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SMC symposium to address incarcerated women

first_imgNext Tuesday Saint Mary’s College will shed light on an often-unheard community within South Bend: incarcerated women. The College is hosting a Symposium on Female Incarceration on Tuesday, December 3 that will highlight the work of men and women who serve the incarcerated. The symposium will take place in Vander Vannet Theater in the College Student Center, Dr. Adrienne Lyles Chockley, visiting assistant professor of justice education said. “Many of the people who are going to be presenting are individuals who came to serve ex-offenders through a very long and kind of winding life journey which I include myself in,” Chockley said. “I have an organization called social justice services that provides re-entry services for ex-offenders, and so many of the people have this very interesting life story that brought us to serve this population.” She said she hopes the all-day, non-stop event will open the floor for dialogue and discussion about the challenges faced by female ex-offenders, what it means to be a woman incarcerated, and the challenges women and their families face as they exit incarceration. “One of our most vulnerable populations in the South Bend community [is] our female ex-offenders, and so we are gathering ex-offenders, advocates, professionals [and] members of the faith community to take a look at what the challenges are and have a discussion about how we can collaboratively address those challenges,” she said. The symposium will feature 15 speakers tied to the South Bend incarcerated community and Chockley will deliver the opening and closing remarks.   “I’m excited about every single person [speaking],” Chockley said. Father David T. Link, former dean of Notre Dame Law School and newly published author, will be the keynote speaker. His new book, “Camerado, I Give You My Hand: How a Powerful Lawyer-Turned-Priest Is Changing the Lives of Men Behind Bars,” is about the value of human life and the transformative power of friendship and compassion, according to his website. Chockley said his life mission is to walk with the incarcerated, especially with those facing the death penalty or on death row, and people who are imprisoned for life. Pat Hosea, a female ex-offender who will speak to a variety of the challenges faced by incarcerated women including sexual violence, addiction and issues with children and child custody, is delivering the second keynote speech. Chockley said she transformed her life after being released from prison; she is now a small business owner and a personal friend to her. “She really speaks to both what the challenges are and real concrete ways to transcend those challenges,” Chockley said. Though incarceration is a relatively well-discussed issue in society, the unique challenges it poses to women are often overlooked, Chockley said.  Many institutions will address incarceration but from a male’s perspective and ignore female-intersected challenges involved including sexual violence, addiction, child-care, and economic concerns, she said.   Now an ex-offender going on 11 years, Hosea said she can attest and identify with theses hardships, but she has used them to shape herself into an advocate for those struggling as she did. “My story never ends because I’ve been a survivor of a lot of things,” Hosea said. With regards to her incarceration experience, she said she recalls the “horridness” of being separated from her children and how that worry weighed upon her during her imprisonment. “It was horrible.  There’s no explanation other than it’s horrible, especially if you have children.” Hosea said.  “[Fortunately] all four of my boys are doing very well. “It was hell.  Never, ever do I ever want to do it again, because if I get off try off track for one second, the enemy will try to take me out.  I’m doing well through the grace of God.” Father James Bracke, C.S.C., staff chaplain of Campus Ministry, said his experience on the other side of prison bars within prison ministry last year led him to see what he could do to help stem the flow of folks falling back into the cycle of incarceration. “I am a beginner student in this maze of re-entry, but I feel called to do something to serve these my sisters and brothers, having paid the price for their mistakes, to have a second chance,” Bracke said.  “It is what Jesus came to give all of us after our fall from grace, and faith says that redemption is real for every one of us.  700 of my brothers and sisters in Christ come back into St. Joseph County each year, and after being warehoused for years are told basically good luck from the system as they go back.   “Many said, ‘Father, I never intended to come back here but I could not find a job to support me or my family.  I had too many stressors and I went back to the street.’  The costs for food, housing, shelter, no transportation and the costs of paying for probation are there with little assistance on job creation.  People are reluctant to hire ex-offenders and the economy is still not back yet for the poor in our country.” Bracke has been in the priesthood for over 33 years, Bracke has visited parishioners in Illinois, Colorado and Indiana.  He said his longtime friend and fellow priest, Father Tom McNally, C.S.C, who is also speaking on the subject of spiritual response to the crisis of incarceration, inspired Bracke to serve those in prison Bracke aims ty embrace the symposium’s importance in drawing attention to voices unheard in the incarcerated community. “Female incarceration is somewhat underreported as to how it has an effect on community and family life,” Bracke said. “My reason for speaking at this symposium is to advocate for folks who have few if any voices to encourage and support them.  Jesus came for the folks on the margins and for those cut off from the rest of society and I feel I want to speak on behalf of them.  It’s all about service and the Lord.   “I feel called to walk the talk, and I hope that students will come to listen and grow in of this critical issue that is not addressed or on the priority list for politicians.  Come with open hearts to hear and see with new eyes.”   Contact Emilie Kefalas at [email protected]last_img read more

