By Robin Galenza
Teresa Roane will be spreading a powerful message of dissent to the students, faculty and staff of Augustana on October 1st. Roane is the first guest speaker the U of A’s Augustana Campus will be hosting as part of its academic theme, Dissent.
Roane, from the Library Manager of the Museum of Confederacy in Richmond, Virginia, will be speaking about the African American’s struggles to gain rights, freedom, and equality. Her lecture will touch on two important Supreme Court rulings in American history that changed the lives of African Americans forever. The first was the ruling on rail cars, stating that they could only be separated by race if they were equal. The second ruling caused the desegregation of schools. Though her lecture will focus mainly on southern states, she stresses that racism and inequality is found everywhere.
“I want to let Canadians know what African Americans had to go through to get where we are today. The history of African Americans has been hard fought,” Roane explains.
Roane believes dissent is an important topic to reflect upon because it brings about change to the world, “People need to understand if you don’t agree with policy or ideas that you have the right to speak up and challenge that policy or idea. You don’t have to be afraid. It doesn’t have to be violent dissent, but you have the right to disagree. You can change it and move forward.”
She adds that she owes a great deal to those who had the courage to speak up in the past, “If it weren’t for them, I could not vote, or get an education. I don’t think we would have a black president today.”
Roane was invited to speak at Augustana by Associate Professor, Rani Palo. Palo believes that students should engage themselves in this year’s theme and attend the events because it is one that affects everyone. “Most improvements that we recognize in our world have been individuals or groups dissenting, and some have been shot and killed for their voices.” Palo adds that dissent is found everywhere, even in mathematics, science, and music.
On her visit to campus, Roane will also be visiting eight classrooms for one-on-one discussions about racism and dissent in African American history.
Her guest lecture will start at 7:00 p.m. on October 1 in the Faith and Life Chapel. There will also be a wine and cheese reception following her speech.