The parking lot: full. The walkways: crowded. The seats: taken. Overall, the Pacific Lutheran University Wang Center Symposium “Legacies of the Shoah” was a success, captivating audiences of all ages who filled the rooms of speakers, eager to listen and learn from them.
One speaker, Dorothy Roberts, attracted a large audience of students and adults. Students from a variety of classes attended, including some from Environmental Science 350, student Taylor Christensen explained.
Roberts spoke on racism and focused on the topics of lynching, sterilization laws, policies and government medical experimentation.
“Race and torture have often been intertwined in the history of the United States,” Roberts said.
Roberts used visual and gruesome language to paint pictures for the audience of some of the horrific acts of racism in the United States towards African Americans.
Roberts said African Americans were often referred to as an “animal like race” during slavery times and sheriffs were often in the crowd when lynching of African Americans occurred. Police officers also assaulted African Americans in police stations, Roberts explained.
“I thought Dr. Roberts talk was really insightful,” Princess Reese, a student in attendance, said. “We often take for granted that race is socially constructed and not a biological marker that determines anything.”
Roberts was just one of nine speakers at the event. Each speaker focused on a different topic all relating to unjust and social issues connected to the Shoah.
There will be a second event, “PLU’s annual Powell-Heller Holocaust Education Conference” on March 12-14, 2014. The event will continue with the themes of the Shoah and have another distinguished group of speakers.