of Congo, Rwanda and Burundi earn their high school diplomas.

As a private and independent foundation, the Opus Prize Foundation has already chosen its nominees for this year’s award, to be announced at Keating Hall on Nov. 11.

However, we would like to invite faculty, administrators, students, alumni and other members of the Fordham community to share with us your stories of the unsung heroes in your own lives.

Please post an entry here on our blog, via email or a comment on Facebook about that special person whom you feel has worked large or small to empower the disenfranchised, bring opportunity to the poorest, and inspire others toward lives of service.

Entries will be shared with the Fordham community on Nov. 9 through Fordham’s SPOTLIGHT daily calendar, and will be posted on the News and Media Relations blog.

Don’t forget. No act of service is without merit.

And don’t forget to attend the Opus Awards on the Fordham campus on Nov. 11. Go to to RSVP.

Free Seminar on Fundraising to be Held at Fordham

The Bronx African American History Project (BAAHP) will be hosting a free fundraising seminar for leaders and workers of non-profit organizations on Monday, Nov. 1, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. in Room 633, Dealy Hall, on the Rose Hill campus in the Bronx.

“We at the Bronx African American History Project are very excited to offer this opportunity to the students and community organizations we work with,” said Mark Naison, Ph.D., professor and chair of African and African-American studies. “I strongly recommend that Fordham students and alums with interest in the non-profit world attend this seminar as jobs in fundraising and development are always available even in a recession.”

Fordham alumna Molly Neville (FCRH ’06) and Tricia Keck of OAC Productions will lead the seminar. Neville once served as an event planner for the BAAHP and has had a successful career as a fundraiser and event planner in the Boston metropolitan area since graduating from Fordham.

Lunch will be served but space is limited. Those interested in participating should call (718) 817-3748 to RSVP.

Gina Vergel

Friday, October 22, 2010

U.N. Diplomat Outlines Road Ahead for Sudan in New Book

A first-hand look at one man’s lifelong efforts to advance peace and cooperation among the Sudanese is the subject of a new book published by the Fordham University Press.

Sudan at the Brink: Self-Determination and National Unity (Fordham University Press, 2010) was authored by Francis Mading Deng, United Nations under-secretary-general and special adviser on the prevention of genocide. Kevin M. Cahill, M.D., director of the Institute of International Humanitarian Affairs at Fordham, has written the foreward.

Deng, an expert on conflict management and U.S.-Africa relations, gave a lecture on constitutionalism in Africa at Fordham in April 2009.

He has served as Representative of the Secretary-General on Internally Displaced Persons, as Sudan's Ambassador to the Nordic countries, Canada and the United States of America and as Minister of State for Foreign Affairs of Sudan.

More information on the new book can be found here.

Gina Vergel

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Fordham RETC to Leave 'Lights on After Dark'

Fordham’s RETC—Center for Professional Development will participate in “Lights on After School,” the official celebration of after-school programs, on Thursday, Oct. 21, from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.

“We will be celebrating along with communities nationwide in order to raise awareness about the importance of after school programs for students,” said Theresa R. Lupo, a professional developer with the RETC. “We are excited to share the success of our students with the community!”

The open house event, which is for parents, community partners and the Fordham community, will include a presentation about the RETC’s Community Learning Center (CLC). Attendees will also participate in raffles, enjoy refreshments and even see CLC students at work.

In Manhattan, the Empire State Building will light up in honor of this event and after school programs across the city will sponsor exciting events that allow students and families to express what these programs have meant to them.

Across the country, some 7,500 events are scheduled to take place. This nationwide rally for afterschool programs is organized by the Afterschool Alliance.

According to the Afterschool Alliance:

• More than 15 million school-age children (26 percent) are on their own after school.

• Among them are more than 1 million are in grades K to 5. Only 8.4 million K-12 children (15 percent) participate in afterschool programs.

• An additional 18.5 million would participate if a quality program were available in their community.

• The hours between 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. are the peak hours for juvenile crime and experimentation with drugs, alcohol, cigarettes and sex.

For more information about the RETCs 21st Century Community Learning Center, visit their website.

