Category Archives: ‘Tine Talks

Q&A with Sam Docteur

Sam_Docteur

MAJOR: Sociology

PROJECTS:
-Jewish Vocational Services (JVS) // English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) Classroom Assistant
-BU Students of Caribbean Ancestry (SOCA) // Public Relations Chair and Member

ABOUT: I’m a Haitian-American who wants their voice and actions to be heard regarding issues that are happening to the underrepresented, racial and ethnic minorities in the world. I’m passionate about LGBTQ+ rights, immigration, incarceration, and civil rights issues that people of color, especially Black people, face today.


Q: You’re a part of JVS and SOCA, could you explain how you got involved and why these organizations interest you?

 Sam: Sure! So, I’ll start with JVS. I was in Paris [studying abroad] and I was looking for a legal internship because I want to be an attorney in the near future, and JVS showed up and I thought it sounded really interesting. I feel like the first step [to immigration law] is to start working with immigrants and refugees, so I decided to become an ESOL classroom assistant. I have a little experience teaching English because my parents are immigrants from Haiti. And being in Paris I also realized how hard it is to learn a different language in a different country that you’re new to, that shits hard, and I felt like I could relate to these people [ESOL students], so I interviewed in Paris and they basically gave me the job! I was an intern until COVID-19 when my internship stopped, so now I volunteer on Mondays. I call people from 12 pm to 5 pm and help with homework and interview practice. Same thing on Thursday, I just started last week, I’m in a Zoom classroom helping them with grammar. I joined SOCA freshman year spring semester. At first, I was scared because I’m not used to being around so many Black people because I went to a private white Catholic school from kindergarten to 12th grade in southern New Jersey. I didn’t feel in tune with people when I came to college. I joined SOCA hoping that I could spread awareness for West Indian and Caribbean culture and get to know my culture more, honestly.

 Q: How has activism influenced you and in what ways has it affected your future goals?

 Sam: Since becoming an activist, I’ve had more serious and difficult conversations with people, like family members. Before, I used to be quiet about my stances on most everything because being in the neighborhood that I am and being with the people I’m with for mostly my whole life made it difficult to fight for immigration and LGBTQ rights. It’s very difficult, but I realized that just speaking up made me more comfortable with who I am as a person and as an activist. It is hard to have difficult conversations with people you’ve been friends and family with for forever, but I think it’s really important as an activist to have it known that you are here to fight the system, discrimination, everything that’s happening in the world, especially America.

 Q: What role do you think student activists can play in terms of making change?

 Sam: Honestly, having their voice heard. Something that happened fall semester was when Ben Shapiro came to campus. Basically, Black BU and everyone against him was like we are not standing for this, and even though he ended up speaking on campus, even though we didn’t succeed in having him removed from campus, we succeeded in coming together as a community. Realizing that our voices should be heard and that you can’t just ignore us because we are here we are present and that we don’t stand for injustices, especially a person who is denying the racism and discrimination people of color, especially Black people, have faced for hundreds of years, is a real testament to what students can do on campus.

 Q:  What do you think it means to be an activist and how do you define it for yourself?

 Sam: I think being an activist means you fight for a social or political cause that you believe in and you try to take steps that will further better other people’s lives, wherever you are. I’m an activist by being in SOCA and being an ESOL classroom assistant because I want to help the transition from coming from a different country to coming to America be easier for people because I know how hard it was for my parents and I understand how hard it is to learn a different language, to come to a new place not knowing anyone, and to try to figure out your spot in life. I don’t think we should discriminate or be mean to these people who just want a better life and better opportunities than they had before. It’s wrong, honestly, that so many people are in disagreement about how people should have equal, basic human rights in America just for being from a different place.

 Q: How are you feeling about the upcoming election?

 Sam: The system has been broken since the beginning, we’ve known this, and people are surprised that this is happening with Trump against Biden, but I’m not. As a person of color, as a Black person, as a Black queer person you realize that this shit’s been happening since the beginning of time and that people are just now realizing that oh we’re fucked, but no, we’ve been fucked forever, now it’s effecting you and that’s the problem. Hopefully people realize that shit has to change. Keep speaking up because we know that speaking up helps in the long term, we get laws changed, shit happens, but right now the future of America is kind of dim. We’ve got to try and strive on.

Q&A with Bruna D’Amore Giampietro

MAJOR: Public Relations, minoring in Political Science and Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies

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PROJECTS:
Man Eater Radio Show // Creator & DJ
The Vagina Monologues // Co-Director
Yoni Ki Baat // Co-Director

ABOUT:
I am a student activist from Brazil who is passionate about intersectional feminism and gender equality. I strive to empower womxn and uplift marginalized voices through radio and fundraiser spoken-word performances. Through femme-focused projects, I aim to create safe spaces that highlight womxn while attempting to rebel against patriarchal ideologies.


