Many of you may have heard of the “Ignite the Dream” summit that has been occurring recently. We at 4E interviewed one of the organizers, Corey Stewart (SFS ’15), about the work that he and the other summit organizers, Bserat Ghebremicael (MSB ’17) and Jimmy Ramirez (COL ’15) have been doing.
Why did you decide to start this summit, and why call it “Ignite the Dream”?
In August, Dr. DeGioia hosted the Reflections on Ferguson following the tragedy in Missouri this past summer. At one point during the panel discussion in Gaston Hall, Professor Michael Eric Dyson urged Georgetown to host a large scale event that would discussed the nuanced issues of class and race as they tie to the United States as well as the Hoya community. Jimmy and I took this to heart and reached out to students who we thought would be interested in collaborating with us. Bserat was enthusiastic about being involved, and ever since the three of us have been framing the event.
The term “Ignite the Dream” has dual meanings. The first is in reference to the American Dream – the idea that all citizens can succeed in this country by working hard and abiding by the law. When we think critically about the history of the United States, it becomes apparent that only certain segments of the population have truly been able to realize this dream. One of the goals of this summit is to learn about the intersection of race and class in the United States and how all of us may access, or ignite, the American Dream. The second meaning is in a similar vein, but in reference to Dr. King’s I Have a Dream speech – how can we realize his dream?
What is your vision for these events?
Our hope is that these events speak to a different part of Georgetown. So many events centered around social justice often end up being people preaching to the choir – which is not at all a bad thing. We hope to engage students who have never really had to think about race and class in their daily lives in this conversation.
What’s the most important thing you have learned while organizing this summit?
Students are itching to have this conversation. The feedback we have received from our peers and the institution have been nothing short of inspiring. Our university is ready to have this conversation; however, outlets to do so have been minimal. It’s important when approaching such difficult conversations as race and class that we make these conversations accessible.
What part of the summit are you most excited for?
Tonight! In the HFSC at 7:30 pm we are hosting a panel discussion of student activists. There will be roundtable discussions, spoken word performances, a brief film screening, and food from Booey’s. This will really help us to get at the root of what we’re trying to accomplish–having students engage in discourse regarding race and class, ask honest questions, and meet Hoyas from different backgrounds. This way, we can create change on campus that is organic and from the ground up.
How can other Georgetown students get involved?
Reach out to Bserat Ghebremicael, she’s going to be taking this over next year and has a number of dreams for what this event will look like next year!
Thanks Corey for answering our questions! If you can’t make the student panelist event tonight at 7:30 in the HFSC Social Room, there’s one last event tomorrow, April 14, at 8:00 pm in the ICC Auditorium regarding “New Slaves: Mass Incarceration in the United States.” This event will feature numerous advocates for prison reform including Glenn Martin of Just Leadership USA, Darakshan Raja from the Washington Peace Center and Todd Coxx from the Center for American Progress.
Additionally, you can check out the Ignite the Dream website
or Facebook page
and register for this (free) summit. There are only two more events today and tomorrow for a wonderful student-led summit addressing these incredibly important issues!