Tag: Dominican University

D209 To Offer Teachers State Endorsements In ESL, Bilingual Education

Sunday, February 17, 2019 || By Michael Romain || @maywoodnews

Proviso Township High Schools District 209 officials recently announced that they’ve partnered with an area college to offer more bilingual training and certification to teachers in the district.

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Stricken by a Stroke, Maywood Grad Finds Her Voice in Faith

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Shantal Cole during her May 7 graduation from Dominican University in River Forest. | Below, Cole performing her poem at the college’s traditional Candle & Rose ceremony held May 6. || Photos provided 

Shantal Cole photo II.jpgTuesday, May 23, 2017 || By Michael Romain || @maywoodnews

On May 6, a day before she graduated from Dominican University in River Forest, Shantal Cole, 26, walked to the podium during the college’s annual Candle and Rose ceremony and recited a poem she’d written for the occasion.

The poem included the line, “We are often broken, but never shattered.”

It’s sort of the story of her life.

Between the ages of 7 and 12 years old, Cole said in a recent interview, she was molested and constantly bullied by relatives on her father’s side — trauma that she spent much of her youth attempting to suppress and hide.

“It wasn’t until I made it to high school that I didn’t allow the molestation to mess with my mind,” Cole, a resident of Maywood, added in a follow-up email.

And while attending Triton College several years ago, Cole — a passionate dancer who had been pursuing a liberal arts degree at the junior college — suffered a debilitating stroke that left her temporarily paralyzed and with a speech impediment. The physical ailments would open her up to even more humiliation and harassment.

“It was a very emotional time for me,” she said. “I used to cry and I wanted to harm myself. I was like, ‘Why am I here?’ I wanted to commit suicide because it hurt. I wanted to be normal so bad.”

The compounded trauma would lead Cole to seek sanctuary through her faith. She calls her gradual recovery from her stroke, which she said happened roughly five years ago, a miracle because she eventually re-learned how to walk and speak without the aid of physical therapy or medical procedures, such as Botox, she said.

Cole, who graduated with a bachelor’s degree in theology and aspires to become a minister someday, said that her spirituality helped her to own her suffering and to use her trauma to help others heal.

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Dominican University students during the college’s annual Candle and Rose ceremony, a long-standing tradition that dates back to 1928. | Photo provided 

Cole, who attends Rock of Ages Baptist Church in Maywood, said she drew spiritual insight from the sermons of her pastor, Rev. Marvin E. Wiley, and also got critical support from her three siblings (Cole is the youngest) and her mother, Edna Harvey.

“I tried to be a father and a mother to her and her sisters,” Harvey, a single parent, said. “We try to be there for one another and help one another and hang in there for one another when we need help.”

While at Dominican, Cole threw herself into her theology studies and forged her own presence on campus.

“Shantal really seized her voice through her involvement in University Ministry,” said John DeConstanza, the director of Dominican’s University Ministry. “She provided important leadership in prayer and praise, and exercised her gifts and talents in preaching and embodying an important characteristic of the Dominican Order.”

Amy Omi, Dominican’s coordinator of liturgy and music ministry, said that Cole “took her passion for ministry and the arts and merged them with a theology internship this year.”

Cole said that her college experience may have ended, but she’s only starting her ministry, the central premise of which was encapsulated in another line of the poem she delivered during the May 6 ceremony, which dates back to 1928.

“During the ceremony, seniors and their chosen partners fill the Quad in a pageant of candle light — seniors process across the top of our Cloister Walk and assemble in the Quad where they meet individuals who have been important to them during their college experience,” said Jessica Mackinnon, Dominican’s public information director.

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Shantal Cole, far right, with her fellow Dominican University graduates. | Photo provided

“We are often wounded, but never damaged,” Cole said, reciting her poem as a crowd of onlookers basked in candlelight. “Every wound has given us the strength to keep fighting.”

“You don’t know what someone is going through,” Cole said during an interview a few days after she’d graduated.

“We need to accept people as they are and embrace them, because we don’t what their story is,” she said. “We all have a testimony and we all have struggles, but those struggles make us who we are. Without those struggles we wouldn’t be able to find our strength through God and our own faith.” VFP

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Shantal Cole’s Candle and Rose poem 

Seniors class of 2017

We are One

We are Strong

We are Leaders

We are Powerful

We are often broken but, never shattered

We are often wounded but, never damaged

Every wound has given us the strength to keep fighting

Despites the No’s,

Despite the laughter,

Despite people not seeing what we see

We are strong enough to beat the odds

We are strong enough to win the battle

We are strong enough to conquer the enemy

We are strong enough to push through pain and suffering

We are One !

