Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion | This week, LMU This Week is highlighting two students excited to share part of themselves, their identities, and their involvement in the arts and the sciences. Jose Miguel Camacho, a LMU student artivist who is using his art to make an impact in social justice. He recently moderated the CLSS and CSA event “Artivism” with Victor Ochoa and Raymundo Hernandez- Lopez. Cristobal Spielmann ’22 is an aspiring environmental scientist and an assistant opinion editor for the Loyolan. Cristobal shares his experience interning for Friends of Ballona Wetlands and his interest in impacting research around climate change.
José Miguel Camacho (he/they) ’22
Major in studio arts with an emphasis in graphic design
I feel that it is easier for me to talk about my innermost thoughts, feelings, and beliefs through my art than it is to verbally talk about these things. Although I enjoy doing both, it is easier for me to have a conversation and hold a space through my work.
Not only that, but my innermost thoughts and feelings almost demand that I speak about them. These topics that I’ve addressed in my work, immigration, religion, mass incarceration, racism, masculinity, and others, are all demanding that they be given life and incarnated in the form of a work of art. “No Way (Revised)” is an act of ownership and reappropriation of my identity and my name.
Growing up I struggled with my own name and feeling comfortable in it because of how hard it was for English speakers to pronounce José how it was meant to be pronounced. Rather than being called “Hoh-seh,” I was called “Hoe-zay.” Additionally, my name became a sort of joke to others, specifically white people who resorted to comedy as a result of not being able to pronounce a non-English name. I was always called “No Way Jose” and I recall my white teachers taking attendance and saying this phrase instead of actually saying my name.
This denial of my name and my identity has been a roadblock in accepting my own identity as a person of color. With this piece, I am reclaiming this phrase and taking it back as my own. I am saying that there is “NO WAY” that I will allow for others to deny me of my own identity.
“Immigration Puzzle” is a piece inspired by a quote that a friend had said to me when having a conversation about this topic. He told me, “The immigration issue is like a puzzle and we each have an obligation to provide a different piece to the puzzle.” I made this piece to act as a moveable puzzle that cannot function without the others. The central gear piece that turns the rest of the pieces has the word “YOU” laser-cut into it, implying that it takes “YOU” to engage with the immigration issue to actually contribute to alleviating it.
Cristobal Spielmann ’22
Major in environmental science
As an environmental science major at the university, I’ve always been looking for chances to explore applying my interests from that major into a tangible project or work. Since August, I’ve been fortunate enough to work with the organization Friends of Ballona Wetlands as a habitat restoration intern as part of an internship requirement for my major.
Throughout this internship, I’ve had the opportunity to learn far more about an environment just in my campus’ backyard that I had only known as the last of the remaining wetlands in Los Angeles County, and one of the few remaining wetlands in Southern California, at all.
Restoring these habitats of the wetlands requires knowing about the unique plants, both native and invasive, that call the wetlands home. Lemonade berry, for instance, is a native plant that gets its name from the taste of the sap of the berries, which is extremely sour and does taste quite similar to lemonade. Conversely, iceplant is a popular succulent that grows in huge patches and quickly chokes out any competing plants in the area; it’s a plant so destructive that it inspired one of my opinion pieces in the Los Angeles Loyolan.
During this Latino/a/x Heritage Month, I’ve been excited to see the celebration go hand-in-hand with events related to science and my specific interests in environmental science. This past week included “Biz+STEM Career Week: Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Networking Session” and “Climate Justice: A Speaker Event and Exhibition”; as someone who’s reported on climate change for the multi-university initiative Climate360 News, this was particularly fun to see alongside this month.
As we as a student community continue on celebrating the importance of Latino/a/x heritage, we should also acknowledge the layered interests of those with that heritage, including the importance of having those with that heritage having a voice in science. I’m above all thankful that I’ve found the opportunity to explore those interests at the university.
- Check outstudents’ artwork (with their permission, of course) from a course on U.S. Latinx theology taught by Dr. Cecilia Gonzalez-Andrieu. Students taking this course embark on a journey into the work of public theology, developing a critical voice through a theological lens. Students use methodology arising from Latinx traditions and experiences to examine the diverse origins, theological expressions and processes for action of Latinx Christian communities in the U.S. with a special emphasis on the Catholic tradition.
- More information about events for Latina/o/x Heritage Month can be found here.
- Learn more about LMU’s Anti-Racism Project and DEI initiatives here.
- Inclusive Excellence Grants Call for Proposals (due 11/15)
- Systemic AnalysisYear 2 initiatives are in place.
- Register for aReport Out Session, where units who are in-progress will share their work and receive feedback from the community. First report out of the semester will take place on October 19.
- Register to attend one of three types of workshops offered this year:
- Classic Consultation Workshops for Unit Reflection
- Capacity and Community Building Workshops
- Faculty Workshops with the Center for Teaching Excellence
- Workshops will resume in November
- Check out DEI’sFall 2021 calendar