Oxford residents host vigil for Parkland victims

On Wednesday morning, over 1,000 miles away from Parkland, Florida, roughly 50 Oxford residents and Miami students gathered in Uptown Park for a vigil to mark the losses of 17 students killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School last month. The vigil was co-sponsored by the League of Women Voters of Oxford and the Oxford Citizens for Peace and Justice. The crowd, the majority of whom were Oxford residents, gathered on the curb near Uptown Park in the below-freezing weather. Participants greeted each other and aimed their signs towards the passing cars. Posters with the words “Stand With Students Against Gun Violence” and other messages of resistance were waved. Conversation petered out as an organizer announced it was 10 a.m. The bell tower chimed and the group fell silent for 17 minutes, one minute for each life lost. Some bowed their heads, others looked defiantly out into the street. The silence was disturbed only by Oxford traffic and the occasional sniffle. The silence was broken at precisely 10:17 a.m., when the protesters began to chant “Enough!” Afterward, organizers made their way through the crowd. They handed out postcards to send to congressmen, urging lawmakers to “do their jobs and ban assault weapons now.” They also distributed contact information for the coordinators of various Butler County political activist groups, local and state campaigns....

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‘We are Proud to Present’ meant to make you feel uncomfortable

The title “We Are Proud to Present a Presentation About the Herero of Namibia, Formerly Known as South West Africa, From the German Südwesafrika, Between the Years 1884-1915,” lets its audience know right off the bat that this is not going to be an easy show to take in. The play depicts a group of six actors rehearsing a presentation that chronicles the early 20th century genocide of the Herero tribe by the German government. The characters wrestle with the stories they each want to elevate and the racial tension that arises between them as a result. It was...

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Damon Williams speaks on diversity and inclusion

  Alumnus Damon Williams spoke Wednesday, Mar. 7 as part of Miami’s Diversity Week. The keynote speaker touched on his past, social media activism and open mindedness. President Greg Crawford presented Williams with the Presidential Medallion after his address. Crawford thanked Williams for his inspiration and for exemplifying “love and honor.” Williams’s talk was part of his national “Inclusion Excellence Tour.” He spoke on a number of current issues, including #MeToo and NFL kneeling protests. Williams is a “Miami Merger” and a legacy student who studied sociology and black world studies during his time here. He began his talk by thanking the several members of his family that were in attendance, including his aunt and uncle, who raised him. Williams was born to a 15-year-old mother and had a father that he described as “never a part of [his] life.” He attributed his remarkable work ethic in college and beyond to the fact that he “had no safety net” if he didn’t continue to mature and grow. Williams highlighted the generational differences coming to light today. A self-described “digital immigrant” and member of Generation X, he welcomed the changes he feels will be brought into the workforce by the next generation, who he referred to as “centennials” and “digital intuitives.” He praised the Twitter movement #BlackGirlMagic and this generation’s social media activism, as exemplified by “brand pain,” which Williams...

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The fun the cast of “Bend, Tear, and Spindle” had in staging its performance was contagious as their obvious joy spread throughout Wilks Theatre on opening night. “Bend, Tear, and Spindle” is a light-hearted play set in the 1970s about an older couple who agree to take in a foster child and, through a problem with the agency’s computer system, end up with seven more children than they bargained for. The show was a charming diversion from Stage Left’s typical productions. The organization is known for its well-produced shows with adult subject matter, which director Cami Kowalski acknowledges. Though...

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The vague and threatening world of “Gathering Blue” is established almost immediately when a swarm of angry women try to throw an orphan girl into the “bone fields” to be devoured by beasts, an unanticipated beginning for a story that’s ultimate message is one of hope. The Department of Theatre’s “Occupy Empathy” season continued with “Gathering Blue,” a play by Eric Coble adapted from the book of the same title written by Lois Lowry. Some readers may be familiar with Lowry’s “The Giver,” a staple of many middle school English curricula. “Gathering Blue” is a companion story to that more well-known novel. The play centers on Kira, a girl with a twisted leg and a talent for weaving who has recently been orphaned and left to face a dystopian world in which those who cannot work are left to die. It is a solid choice for the Miami’s “Occupy Empathy” theatre season, challenging its audience to reflect on themes such as disability in society, the individual against a community and the power of art in selectively recording and shaping a civilization’s history. These ideas are important, and while the show introduced them aptly, the overall style of “Gathering Blue” was a little too on the nose, suggesting that the story is better suited to its original audience of middle school students than to a college theatre production. Despite that...

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