By: JIM IRIZARRY
Staff Writer/Copy Editor
A new group is looking to not only help IU South Bend celebrate its diversity, but unify its community using storytelling and the arts.
Stage for Change formed as a non-profit group last year and is teaming up with the Civil Rights Heritage Center and the Student Association for Civil Rights and Social Justice. What is Stage for Change?
“The topics of racism, sexism, discrimination, discrimination in the workplace, but also what does it mean to be an American, what does it mean to be an immigrant here, all these questions of identity are happening,” said Stage for Change Co-Founder and Executive Director Deandra Cadet. “Stage for Change developed from our work [as students at Notre Dame] where we took stories from the community on identity and difference. We presented these anonymously written stories on race, class, gender, sexual orientation, ability, mental health, and we put them on the stage because we felt that these were unheard voices and had other students present them to the Notre Dame community.”
From the birth of the group’s concept in 2011, the show has played to sell-out audiences at Notre Dame. Now, Cadet and co-founder Taeyin ChoGlueck hope to bring the group to more universities around the country, with IUSB being the first to partner with the group.
“Our mission is to use stories as strategies to build inclusion,” Cadet said. “We focus on more than just community theater, but the purpose of collecting stories and why it’s important and getting people to write their own story. We encourage people to think about what are the stories that they are not hearing in their community, but we also think of the different ways to present unheard voices. We take the stories and give them a platform of a circle dialogue and have people talk about it and their relation to a story.”
Stage for Change plans to use speaking engagements as well as a series of workshops where students can not only center their own narratives on identity and difference, but also encourage others to do the same. The goal of Stage for Change is to have students sustaining the group here at IUSB. Cadet is confident that the group will take root here because of its diversity and how it reflects the South Bend community as a whole.
“We’re very intentional about the student group and who they become,” Cadet says. “We want them to become advocates. We’re focused on creating a community among the students that are going to be a part of this core team and lead this effort on campus.”
For more information about getting involved with Stage for Change, visit them on Facebook or their website at Stage4Change.org.