Category Archives: Equality

Calling All Users of Science


This Saturday there is going to be a series of marches and protests occurring in 358 cities in the United States and over 500 world wide. The March for Science is the first event of it’s kind. It is a call for support from all students, science-based careers and anyone who benefits from scientific advances (psst that’s everyone). It’s a nonpartisan even that is urging policy makers to look at evidence based practices and scientific data to influence their policies and ruling instead of money.

You can find a city near you here that is holding a march. The Fargo/Moorhead area is holding a large one that is expecting several thousand visitors. Here are some of the missions or goals that the March for Science hopes to achieve.

  • Evidence-based policy and regulations in the public interest. They wish for policy makers to make decisions not altered by other agendas.
  • Cutting-edge science education. They believe that a science background isn’t only for a select few, the entire  majority of the population should be able to interpret scientific literature.
  • Diversity and Inclusion in STEM. This comes into play with the previous mission, they wish to have an outreach in education.
  • Open, honest science and inclusive public outreach. Several policies that have been passed recently have banned or limited the exchange of scientific literature and dialogue. By restricting access to the newest information, the governmental body is harming it’s people.
  • Funding for scientific research and its applications. Under the proposed 2018 budget, all scientific bodies with federal funding will see a cut from 10% to 31%. They wish to change so that we are capable of producing more advancements.

In the few months that this has been planned, they have partnered with over 300 different scientific agencies and centers. Here is their page for the MN marches specifically.  They have several social media accounts; check them out on Facebook, Twitter,and Instagram.


Autism Awareness April 2017

There are approximately 3.5 million people living with autism in the United States, affecting about 1 in every 68 births. The rate in 2004 was roughly 1 in every 125 births, showing that the occurrence rate has doubled since then. As more and more American families are being affected, the nation has to decide how to best service these families and their needs.

Autism Awareness Month hopes to increase the 4 A’s and an I of Autism; Awareness, Action, Acceptance, Appreciation and Inclusion. One of the driving reasons for wanting these five things is to make them feel human and a part of society. This is important, because legislation that affects their lives is being written right now by people that don’t know much about this disorder. They don’t have the proper background to make informed decisions, which this month is trying to change.

The symptoms of autism usually become prominent in ages 2 to 6 years. The National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) has five behaviors that parents should watch for and use as indicators for further evaluation.

  • Does not babble or coo by 12 months
  • Does not gesture (point, wave, grasp) by 12 months
  • Does not say single words by 16 months
  • Does not say two-word phrases on his or her own by 24 months
  • Has any loss of any language or social skill at any age

Having even 1 or 2 of these symptoms is not a diagnosis. You need to bring your child to a panel of specialists that know more about the disorder and how to diagnose it. These are just behaviors that suggest you should do this.

There is for no for certain cause for autism at the moment. The main things that are thought to play apart in the development in autism are genetics, epigenetics (gene folding due to a shifting environment) or a possible comorbidity with other genetic diseases. It used to be thought that it developed after a traumatic event in their childhood, but that has been disproven. It is also currently thought that certain immunizations cause autism to develop, but numerous epidemiological studies have disproved that belief.

MSUM is having an Autism Documentary and Panel night on campus to help raise awareness. It will be in Langseth 104 at 7pm this Monday April 7th. They will be a film followed by a panel for any questions.

One way that you can show your support for this month is by wearing the unrecognizable puzzle ribbon. The Autism Society sells the ribbons here and the proceeds go towards research and aid. If someone approaches you, don’t turn them away. Take this moment to educate them. If you are unsure of something, say so instead of spreading false information.

Autism Society

Autism Research Institute

World Health Organization

Autism Speaks

Celebration of Nations and the Woodlands and High Plains Powwow Tomorrow, April 1st 2017


“A traditional powwow is a time to celebrate and renew friendships. In addition, this powwow celebrates the educational experiences of American Indian higher education and the sharing of tribal cultures in the FM area.”

