Diana Nevárez Ramirez wants to share stories of immigrants like herself.
The senior at McKendree University in Lebanon is a native of Ciudad Juárez, México. She moved to the United States when she was 6. She’s lived in Illinois, Colorado and Texas.
Ramirez, 21, recently was recognized with a 2017 Humanitarian Award from McKendree. Political science professor Ann Collins and 2008 alumni Courtney Logan also received humanitarian awards. The university presents the annual awards to those who demonstrate the principles, ideals and philosophy of nonviolent social change advocated by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., according to a news release.
“It came very surprising to me that I got the award,” said Ramirez, who was recognized for her efforts as president of the university’s chapter of Define American.
Ramirez said she has had a lot of support since launching the university’s chapter of the national organization in the fall. “I felt like whatever I have accomplished has not been my doing alone,” she said.
The award, she said, will motivate her to do more. “I feel like I have not done enough,” Ramirez said.
The chapter, which has 10 student members and three faculty advisers, hopes to spread stories of immigrants through McKendree’s student newspaper as well as the chapter’s Facebook page they are in the process of developing.
“It’s an effort to show that on our campus the topic of immigration is not irrelevant,” she said. “This is a country of immigrants; it’s made up of immigrants. It’s important for people to recognize that and be accepting of that.”
Ramirez hopes to increase the positive side of immigration. “The whole point of this chapter is to change the media or culture surrounding immigration,” she said. “It wasn’t always a positive one especially after this election.”
Ramirez is also a Change Ambassador on campus and a member of the university’s first women’s wrestling team. “It was the only women’s wrestling program offered at the time in the state of Illinois,” she said.
After graduating from McKendree in May, Ramirez plans to attend graduate school and then pursue a career in public service.
It’s an effort to show that on our campus the topic of immigration is not irrelevant. This is a country of immigrants; it’s made up of immigrants. It’s important for people to recognize that and be accepting of that.
Diana Nevárez Ramirez, senior at McKendree University
The Humanitarian Awards were presented Jan. 26 in Bothwell Chapel on campus at the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Celebration Service.
Collins, of O’Fallon, has written two books about 20th century race riots in America. She has taught at McKendree since 2007. Her classes focus not only on theories but also current events to help students understand the relevance of politics and government.
Logan, who graduated from McKendree University in 2008, is a trial attorney and currently serves as city manager of East St. Louis. In 2015, he was named to the St. Louis Business Journal’s “30 Under 30” and in 2016 to The Black Lawyer’s “Top 40 Under 40.” He also wrote a book titled “Shaped by Fire.”
SWIC offers Soulful Sunday Soiree
In honor of Black History Month, Southwestern Illinois College is having an afternoon of live music and food at its Soulful Sunday Soiree from 3-6 p.m. Feb. 12 at the Schmidt Art Center on the SWIC Belleville Campus, 2500 Carlyle Ave.
The event will feature live entertainment provided by Press Play, a full dinner buffet and dessert demonstrations. Tickets are $25 per person and can be purchased through the SWIC College Activities department.
For more information or to purchase tickets, call 618-235-2700, ext. 5205.
Free diabetes program at SIUE
The Southern Illinois University Edwardsville School of Pharmacy is having a free diabetes education program from 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Feb. 11 at Morris University Center. The event is in collaboration with Alton Memorial Hospital, BJC HealthCare and the American Diabetes Association.
The program provides information about Type-1 and Type-2 diabetes and will feature speaker sessions, a vendor fair, free screenings and a free lunch.
Session topics include:
▪ Dietary supplements — is natural better?
▪ Healthy eating on the go
▪ Weight loss strategies — from medications to apps
▪ Diabetes treatment — new era of medications
Interested individuals are asked to register by Feb. 4. To register for the program or for more information, call 618-650-5164 or email email@example.com.