Friday, March 28, 2008

March Madness

The NY Times has this story in today's online edition about D.J. Augustin, a Katrina evacuee who is playing basketball for the University of Texas at Austin. I'm not a March Madness fan and didn't know who he was, but the story's title, A City Left Behind, but Still Inspired, caught my eye. Think about this, Hurricane Katrina hit in 2005 and since then he's only been back 4 times! It seems like he still has strong connections with New Orleans, but sadly it's no longer his home.

I'm out here in Illinois for the next 3 years or so, by choice and could return home (Massachusetts) whenever I want to, but it'd be another thing altogether not to have a home to go back to, and to have to adjust to a new one. It seems like he's not only done that, but is thriving at it. I'm impressed.

Here's a quote from the story: “D. J.’s story is one of inspiration and demonstrates the power of the human spirit,” New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin said through a spokesman. “Our citizens, whether living here or elsewhere, continue to demonstrate their strength and perseverance.”

Note: the photo above is from D.J. Augustin's athlete profile on the University of Texas's Athletic Department's website.

It's News To Me!

It's a little ironic considering that I'm blogging on here and I wasn't aware of this, but as the title says it's news to me. It's not really a secret, just something I hadn't thought about and if you're like me, you might not have either. So what is it? goes:

Each week the Student Hurricane Network sends out a newsletter containing udates about SHN events, news and information about the Gulf Coast Region, and ways to get involved in the organization.

Moral of the story is you get more email (kidding), no, this is a really good way to keep on what's going on in New Orleans and the lingering effects of Katrina. I know, I know you're probably thinking more email, and weekly to boot? If you don't want to sign up for the newsletter, remember the Student Hurricane Network website is
It links to the blogs of other law schools and read what their experiences have been.

We'll be adding pics here soon, so watch for that.

Trivia: how many stories does Google News return about "Hurricane Katrina"?
Answer (as of today March 28, 2008): 12,858

Note: I tried signing up for the newsletter and got an error message, so it might not work for you, (but you can check still check out the other schools' blogs), hopefully the error I got isn't an ongoing issue. If you've signed up, recently leave a comment and tell me what I did wrong.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Who Are the People in Your Network?

No. Not phone network, Illinois Student Hurricane Network. Remember the Sesame Street song, Who are the People in Your Neighborhood? Substitute "network" for neighborhood as you read along and check the blog for periodic interviews with the students that make up the SHN chapter at the College of Law. Why? Well, because I hope you'll be inspired by them and think about joining us in the future. These guys and girls are a great resource, if you want to learn more.

Miranda Soucie is not only next year's President of the SHN at Illinois, she was also the director of the College of Law's recent production of Eve Ensler's Vagina Monolgues. Here's a Q & A with Miranda about SHN and the Vagina Monologues and here's what she had to say:

Q: So, you were involved in the Vagina Monologues, how did that overlap with the Student Hurricane Network?
A: Um, the international focus of the Vagina Monologues and V-Day for 2008 is the women of New Orleans. So when I first started looking into doing the Vagina Monologues, and I found out about all the stuff that they are planning to do in New Orleans: donating to women's organizations in that area, [and] empowering women, I decided it was a great idea to get the Student Hurricane Network involved here in the Vagina Monologues.

Q: And you are also the President of the Student Hurricane Network? Is that correct?
A: Yes, I'm the incoming President.

Q: What are some of your plans or goals for SHN next year?
A: Well, currently we've been doing one trip [to New Orleans] a year. Last semester I believe we had 38 almost 40 people go on the trip. The trips are getting kind of large, so one of my main goals is to do two trips. Whether that be two during winter break or one during spring break, we're still working on. Also, we're planning on doing a lot more fund raising, involving football games and the like. So I'd be looking out for a lot more fund raising to be happening.

Q: And, just overall what was your experience with the Vagina Monologues? Being the director?
A: It was crazy. It was a lot. It was a huge time commitment, but overall the ladies were wonderful, the community was pretty receptive to the event and I think it's something we can definitely build on and do again in the future.

Q: As an alum of this past trip, what did you do in New Orleans?

A: I worked for the assistant of Bill Quigley, who is a member of the Loyola [University] law clinic. He does a lot of public interest work and we did a lot with the public housing while we were there. We worked with the protesters who were arrested. Spent a lot of time in court and I got a few instances to go along to some of their clients and deliver groceries and meet some people. It was pretty neat.

Q: What initially attracted you to participate in SHN?
A: I have a lot of friends that live in that area and I've always spent a lot of time down there. I just think it's terrible what's happened to that area.

Where Were you on V-Day?

The torch has been passed, so I'm picking it up and posting about my reaction to the Vagina Monologues. I saw the March 7th show (there was one the following night as well). I have to say that it was great seeing the talents of fellow classmates. The sensitivity, humor, candor and realness of the performances was amazing.

Not having seen the monologues before, I wasn't quite sure what to expect, yet I was curious as to what would unfold. I'm really glad that I went. Of course, a show called the Vagina Monologues, is going to be told from a female perspective, but rather than alienating males, such as myself, it invites us to really hear the voices of the women embodied in the monologues. One of the most striking aspects of the performances is the realization that each of these women is as the different as the names for the vaginas that are revealed to the audience. I was happy to see the diversity of the women reflected not only in the experiences related in their monologues, but also in the cast. It reinforced the theme that these monologues are not just one woman's story or one social or racial group's but it is everywoman's story, which is to say it is a human story.

Did you go to V-Day? What did you think?

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Passing the Torch

We had a meeting yesterday and officially determined who would be leading the U of I SHN next year. I have to admit, being President was exhausting...and I'm glad to be passing the torch on to the next generation. But, beyond my anticipation of a slacker 3L year, I'm really thrilled about the new leadership and all the potential they have to continue to grow SHN.

All of the 2008-2009 board members have proven to be amazingly dedicated volunteers and I think they have a great combo of enthusiasm, unique skills, and connections within the law school (and beyond) to do great things! I wish them all the best in helping SHN help law students make a difference on the gulf coast!