One is unity that can never be broken

One is you and me

One is togetherness

One does not separate the races, the genders, and those of different sexual orientations,

but combines them all into one unity

Because we are graduating seniors that can never be divided.

We are One

We are Strong

We are Leaders

We are Powerful

        CLASS OF 2017 WE MADE IT!!!!!!!!!

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Activists Reflect on the First Black Presidency that Was


Barack Obama, the nation’s first black president, during President Donald Trump’s inauguration in January. | Wikipedia 

Wednesday, February 8, 2017 || By Michael Romain || @maywoodnews

Last month, two days before the nation’s first black presidency was set to end, and on the day of Martin Luther King’s birthday, a crowd of roughly 40 people gathered inside of Dominican University’s Lund Auditorium to grapple with a dilemma of Barack Obama’s two terms.

The event was held in order to consider Barack Obama’s presidency in light of Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy. One of the most poignant moments of the roughly hour-and-a-half discussion was when the three-person panel tried interpreting the pardons and commutations the president had granted in his last few days in office.

On the day before the panel discussion, Obama had commuted the 35-year sentence of Army Private Chelsea Manning, who famously leaked sensitive classified material to WikiLeaks, and the 55-year prison sentence of Oscar Lopez Rivera, a 74-year-old Puerto Rican political activist who was imprisoned for trying to overthrow the United States government, among other charges.

Both Manning and Rivera are considered traitors or terrorists by some and heroes and political prisoners by others, depending on where the critics line up along the left-right ideological divide. Neither, however, are associated with the radical black freedom struggle that King embodies and which, in large part, made Obama’s presidency possible, the panelists noted.

Dometi Pongo, a news anchor for WVON 1690, said his radio station had polled its predominantly black audience about which political figures they would want Obama to focus his mighty presidential pen on.

Many callers, Pongo said, suggested the president pardon the late Marcus Garvey, the early 20th-century Black Nationalist who was sent to jail in the 1920s for mail fraud, a charge that many of his supporters believe was politically motivated. Others named notable former Black Panthers — many now either serving long sentences or in exile — like Mumia Abu-Jamal, H. Rap Brown and Assata Shakur.

That Obama seemed poised to leave office without pardoning or issuing a commutation for a single prominent Black Nationalist had some blacks “wondering where the vindication is,” Pongo said, an assertion that prompted some applause and approving nods from the audience.

Pongo credited the outgoing president with his late-blossoming stance on the issue of mass incarceration and the hundreds of pardons he granted imprisoned African Americans, but he wanted to know why the president’s mercy toward transgender and Latino radicals didn’t extend to black radicals.

“If he released some of these black nationalists, would there be too much political blowback?” Pongo said.

“It’s a calibration of political capital and what is considered suitable political etiquette,” explained Salim Muwakkil, himself a former Black Panther and veteran journalist, who was working for the Associated Press in 1973 when Shakur allegedly murdered a New Jersey State Trooper during a shootout on the New Jersey Turnpike. Shakur was subsequently convicted of first-degree murder and sent to prison before escaping to Cuba in 1979.

“I knew Assata and I knew the specifics of the crime and I knew that she was absolutely innocent,” Muwakkil said. “At the AP, objectivity was the byword. You had to be objective. They had to assure the facts were presented as plainly as possible, but I began to see that objectivity was really a ratification of the status quo. In order for something to have veracity we had to say ‘the police said’ after every sentence.”

The mask of objectivity worn by the AP, Muwakkil argued, was also worn by Obama, whose position of authority constricted his ability to buck the status quo that put radical black figures like Shakur beyond the pale of political acceptability.

That marginalizing of black radical figures from the 1960s and ’70s echoed a much larger paradigm set in place by Obama’s presidency, Muwakkil argued, adding that Obama’s historic two terms “stalled the progress of the black freedom movement and disrupted the dynamics of a protest tradition that has framed black activism for at least a century.”

“This outcome is not necessarily Obama’s intention or even his fault,” Muwakkil said. “The rupture of tradition caused by his victory was simply inevitable.”

Historically, he explained, black activists like King, W.E.B. DuBois, Paul Robeson and Rosa Parks had cultivated adversarial relationships with political leadership. Over the last half-century, however, that relationship has changed.

“Obama’s victory represents the logical conclusion of a political strategy outlined 45 years ago … that designated politics as the next step in the Civil Rights Movement. Because of that strategy, I guess you can call it ‘black faces in high places syndrome,’ many of us have grown accustomed to conflating political campaigns with civil rights crusades.”

The result, the panelists and some in the audience seemed to concede, was a black presidency long on symbolism and hope, and short on political substance.

“I feel like every time it’s something with black people, it’s always, ‘That’s a little too far,’” said one panelist, a poet who goes by the name Authentic. “What’s not too far?” VFP

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