--Gina Vergel

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

WFUV Second Annual Big Broadcast “Rent Party”

The Manhattan Rhythm Kings, Terry Burrell, Bryan Wright
and Vince Giordano’s Nighthawks Perform at
The Second Annual Big Broadcast “Rent Party”
Wednesday, October 20th at 7:00 PM

New York, NY – The Second Annual Big Broadcast “Rent Party,” an evening of music with Jazz Age roots benefiting WFUV (90.7 FM,, will take place on Wednesday, October 20th at 7:00 PM at 320 Park Avenue. The event will include performances by The Manhattan Rhythm Kings, Terry Burrell, Bryan Wright and Vince Giordano’s Nighthawks, while Big Broadcast host Rich Conaty emcees throughout the evening. Tickets include cocktails, buffet dinner and performance and are available at $2,000 for tables of four and $500 or $250 for individuals. More information can be found at

In the 1920s, money-crunched New Yorkers would throw “rent parties” to raise some fast cash. Entertaining their guests with performances by singers and jazz bands, hosts would raise funds to meet their month’s rent. Public radio station WFUV will revive this ritual at the Big Broadcast Rent Party, where performers will pay homage to Milton Ager, whose hits included “Ain’t She Sweet,“ “Happy Days are Here Again” and “Happy Feet,“ which was performed by The Manhattan Rhythm Kings and Vince Giordano’s Nighthawks in Martin Scorsese’s “The Aviator.“ In an additional nod to the era, a part of ragtime pianist Bryan Wright’s performance will be captured on original 100 year-old Edison cylinder recording equipment by phonograph expert Peter Dilg.

“We’re all very excited to present another evening of this wonderful music in such an unmatched setting. And we hope to capture the fun an excitement found the grooves of those old 78 RPM records I get to play on the program every week,” says Conaty, who has been hosting the program since 1973.

“Rich is doing important work with his program on WFUV and his listeners came out to last year’s rent party in full force to show their appreciation. Everybody seemed to have so much fun that we decided to make the rent party an annual tradition,” said WFUV General Manager Ralph Jennings.

Airing on WFUV every Sunday evening at 8:00 PM, The Big Broadcast has featured classic jazz and pop tunes of the 1920s and '30s for more than 35 years, and its focus has remained on the vast amount of music produced in this relatively brief period. Over the years the program has expanded from one to four hours and has found loyal online listeners as far away as Hawaii, Australia and Thailand.

The Manhattan Rhythm Kings started performing together on the sidewalks of New York in 1980 and graduated to playing cabarets, colleges and concert halls across the country. In 1992, they were featured as Mingo, Moose, and Sam, a trio of crooning bumpkins, in the “new” Tony Award-winning Gershwin musical “Crazy for You.” �

Terry Burrell's Broadway credits include “Thoroughly Modern Millie,” “Swinging On A Star,” Stephen Sondheim’s “Into The Woods,” Michael Bennett’s “Dreamgirls,” “Honky Tonk Nights,” “Eubie” and the first London production of “Showboat.” In addition, Terry is a seasoned cabaret artist who’s performed her nightclub act for audiences from Monte Carlo to the Caribbean.

Bryan Wright began piano studies at the age of fivee and holds degrees in Musicology from the College of William and Mary and the University of Pittsburgh. He has hosted popular radio programs dedicated to ragtime, traditional jazz and big bands. Wright founded Rivermont Records in 2004 as a way of preserving music for the first half of the 20th century.

A big-band historian and collector, Vince Giordano has more than 60,000 scores in his collection. Vince Giordano and the Nighthawks are renowned on the New York scene for their commitment to preserving and authentically presenting 1920s and ‘30s jazz and popular music. He and his band can be seen currently in Martin Scorsese’s HBO’s series “Boardwalk Empire.” Vince and The Nighthawks perform every Monday and Tuesday evenings at Sofia’s Restaurant/ Club Cache.

For press passes to the Big Broadcast Rent Party, please contact Eva Dilmanian, 646-675-8550 or

WFUV is a non-commercial, listener-supported public radio station, licensed to Fordham University for over 60 years. Serving the New York area as well as an international audience on the web, and a leader in contemporary music radio, WFUV is Rock & Roots Radio, offering an eclectic mix of rock, singer-songwriters, blues, world and other music, plus headlines from National Public Radio and local news.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

International Journalists to Attend Workshop at Fordham

Fordham's Program in Public Communications will host a group of United Nations journalism fellows on Oct. 13 and 14 on the Rose Hill campus in the Bronx.

The journalists, who hail from countries such as Bahrain, Mozambique and Togo, are visiting the country as part of the United Nations’ Reham Al-Farra Memorial Journalists Fellowship Program. This is the third time Fordham hosts the Al-Farra fellows in as many years.

Participants will attend two days of workshops including topics such as, "Photojournalism, Conflict and Crisis" and "International Affairs and Journalism on the Internet." The workshops will be led by members of the Fordham faculty.

The fellowship was well established before taking its name from Al-Farra, a U.N. public information employee who died in 2003 in an attack on the United Nations headquarters in Baghdad. For the past 30 years, it has invited radio, print and television reporters from around the world to live and work in New York.