University salutatorian reflects on time at Notre Dame

first_imgWhen she was first accepted to Notre Dame, class of 2018 salutatorian Harisa Spahić wasn’t sure she wanted to come to the University. During the spring of her senior year of high school, the self-described “townie”, who was born in Germany to a Bosnian family and lived in Idaho before her family relocated to northern Indiana, was harboring some doubts about Notre Dame — namely its proximity to her home.“I didn’t want to go to a school that was very close to my home,” Spahić said. “I’m also not Catholic nor religious so I was hesitant about that just because I went to public school. I didn’t know what it was going to be like. So, it was just the unknown. And then also I’m not the biggest fan of football.”Still, Spahić eventually decided to come to Notre Dame. Four years later, she will graduate with a 4.0 cumulative GPA, having completed a major in biochemistry and minors in anthropology and science, technology and values. She will also graduate as an early inductee into Phi Beta Kappa Honor Society, a Marshall Scholar finalist, a four year member of the Dean’s List and a recipient of the 2018 Daniel and Anne Crossen Pre-Medical Student Award.Spahić said her decision to come was largely due to her participation in the QuestBridge program, a scholarship program for low-income students, coupled with a visit to campus.“I came on that spring visit weekend in the spring, and I think it was being able to actually experience academic, social and spiritual life on campus that really kind of took away a lot of that mystery and unknown,” she said. “I found out that Notre Dame is a fantastic place, and I do want to go there and I do fit in.”Spahić said her decision to pursue a degree in biochemistry was a result of her interest in both biology and chemistry, and she chose her two minors because they helped expand her perspective on the sciences.“I like biochemistry because … it gets the right level of what I like. So, it worked out for me,” she said. “Anthropology I picked because it was interesting. I took one anthropology class in my freshman year and I really liked it, so I just picked up the minor because it was easy and those have also been some of my favorite classes. It really kind of directed my interest in medicine.“And the science, technology and values was primarily because of the interesting classes they offer and the perspective on science it offers … I think a lot of scientists sometimes get too dead set in their ways, and science is absolute, but when you actually start looking at science and the history of it and everything it’s not as absolute.”Beyond the classroom, Spahić has been involved in two research labs — the Cancer Neurocognitive Translational Research Lab (CNTRL) and the Clark research lab. In addition to a job in the admissions office, she has also volunteered with a range of organizations, including Habitat for Humanity, the Center for Hospice Care, Social Justice in American Medicine Club and the Notre Dame chapter of Timmy Global Health.Through her various activities, Spahić has traveled throughout the world. She went to Copenhagen to present research from the CNTRL and traveled to Ecuador to volunteer in a health clinic with Timmy Global Health. In addition, she participated in academic study abroad programs in Ireland and Greece.Spahić said her engagement was sparked by a desire to interact with the world beyond Notre Dame.“Notre Dame can be a bit of a bubble sometimes,” she said. “I think leaving the bubble was very important, especially because academics and things like that are so ingrained, but with community service and other outreach opportunities, getting to know other people that don’t necessarily go to Notre Dame, so exposing myself to people with different ways of thinking, backgrounds, was really important and what I wanted to do,”Spahić said the key to balancing her many activities with her academics was prioritization. She also used yoga to help her de-stress during busy periods and said balance was important to healthy life.“The thing I’ve taken most away from Notre Dame is having a balance of things,” she said. “And I think that comes into like academics, spiritually and socially, but then also family. So, having a great life doesn’t mean just being the best student you could possibly be, the best athlete you could possibly be, being the best anything you could possibly be — it’s just being the best person you could possibly be.”In the fall, Spahić will enroll at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore. She is interested in studying women’s health, and currently plans to become an OBGYN.In offering advice for the community she is preparing to leave, she said students should have some direction but be willing to change their plans.“Something I like to tell prospective students is draw your plan in pencil. Just so you have a plan, like it’s always good to have direction in life,” she said. “But always be open to new opportunities. So that’s the pencil part, be willing to erase thing and make a new plan. I think that was very important in my experience during Notre Dame.”I didn’t expect to study abroad in all of the places I did, I didn’t expect to do all the research I did, I didn’t expect to join all the clubs I did. But it was just as the opportunities arose and my interests were piqued, I chose to do those. Definitely having flexibility with that regard would be my biggest piece of advice.”Tags: 2018 Commencement, class of 2018, Commencement 2018, Commencement Issue 2018, health, medical school, Medicine, salutatorian, sciencelast_img read more

ABP to commit €500m to green mortgages

first_imgThe €409bn Dutch civil service scheme ABP has committed €500m to “green mortgages”, which come with a discount for energy-efficient residential property.The discount would not only apply to purchased assets with the highest energy efficiency, but also to the mortgaged property after it has been converted to meet the requirements of energy label ‘A’ during the duration of the mortgage.This way, both parties would contribute to improving the green credentials of the property market, ABP said.The pension fund added that its investment would be managed by Vista Hypotheken, a mortgage subsidiary of Rabobank focusing on consumers seeking clear and simple conditions combined with a long fixed interest period. Vista clients would be provided with easily accessible information about the options for increasing the sustainability of their property through sustainability adviser GreenHome.ABP said the investment was part of an overall commitment to allocate up to €800m in mortgages through Vista Hypotheken.Its combined worldwide holdings of residential mortgages total €9bn, €4bn which has been invested in the Netherlands.The civil service scheme said its latest commitment was part of its goal to increase the sustainability of its mortgages, and also contributed to its target of investing €58bn in total in sustainable development by 2020.Hikmet Sevdican, director of Vista, said that the energy efficiency discount made the mortgages stand out to institutional investors seeking investments focused on returns as well as sustainability.Rabobank launched Vista Hypotheken as a new brand for residential mortgages provided through intermediaries last April.ABP said that APG, its asset manager, had reserved €1bn in total for ABP and its other pension fund clients to invest in Vista Hypotheken, half of which was destined for sustainable mortgages.IPE will publish a special report on green finance in February’s issue of the magazinelast_img read more