What Does It Mean to “Ignite the Dream”?

Ignite the Dream

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!
Photo: ignitethedream.org

TEDx4E: An Interview With The 2013 TEDxGeorgetown Student Speakers

TEDx thefourthedition

TEDxGeorgetown is back with more of their “ideas worth spreading”. TED is a non-profit organization that was developed in 1984 to help foster innovative ideas in the fields of technology, entertainment and design. Now, almost thirty years later, TED has branched out around the globe, and has even launched special TEDx programs, which are self-organized events that aim to share and create a unique and informative TED-esque experience.

TEDxGeorgetown began on the Hilltop in 2011 and, in less than two years time, the organization has burgeoned into an exciting force at GU. Two years ago, the group hosted its first ever TEDxGeorgetown event where twelve speakers delivered speeches on the theme of power.

On October 26th, TEDxGeorgetown will be back for another round of inspiring speeches. This year’s event will focus on Changemakers and will be divided into three sessions. The first, moderated by Georgetown University President Jack DeGioia, will focus on “Global Human Development.” The second will feature “Men and Women for Others” and the third will revolve around “Cura Personalis.”

After a competitive selection process, three Georgetown Students were chosen to speak at this year’s TEDxGeorgetown event. 4E sat down with them to hear about their speeches, learn why they were excited to deliver TED talks and (of course) to get in touch with their quirky side. Take a look:

Name Rashawn Davis427375_10150935470060194_168306166_n
School College
Year 2014
Major Government
Minor Justice and Peace Studies
Hometown Newark, NJ
Activities Georgetown NAACP President

Without revealing too much, give us a teaser of your upcoming TED talk.

My talk is about my candidacy to become the next West Ward Coucilman in Newark, NJ and about how throughout my journey I’ve met and talked to so many great people and heard so many great stories that have really contributed to my understanding of change and leadership.

This year’s TEDxGeorgetown theme is “changemakers.” How are you a changemaker?

Not many people my age run for public office, and I think that they should. I hope my candidacy not only inspires other young people to run for office, but it shows the world that millennials are the true innovation that cities across this country need.

What does it mean to you to be able to give a TED talk?

I am incredibly humbled, nervous and excited to give a TED talk. I have spent many hours watching and being inspired by TED talks, so to be able to give one is such an honor and a blessing.

If you could choose to have dinner with one person in the world, dead or alive, who would it be and why?

If I could go to dinner with one person … wow, thats hard, but I would have to go with Mayor Michael Nutter of Philadelphia. I am a huge city buff, and Mayor Nutter is one of my favorite mayors. He has a keen sense of what makes cities operate, and he as a grand plan for Philadelphia’s future. He is also a very “tell it like it is” mayor and I appreciate that about him.


163327_10151418015578894_395201736_nName Heather Artinian
School College
Year 2015
Major Government
Minor Justice and Peace Studies
Hometown Glen Cove, NY
Activities Community outreach coordinator for the Georgetown Scholarship Program, founder and president of Girls For Change, treasurer and team member of Women’s Club Basketball, referee for Georgetown Intramural Basketball, member of Baker Scholar Program

Without revealing too much, give us a teaser of your upcoming TED talk.

Definitely don’t want to reveal too much, but I would say that it will be, at least I hope, a talk about bridging between two different worlds and the lessons I’ve learned from my life. I guess to sum it up in one sentence I could say: you’ll hear from a culturally deaf-cochlear-implant wearing, hearing-world-living, 20-year-old-woman that has experienced discrimination. My whole life started from the documentary Sound and Fury that sparked a huge controversy between the deaf and the hearing worlds and continues to exist today (Academy Award nominated!) I can elaborate more if you’d like! (Writer’s note: We can’t wait to hear you elaborate on the 26th!)

This year’s TEDxGeorgetown theme is “changemakers.” How are you a changemaker?

I wouldn’t exactly call myself a changemaker, but I do think that I strive for it because I’ve worked really hard to be the bridge between myself and other people of different worlds, to build and then continue to build a bridge between the hearing and deaf worlds. I’ve come across hearing families who have decided to give their deaf child cochlear implants and teach them American Sign Language at the same time; I’ve come across deaf families who have allowed their children to get implants as a result of seeing my speech or seeing the movie – things like that. More to come!

What does it mean to you to be able to give a TED talk?

It means the world to me to be able to share my story with the Georgetown community that has embraced me. If I can inspire one person that would make all the difference to me. Hoya Saxa forever! TED is also a great organization, and I am so, so honored and privileged to be able to share my ideas with TEDxGeorgetown.

Heather, what is your spirit animal?

A monkey! Because I tend to swing from world to world, and they’re just straight up cuddly.


Name Jimmy Ramirez25959_526808980674384_29567694_n
School College
Year 2016
Major Government
Minor Justice and Peace Studies, Film and Media Studies
Hometown Antioch, CA
Activities Georgetown Blue and Gray Tour Guides, The Corp, The Lecture Fund

Without revealing too much, give us a teaser of your upcoming TED talk.

My talk is going to be about my story and the lessons I have learned. I really hope to drop the microphone (see below). Just kidding, it’s going to be very serious and awesome. (Writer’s note: Jimmy also asked us to include this gif to add further suspense to his impending speech and to demonstrate the proper manner in which to drop a microphone.)KanyeDropsMic-1

This year’s TEDxGeorgetown theme is “changemakers.” How are you a changemaker?

As a consultant for the California Homeless Youth Project, I helped launch the nation’s first ever state wide plan to end youth homelessness, which has gone on to inspire eight different pieces of legislation in the state of California.

What does it mean to you to be able to give a TED talk?

It’s a blessing, but also very nerve-wracking. I really want to teach the audience something awesome and informative.

If you were sorted into Hogwarts right now, which house would you be in and why?

Gryffindor, because Hermione Granger. Enough said.