Cahill hosts conversation on domestic violence

Juliann Guerra, Crier Staff

As March comes to a close so does Women’s History Month.  Saint Anselm College hosted some events to showcase and empower women.  These events included a brunch, a panel, a high tea and a series of events called “Cupcakes and Conversation with the Community,” which had three separate sections during the month of March.

On March 22, the conversation featured Mariah Cahill, the YWCA Program Director of Victims of Sexual and Domestic Violence. The group of people who attended all arranged their chairs to sit in a circle and the conversation covered everything from personal definitions of consent and assault to how to show support to how the media portrays men and women and why it matters when it comes to this type of violence.

The audience noted that Mariah Cahill and the facilitators were able to make such a lofty topic seem like a casual, judgment-free conversation.

Katherine Carey, a junior, was the one who started Cupcakes and Conversations with the college community.

“I came up with the idea for Cupcakes and Conversation with the Community, because I’m a strong believer in the power of conversation,”  Carey said.  “I think sitting down and having conversations about important topics is one of the first steps in being an activist.”

Carey works in the Meelia Center, and one day she realized that if there was going to be more social justice awareness on campus, she was not going to be able to sit back and just wish for it to happen.

She wanted something that allowed students to engage not only with one another but also with professors and people in the community who work for whatever topic the conversation is about.  So with the help of Nicole Lora from the Meelia Center and Rebecca Senna from the Multicultural Center, Cupcakes and Conversation with the Community was born.

“Getting the Multicultural Center involved just seemed to make sense, because they do amazing work around social justice and diversity while also encouraging students to take action in creating a welcoming and safe environment for all people,” Carey explained.

Lora and Senna are in charge of training student leaders to facilitate each Cupcakes and Conversation with the Community event.  “Nickie and Becca have put so much time, effort, and thought into the trainings. They train a group of students who are interested in facilitating the dialogues and then attend each conversation and debrief with the student leaders after their discussion so that the students can grow and strengthen their faction skills.”

Carey is also very impressed and inspired by the students who have become facilitators, whose job is to find an expert in the field of whatever the conversation may be and come up with questions to keep the conversation going.

“The group of students we have facilitating these conversations have motivated me with their passion for justice and their desire to make our community a better place for all people,” said Carey.

“They are truly committed to making changes in society and helping other people feel valued. I am blown away with their drive and genuine care for the community at large. They have put so much time and effort into their work as facilitators and are constantly trying to improve their own skills and knowledge around topics of social justice.”

“One way I want to leave my mark is by making sure that we start, continue, and expand these conversations around social justice,” Carey said.