This year’s crop of journalists will cover the proceedings of the High-Level Plenary Meeting on the Millennium Development Goals and the High-Level session on Biodiversity, in addition to briefings by diplomats and senior officials from the United Nations Secretariat, specialized agencies, programs and funds.

The participants will also visit major media organizations and relevant non-governmental organizations and visit the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund in Washington, D.C.

For more information about the Program in Public Communication, which falls under the Department of Communication and Media Studies, visit the Fordham website.

--Gina Vergel

Friday, October 8, 2010

Fordham Alumni Serve as Jesuit Volunteers

BALTIMORE – Recent graduates of Fordham University answered the call to serve through Jesuit Volunteer Corps:
  • Brittney Cavaliere – The Alliance of AIDS Services—Carolina, Raleigh, N.C.
  • Mariel de la Cruz – United Community Housing Coalition, Detroit
  • John Donahue – Chrysalis, Los Angeles
  • Lauren Foley (2nd year volunteer) – St. Aloysius School, New York
  • Christine Gosney – Central Arizona Shelter Services, Phoenix
  • Margaret Hannigan – Miriam’s Kitchen, Washington, D.C.
  • Shannon Hirrel – Disability Rights Legal Center, Los Angeles
  • Tara Nadeau – MAAC Project, Chula Vista, Calif.
  • Elizabeth Wing (2nd year volunteer) - St. Mary Goretti Secondary School, Moshi Tanzania
  • David Yusavitz – Hands on Hartford, Hartford, Conn.
During their time as Jesuit Volunteers, they will be dedicated to living simply and working for social justice in a spiritually supportive community of other volunteers who are working with people who live on the margins of society.

These alumni are among the 340 JVs living in 48 communities in the U.S. and six other countries across the globe. Volunteers work at hundreds of schools, health clinics, legal clinics, parishes, and nonprofit organizations to provide essential services, saving them a combined estimate of $6 million each year, in comparison to the cost of a salaried employee.

“Jesuit Volunteers allow local organizations to provide more services and have a greater impact within their communities,” said Kevin O’Brien, president of JVC. “As a former JV myself, I know the transformative effect of full-time service. This experience will open their hearts and minds and change their perceptions of the world around them. It’s inspiring to welcome a new generation of women and men who want to work for justice and peace.”

In 2009, five of the six Jesuit Volunteer Corps (JVC East, JVC Midwest, JVC Southwest, JVC South, and JV International) organizations merged to form JVC. With shared resources directed toward one common mission, JVC is building upon its grassroots history and strives to strengthen and improve the organization. With a 16 percent increase over last year’s volunteer count, Jesuit Volunteers can be found in inner-city neighborhoods like Brooklyn, NY, rural communities like the Rosebud Indian Reservation of South Dakota, and many other places throughout the U.S. They also serve in developing countries in South America, Africa, and Oceania.

Based in four core values—social justice, simple living, community, and spirituality—Jesuit Volunteer Corps offers women and men an opportunity to work full-time for justice and peace. Jesuit Volunteers are called to the mission of serving the poor directly, working for structural change in the United States, and accompanying people in developing countries. For decades, Jesuit Volunteer Corps has worked in collaboration with Jesuits, whose spirituality the volunteers incorporate in their work, community, and prayer life. More than 250 grassroots organizations across the world count on Jesuit Volunteers to provide essential services. During their one to two years of service, volunteers integrate Christian faith by working and living among the poor and marginalized examining the causes of social injustice. JVC offers volunteers an experience that will open their minds and hearts to live always conscious of the poor and committed to the Church’s mission of promoting justice in the service of faith.

Learn more at or

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Law School Dean Receives Charles Carroll Award

Congratulations to Feerick Center’s Assistant Dean Robert J. Reilly, FCRH ’72, LAW 75, on receiving the Charles Carroll Award on Oct. 4 at the Union League Club in New York City. Reilly joins a distinguished list of recipients that include His Eminence Edward Cardinal Egan, former Fordham University Law School Dean John Feerick, and Malcolm Wilson, former governor of New York.

Named after the only Catholic patriot to sign the Declaration of Independence, the annual Carroll award recognizes a Catholic lawyer who has earned distinction in public service. For the past four years, Dean Reilly has helped develop the Center that educates law students and others in problem-solving social justice issues, particularly homelessness, hunger, and asset preservation for the poor.

He is also a regular volunteer on the city’s annual HOPE Count, where the Fordham community rallies to help count the homeless in the Bronx.

True to his Irish roots, Dean Reilly has been the president of the Society of the Friendly Sons of St. Patrick and a contributing author to the Encyclopedia of the Irish in America (Notre Dame University Press, 2000).