This year is the 28th annual Woodlands and High Plains Powwow. The Powwow is held at Nemzek from 1 to 9 tomorrow. The powwow will have a variety of dancing and drum songs from the area tribes. The community is encouraged to come and enjoy the cultural display and learn. In addition to the music and dancing there will be a hand games tournament and many vendors selling wares from their tribes.

The Celebration of Nations will also be held in the CMU tomorrow. Students and community members from cultures around the world will be here to get together. The celebration is kicked off with a parade of flags. Following that, students will have cooked some of their meals from home that are available to sample with dancing and music being played at this time. The celebration will end after a fashion show highlighting the dress and attire from around the world.

Celebration of Nations

Woodland and High Prairie Powwow


World Down Syndrome Awareness Day March 21st 2017

Today was chosen as a symbolic day to represent the Down Syndrome. Taking place on the 21st day of the 3rd month, it represents the triplication of the 21st chromosome. Today was meant as a day for people all around the world to learn about this connecting disorder. Down syndrome has been present in all cultures and societies around the world for millennia.

The goal of having this awareness day every year is to bring about a change be fully and equally included in society for everyone that is affected by Down Syndrome. Not all governmental bodies recognize the needs or help that those affected may need. Several key areas that people around the world are trying to change through advocacy are “health, education, work and employment, standard and choice of living accommodation, participation in political, public and cultural life and access to justice and recognition before the law.”

It is estimation of incidence is about 1 in every 700 births world wide. Approximately 6,000 babies are born that are affected by this chromosome disorder in the United States. About a quarter of a million families in the US that are affected by Down Syndrome.

The CDC and WHO have recognized that are several illnesses or health problems that are more likely to occur in someone that has Down Syndrome.

  • Hearing loss (up to 75% of people with Down syndrome may be affected)
  • Obstructive sleep apnea, which is a condition where the person’s breathing temporarily stops while asleep (between 50 -75%)
  • Ear infections (between 50 -70%)
  • Eye diseases (up to 60%), like cataracts and eye issues requiring glasses
  • Heart defects present at birth (50%)

There are several tests that are available to detect if a child has Down syndrome before birth and directly after birth. While there is no treatment available, there are certain therapies and groups that work towards helping affected people move to their full intellectual and physical capabilities. (2).jpg

Click to access WDSD%202017%20Campaign%20Toolkit.pdf



March is Women’s History Month- 2017!!


The roots of Women’s History Month can be traced to the first known Women’s History Week that was celebrated in 1978 in Sonoma County, California. From then the movement slowly spread to other cities and gained support from President Carter declaring March 8th National Women’s History Week. March had been declared Women’s History Month in 14 states by 1986. The National Women’s History Project and other lobbying groups used this as evidence when discussing with Congress to declare March as Women’s History Month nationwide. Congress made the declaration in 1987. Since then the movement has grown each year.

There are events nationwide that last all month long to celebrate Women! Here are a few in the area.

In the Fargo/Moorhead community there are also many resources for women. Check out the list below to see if any of them interest you!

  • Junior League of Women – a nonprofit group of women dedicated to bettering the lives of women and children in the F/M area.
  • Dress for Success Red River Valley – a national nonprofit that helps women with employment interview attire, resume-writing, and a few other career services.
  • North Dakota Women’s Network – a coalition of ND women aimed at bettering “the lives of women through communication, legislation and increased public activism.
    • Join them this Friday at Gastropub at 5:30 for the March Feminist First Friday.
    • On March 9th from 9:00am – 5:00pm join the movement at the ND state capitol to lobby for policies that will better the lives of families and women.
  • Girl Develop if Fargo – A chance for female software developers to network and attend seminars relating to the field.
  • Fargo-Moorhead Women’s Business Exchange – A networking opportunity for female business leaders and owners.
  • Women’s Impact – a nonprofit group that provides a variety of resources to women to empower them or help them get involved in their community.
  • Women Connect – a monthly meetup organized by the Fargo-Moorhead-West Fargo Chamber of Commerce “aimed at connecting, inspiring and growing a community for women in business.”
    • Attend the monthly meeting on Thursday, March 26th from 3:30-5:00 at the Avalon Events Center West 2525 9th Ave. SW, Fargo.
  • Women’s Business Center – a group that organizes leadership programs and seminars to help women advance in their careers and develop as leaders in business.
    • Attend the Fargo Leading Ladies Luncheon on March 22nd from 11:00-1:00 at the Fargo Holiday Inn.

