The 2020 Hastings College Lecture Series Student Symposium (HCLS) on Oct. 14 was a day full of eight accomplished speakers presenting on the main themes of women’s suffrage and “Breaking Barriers: the 19th Amendment and Beyond.” As the lectures were all delivered over Zoom, HCLS had more freedom for scheduling when choosing out-of-state speakers.
“Expanding upon the theme of women’s suffrage…allowed us to invite speakers that did not just have to talk about women suffrage. Although we did have speakers talk about that, we could explore what it means to break down societal expectations through many different avenues,” said HCLS Co-chair Sam Burke.
The keynote speaker and founder of Code to Inspire (CTI), Fereshteh Forough, spoke about her personal struggles as a refugee in Afghanistan from Iran and the struggles of women in STEM fields. For Forough, the projects and positions made possible by CTI are representative of women’s rising social freedom and creativity.
HC’s own Women’s Wrestling Coach Cara Romeike spoke about her experiences as a wrestler and the history of women’s sports, and History Professor Catherine Biba delivered a presentation about the intersecting yet vastly different fights for voting rights for women and African Americans.
Nebraska Democratic Party Chair Jane Kleeb spoke about her experience as an activist and political figure, advocating for women’s place in politics. Kleeb’s experience in politics started as a way of self- recovery, and today she works to connect people closest to “the pain” of issues with resolutions.
Pastor Craig Paschal from Mancos United Methodist Church in Colorado spoke about political activism he became involved in after the church’s administrative assistant, Rosa Sabido, came under threat of deportation after a 32-year long fight for citizenship.
Performance artist Ayana Evans gave an abstract performance about the history of women’s and racial rights. Through “Operation Catsuit,” named after the bright yellow, tiger-striped jumpsuit she wears during performance works, Evans explores differences in how abstract performances can be interpreted regardless of what the intentions behind the project were.
Alicia Reisinger who started Wax Buffalo Pure Soy Candle Company in Lincoln and Ashley Kuhn and Maranda Adams, president and vice president of the Blair Freeman Group construction company in Omaha gave talks relating to entrepreneurship and business.