And if you ever decide to visit the Museum of Natural History, you may just stumble upon him giving tours – he is a volunteer guide.

The award is given annually by the Guild of Catholic Lawyers.

“If the Selection Committee for this Award had looked even a little bit further they would have found many [worthy] recipients,” said Dean Reilly in accepting the award. “But let me assure you . . . they could not have found a recipient who was more grateful.”

-- Janet Sassi

Monday, October 4, 2010

Mainstage Theatre Plans Season of “Strong Women”

What is a strong woman? How do they emerge? How do we encourage more women to stand up?
These and other questions will be central when Fordham University’s Mainstage Theatre season opens on Thursday, Oct. 7 with a play that tackles interracial romance in the deep south.

Alice Childress’ Wedding Band: a Love/Hate Story in Black and White, recounts the story of Julia Augustine, a black woman who engages in a 10-year relationship with a white man in 1918 South Carolina—even though miscegenation laws forbid it.

Daniel Alexander Jones, M.A., assistant professor of theater, makes his directorial debut with an interracial, cross-cultural and cross-gendered cast.

“Julia is a strong woman because she struggles with a set of choices in life,” said Jones. “Do you follow your heart, knowing it leads you to violate the laws of society (even though they are unjust?) Do you speak the truth to people even though you know it may cost you favor? Do you confront the ills in your society, even though there are severe consequences?”

“She is someone of considerable moral and ethical substance and deep longing to find justice,” he said.

Julia is also the first of several strong female characters to be featured in a Fordham season that, according to Matthew Maguire, M.F.A., director of the Theatre Program, will give voice to those groups that have been marginalized.

“We have a unique opportunity at Fordham to produce seasons that commercial theatres don’t dare,” said Maguire. “ And to weave issues of social justice into our programming so that our audience will perceive over time that politics and entertainment are powerful partners.”
Maguire said that there is a broad movement underway in the theatre world, referred to as “50/50 by 2020”, which strives to bring equal gender balance to the number of playwrights being produced and to production directors. The play by Childress fulfils that goal and also hits on many of the season’s themes, he said.

Although Childress composed the play during the height of the civil rights movement in the mid-sixties, Jones and Maguire explained that it was considered “too controversial” to be produced at the time. It finally made its debut in November of 1972 at the New York Shakespeare Public Theatre, directed by Joseph Paap.

Following the production of Wedding Band, the Mainstage Theatre will produce three more plays during the season:

The Way of the World, by William Congreve, a Restoration comedy about women taking charge of the terms of courtship at the historical moment when females can act on the English stage for the first time.

Bulrusher, by Eisa Davis, is about a young black clairvoyant with a gift of second sight and yet cannot “see” the woman who gave birth to her.

The Good Woman of Setzuan, by Bertolt Brecht, is about a prostitute’s fight to be good in a world filled with exploitation.

“The work we mount on our Mainstage sends subtle and not so subtle messages to our students and our audiences,” said Maguire. “And there is much we can learn from exploring the infinite facets of a woman’s strength.”

Above, Jones works with FCLC students Mayaa Boateng who plays Julia, and Dan Kleinmann who plays Herman (photo by Janet Sassi).

-- Janet Sassi

Friday, October 1, 2010

Documentary Producer Discusses Gentrification with Fordham Students

Ed Morales
Photo by Gina Vergel


When the real estate market was booming, the dreaded “G” word caused anxiety in East Harlem, a journalist who documented the tension told Fordham students on Sept. 29.

Ed Morales, a journalist who has covered New York City for more than 20 years, discussed gentrification and whether has displaced the Puerto Ricans who once populated East Harlem in droves.

“We all know about gentrification,” said Morales, whose parents met and married in East Harlem, also called Spanish Harlem and El Barrio. “It’s been a problem for as long back as I can remember.”

Morales was a guest speaker at a class on “Hispanics in the USA” at Fordham College at Lincoln Center. Clara Rodriguez, Ph.D., professor of sociology, said she invited Morales because a documentary he co-produced, Whose Barrio?, fit in line with the topic students were researching in her class.

“[The documentary] focused on the economic shifts that occurred in these neighborhoods and their cultural impact, as opposed to the way in which it is more generally perceived—as racial or ethnic shifts,” Rodriguez said.

Morales showed excerpts from Whose Barrio?, which explores gentrification in East Harlem, where the median household income is just over $22,000.

“Downtown is moving uptown,” Morales says in the film. “Big changes are coming—what some people call development and others call gentrification.”