Empowering women is a goal in the F/M area and these resources/events are a great way to do it! Get informed, get involved, and get EMPOWERED!!



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Observe World Day of Social Justice, February 20,2017

“Social justice is an underlying principle for peaceful and prosperous coexistence within and among nations. We uphold the principles of social justice when we promote gender equality or the rights of indigenous peoples and migrants. We advance social justice when we remove barriers that people face because of gender, age, race, ethnicity, religion, culture or disability.”

This is the definition that the United Nations has on their web page of social justice. Their vision, which should be shared by everyone, is a world with equal opportunity with equal outcome. This means that there would be no social barriers that would inhibit one’s desire for upward mobility. Their main idea for how this could be helped along is with economic development, as well as setting planetary boundaries.

Every year, they urge members to help the global community and themselves by working to eradicate the poverty in their respective nations while also providing full employment to those that desire it with good work. They believe, with much research to back them up, that if the basic human needs are met, that there are no “needs” such as food, water, shelter or health care that go unmet on a daily basis, true equality will be allowed to develop mostly on its own.

They also recognize that our respective economies cannot grow infinitely on a planet with finite resources. That’s why they propose that the jobs that are being created do not go towards material consumption, but instead towards making older jobs more green and trying to restore areas that natural resources have been lost.



Celebrate Black History Month 2017


Every year in school, kids are taught history in their social science classes. The Civil and World Wars take up a large chunk of that time as well as actions such as the Gold Rush and signing of the Declaration of Independence. What gets glossed over are the people that participated in and made changes in those eras. In particular, the accomplishments of minorities get covered by those made by their Caucasian counter parts. February is the time of year where we look at these accomplishments and acknowledge them. Black history month was created to make sure that these people of history are not lost.

William Edward Burghardt DuBois was one of the founders of NAACP. He was also the first African-American to graduate from Harvard University with a doctoral degree. He later became a university writer which helped him later become a social scientist that focused on black culture. While many activists at the time wanted to integrate black culture into the white society, DuBois was against that. He wanted black culture to stay independent through separatism. He was a strong figure head for the African-American community from 1910 until the 1960’s.

Benjamin Banneker is considered to be the first African-American scientist by many. He was born free from slavery in the 1800’s on a small farm in Maryland. He did attend school, but was mostly self taught. His abilities in analytical and mathematical skills were well known in the the local area. He helped survey the Federal Territory ( what is now Washington DC) and assisted in getting a precise measurement for the meter. He also corresponded with Thomas Jefferson on the issue of slavery. Little else is known about him because all his personal records were burned in a house fire on the day of his funeral.

Charles Drew is to be thanked by millions of people for saving their lives. In 1940 he discovered that plasma from blood could be separated and stored for later use. This discovery helped develop the national blood banks. These banks saved at least a few thousand lives during World War II. After the war, he went on to become a professor at Howard University in Washington DC.

Condoleezza Rice was the first African American women to hold the title of Secretary of State. She was a prodigy both in her studies and at playing piano. She went to college at the age of 15 with the intent of being a pianist. She eventually changed her mind and studied international politics. She taught at Stanford University before working at the Pentagon with the senior George Bush. She was appointed as the SOE in 2005 by Bill Clinton and held the position until the next election in 2009.

The Harlem Renaissance was a period in time where the African-American Community in Manhattan increased in concentration. It started in the 1920’s and lasted until the late 1930’s. New York was the perfect place for the revolution of Black culture to be reborn. New York was the publishing capital along with the being a port city. This allowed for any works created to be dispersed over a large area. The main focus of this era was for African-
Americans to embrace their individual characteristics and cultural background rather than looking for acceptance by the majority racial group.