Q: You’re a part of VAGMO+, could you explain what that is and how you got involved?

 Bruna: I got involved in the Vagina Monologues my sophomore year when one of last year’s directors, Ina Joseph, encouraged me to join. I got cast and then three years later I was chosen to direct with Christina Bissereth. Me and Christina co-directed the two performances this year (the Vagina Monologues and Yoni Ki Baat) and it was so wonderful and I’m so proud of it. VAGMO+ is an umbrella term encompassing two feminist productions, the Vagina Monologues and Yoni Ki Baat. The Vagina Monologues was a play written in the nineties by Eve Ensler. It was considered to be a radical piece of feminist literature at the time. But at the same time, since it was really in the nineties, it can be very, very outdated at points and problematic as well. We do acknowledge it’s great benefits but also that it is problematic. To make up for the lack of inclusivity and to add another dimension and another layer of perspectives, last year’s directors, Ina and Alina added a second performance, a sister performance, called Yoni Ki Baat or commonly known as YKB. This is a platform that attempts to create a space for women of color, queer women and non-binary folks to share their own experiences with intersectionality through storytelling. These performances were a bit like spoken word. This year, even though we didn’t have the opportunity to do the in-person performance, we came up with an alternative plan, the YKB podcasts, now available on Spotify. The best part about this whole community and about the performances themselves is that 100 percent of the proceeds go towards nonprofit organizations in the greater Boston community that support women in need. This year we partnered with Women’s Lunch Place, a nonprofit that supports women who are currently facing homelessness, and we were able to donate about $4,000 from fundraising. 

  Q: Can you tell me a little bit more about your feminist radio show and how it has added to your experience at BU?

 Bruna: I co-created Maneater, which is my radio show on WTBU in the fall semester of my sophomore year with Emily Roe. After we interned together freshman year in an alternative rock radio show on the WTBU called Brain Drain, we decided that we both wanted to create a radio show together because we’re both minoring in women’s studies and we saw that WTBU was oversaturated with Indie and alt-rock radio shows––and there is nothing wrong with that, but a lot of them primarily featured male artists. We saw a real lack of female representation, not only in WTBU but also lack of spotlighting of women artists in the music industry, so together we created what is now Maneater. Maneater became WTBU’s first and only feminist radio show that exclusively highlights women and centers itself around femme-based topics and current events like body positivity, sexuality, sexual empowerment, gender roles, ad stereotypes, politics and abortion. Maneater has also allowed me and the other DJs to dive deeper into the music industry and focus on women artists that don’t often get the highlights that they deserve. This is currently Maneater’s sixth semester on WTBU. I’m graduating this year so I will be leaving it, but I’m really, really proud that it will stay at BU as my legacy.

 Q: What was your favorite theme/topic that you have done on Maneater? 

 Bruna: My favorite theme is Black History Month. For the four episodes that compose February, we do it entirely dedicated to different aspects of the Black identity, such as Black love, Black female artists, and Black female rappers. We always like to come up with different things and then we have different discussions. This year, right before the pandemic broke out, we had a cool discussion about Black love, the portrayal of love in the media, why films are always whitewashed, and why content and media are whitewashed but also wealth related. 

 Q: What does inclusive feminism mean to you?

 Bruna: I love intersectional feminism, inclusive feminism, however you would want to call it. I am drawn towards intersectional feminism because I come from a family of predominantly women and a very strong line of women. And that whole narrative that women are meant to be submissive, that women are weak, that women are secondary to men, all these stereotypes that are perpetuated by patriarchal ideals, that are deeply ingrained in our society are honestly just fabricated bullshit that was made to create a hierarchy of genders. I think that it’s really important that we work towards flipping that script and advocating for gender equality, advocating for women’s rights, advocating for the protection of minority communities. And I think that only through that will we be able to flip the script and make women included and make minorities included in the greater dialogue. I think that work through student activism is really, really important because you’re starting from your classroom and then you can dive into the greater world.

 Q: What do you think it means to be an activist or an advocate?

 Bruna: I think that being an activist is very, very crucial. I always liked the phrase if you’re not angry, you’re not paying attention and if you’re not angry, you’re not creating change and you’re not fighting for things that are negative to then benefit people. So I think that being an activist is someone who actively strives to create change in their environment, not only, or not entirely, or not at all in their benefit, but for the greater good of others and to uplift marginalized voices who don’t often get the platform to talk about their experiences and don’t often get the rights and the recognition that they need.