Shown at the HBO New York International Latino Film Festival in 2009, Whose Barrio? was co-produced with fellow journalist Laura Rivera. The film follows two East Harlem residents—Jose Rivera, a middle-aged man of Puerto Rican descent who was born and raised in El Barrio, and James Garcia, a 20-something seventh generation Mexican-American that bought a condo in one of the new buildings in the area.

While Garcia advocates for an upswing in the neighborhood’s “quality of life,” Rivera worries wealthier newcomers are forcing him out. “You can’t live here and expect to buy a home unless you’re making outrageous amounts of money,” Rivera said in the film. “’Luxury’ means I can’t afford it.”

At one point in the film, Garcia rails against residents, who he says are afraid of change and perhaps comfortable living among crime. Morales said this isn’t so.

“Community leaders have always asked for more policing,” Morales said. “Unfortunately, it seems to come only after the neighborhood is gentrified.”

Before the neighborhood became “hot” for gentrification, Morales said his own friends of Puerto Rican descent who were coming out of academia and other professions moved to El Barrio in an attempt to keep “a cultural presence.”

“They were rather idealistic,” he said. “Their goal was the save and buy in the area, which I thought was great. But then the skyrocketing real estate market happened and no matter how much they saved, they could never save enough.”

Morales said gentrification, while slowed somewhat, is still going on in Spanish Harlem. Most of the new buildings that were not able to sell units are now renting at rates of $1800 and above.

“In New York, the housing market has not gone down as other parts of the country have,” Morales said referring to rent prices that many in the area could never afford.

Whose Barrio? was not intended solely for the people of East Harlem, Morales said.

“It’s a universal film. People in many parts of the country, in one way or another, have been affected by the forces of the real estate market and have had to move out or have been priced out,” Morales said.

For more information about the film, visit

A Latin music Newsday columnist and longtime Village Voice contributing writer, Morales’ work has appeared in Rolling Stone and The New York Times. He is the author of Living in Spanglish (St. Martin’s Press, 2003) and The Latin Beat: From Rumba to Rock (DaCapo Press, 2003).

Gina Vergel

FordhamScience: Adapting Research Methods in HIV Study

Being a successful researcher requires not only painstaking attention to detail and boundless curiosity. It also required being flexible enough to alter your approach when faced with new findings.

Monica Rivera-Mindt, Ph.D., an associate professor of psychology, is doing just that as she works on a five-year study conducted at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine and funded by the National Institute of Mental Health.

The grant, which was awarded in 2007, involves recruiting 150 volunteers to take part in a pilot study of an intervention that is culturally tailored specifically toward Latinos. Rivera-Mindt said they’ve successfully recruited 110 volunteers, and hopes to hit the goal by February.

“Any time you engage in research with people, there are always bumps and surprises along the way, and my study is no exception in that regard,” she said. Recruitment was slow initially, and I had this desire to get involved in the community, but I didn’t know exactly how to approach the community in a meaningful way.”

Part of the challenge, she said, has been earning the trust of the community, so as to understand the needs of a disenfranchised population. Working with groups like Harlem Community Academic Partnership, the Manhattan HIV Care Network has helped.

“It’s not only about how my research can help them, but also how their perspective can inform my research. Because of their input, my research has evolved, and questions are emerging in ways that I didn’t expect and could not have known had I not been involved in the community,” she said.

“It turns out that broader social issues are also rally important to medication adherence in a way that I hadn’t thought about things like housing, and child care in order to go to the pharmacy or to see the doctor in order to get your medication.”

“Part of the population that I’m working with is somewhat transient, and sometimes they’re living with family or with friends, wherever, and they can’t disclose their HIV status, for issues of safety and other things, or being ostracized. So they hide their medications; they might not be able to take them into where they’re living.”

Rivera-Mindt is also working on a grant from the National Institute on Drug Abuse with a team at Albert Einstein College of Medicine examining the neurocognitive effects of bupenorphine (an opioid addiction therapy) among HIV-positive and HIV-negative opioid dependent adults.

Rivera-Mindt’s work has not gone unnoticed. When it meets for its annual conference in Vancouver on Oct. 13, The National Academy of Neuropsychology will present her with its 2010 Early Career Service Award, for her service to the profession, service to the community, and teaching, including supervision and mentoring. It’s the first national award she’s won for her work, and one she’s extremely grateful for.

“My research, teaching and supervision are all inter-connected. For me, the ultimate goal is to improve services and outcomes in terms of neuro-psychological functioning for all kinds of people, but especially for ethnically diverse, disenfranchised populations who tend to be underrepresented or under served,” she said. “So I feel this is part of that greater mission for me.”

—Patrick Verel
Edited: Friday, Oct. 1, 2010 | 4 p.m.