MSUM’s Black Student Union has had several events planned for this month to help celebrate their cultural backgrounds. Several have already passed, but MSUM is having speaker Nick Gaines come and speak. He will be in the Glasrud Auditorium in Weld Hall on February 23rd from 7:30 to 9:30 pm.

National Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month 2017

The teenage years are when many people begin to date and have romantic relationships. It is a new experience that teens are exploring and learning more about. Parents may view their children’s relationships as cute and innocent and look back to their own teenage dating years or maybe cringe at the thought of their own children dating! Whatever the case, most teens do not share every detail of their relationships with their parents. How much knowledge do teens even have about relationships?  Do they know what a healthy and respectful relationship is or looks like? Many teens do not understand what is acceptable in a relationship and what is not. Last year, 1 in 10 teens reported that they were purposely hit or physically hurt by their partner. Dating violence doesn’t stop at being physical. It can be emotional and sexual violence, too. Violent actions in relationships have  been linked as causes of negative effects for the victims;  including  depression, anxiety, drug and alcohol use, decreased school performance, and a higher risk to become a victim of violence in college and adult relationships. Teen dating violence is very serious and needs to stop. That is why February has been declared National Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month. The goal is to reach out to teens and parents and provide resources to prevent and stop teen dating violence. The best way to promote healthy and respectful relationships is to educate!

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) offers great resources and tips in tackling teen dating violence. Ideally we want to avoid violence all together, but whether it is occurring or not, it is never too late to take steps to stop. Discussing with teens about what is acceptable and unacceptable in relationships is very important. This step is extremely beneficial when it is discussed before a relationship begins as the teens have this knowledge in their minds and know when a red flag appears. Other resources could include school-based programs or online seminars. To learn more about teen dating violence, take a look at the following resources:



Click to access teen-dating-violence-factsheet-a.pdf



Walk a Mile in Her Shoes November 20th


Join the Dragon Entertainment Group this Sunday in the Comstock Memorial Union at 3 pm. They will be hosting the Walk a Mile in Her Shoes event. This is a world wide event and MSUM is hosting a walk here on campus.  Those that participate will be given a pair of high heels and will attempt to walk a mile. This symbolic event is held to help raise awareness for rape, sexual assault and gender discrimination.

The first walk was held in 2001 with a few men and has since grown to tens of thousands of men walking the walk and talking the talk to help end gendered violence around the world. Any donations that are received at one of the events will be given to local rape and violence shelters and centers. Every year this event raises millions of dollars around the world to give to these shelters.

Here is what they are trying to end: Every 2 minutes, someone in America is raped. Every 8 minutes, that person is a child. Of the perpetrators, only .6% will receive any amount of jail time for their crime. The creator of Walk a Mile in Her Shoes, Frank Baird, hopes that by hosting these walks attention will be drawn to the problem and things will change.


Walk a Mile in Her Shoes homepage


Women’s Equality Day

womens equality day

It has been 96 years since women won the right to vote! After 72 years of gaining support through many speeches, petitions, and newspapers, the 19th Amendment was created on August 26, 1920. This amendment allows women to vote and hold public office.

August 26 is now recognized as Women’s Equality Day. It is a day where we can look back at the efforts and successes that women have made over the years. The 19th Amendment was a giant step towards creating equality between men and women. Ideas and services provided by both genders working together have opened up several opportunities over the years. Including everyone in the voting process allows everyone to have a say in what they want to see in our country. What if women were not able to vote today? Can you imagine how different our country and government would be?

Although women are still a minority in public office, they are still making a difference and finding their voices. Hillary Clinton is the first woman to be nominated by a major political party in the presidential election. However, she is not the first woman to have ever run for president. Many women have run for president and that number has been slowly increasing over the years. Maybe someday it will be common to have women involved in those final stages of the presidential election, or even have a female president.