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February 14, 2002 - Image 7

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 2002-02-14

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k .
G

-LOCAL/STATE

The Michigan Daily - Thursday, February 14, 2002 - 7A

Group addresses student
multicultural concerns

By Karen Schwartz
Daily Staff Reporter

LSA sophomore Steve Michejda
has been checking off two boxes
under the ethnic identification section
on census forms for as long as he can
remember.
"I never check off the 'other' box
because it doesn't define what is
'other.' I check off two boxes because
I feel I acknowledge both sides that
way," he said. "I identify with my'
mom's side and my dad's side."
Michejda is part of the student
group Mixed Initiative that addresses
issues facing multi-racial, cross-cul-
tural and trans-racially adopted stu-
dents.
Engineering sophomore Evan Lowe
said discussion often focuses on
acceptance and identification.
"We talk about the problem of not
being accepted by one race or culture,
being in between and how it's tough
to feel accepted by any given group
- blacks, whites, Asians, whatever
- because we all have mixed back-
grounds," Lowe said.
He said the group addresses how
the perception of mixed individuals
has changed over time, how it is por-
trayed in the media, and what sorts of
decisions mixed students make as far
as who they choose as friends, who
they identify with and how they deal
with the knowledge that they have dif-

ferent backgrounds.
"A lot of times people are sur-
prised ... that you don't choose one or
the other, especially based on how
you look," he said.
Kineseology junior Teana Adams
grew up in an environment where
being mixed was not out of the ordi-
nary. Adams said she thinks accept-
ance is largely based on an
individual's environment and cultural
setting.
"I grew up on an army base and
there were lots of mixed people there,
interracial people everywhere so it's
not a big deal. There I've been accept-
ed as mixed," Adams said. "After I
moved from the army areas Iwas
more forced to look at how I identify
with regard to my peers."
For LSA sophomore Michael
Sanders, people's reactions to finding
out he is mixed vary from surprise to
anger to appreciation, especially if
they already associate him with one
identity.
"If they've already made a percep-
tion of who you are it's harder for
them, but if they know from the start
it's usually OK," he said.
The idea that some mixed students
felt the need to identify with both
sides surprised LSA sophomore
Rachel Spoelhof's friend when she
found out Spoelhof was mixed.'
"It's hard for people to understand
that some people are proud to be both

and identify as just one," Spoelhof
said. "Not all mixed people are con-
fused, wandering aimlessly through
life, trying to fit in."
LSA senior Hugh Briggs said
despite the fact that younger mixed
people have grasped the idea that they
can "be more than one" he feels that
there is strong social pressure for
mixed people to choose an ethnic
identity to work in society.
"A lot of what you do is character-
ized by how you look. People look at
you and start making assumptions,"
he said. "When they use race it's this
homogeneous idea but when it comes
to mixed people like us where you
can't put us in those boxes, they try to
force you into one or another."
Greg Garza, a Rackham student,
said he views Mixed Initiative as a
resource for students learning about
mixed identities and dealing with new
concepts related to those identities.
He added that he would have liked to
have known about such efforts when
he attended the University as an
undergraduate student.
"For the last four years I've either
focused on being Filipino or Mexican
at certain times," Garza said. "I think
it's important just to have the discus-
sion of what issues you are dealing
with ... and what is a biracial and bi-
ethnic identity ... and realizing there
are more people who have difficulty
checking a box on the census."
No cases
of measles
reported
last year
But disease remains
rampant in other areas of
the world
LANSING, Mich. (AP) - A state
health agency said there were no
reported cases of measles in Michi-
gan last year.
A measles-free year is an impor-
tant step toward the eradication of
the disease, still prevalent in other
parts of the world, said Joel
Blostein, an epidemiologist for the
state's Department of Community
Health.
"At one time, just about every kid
got it," Blostein told the Lansing
State Journal for an article pub-
lished yesterday.
"The measles virus isn't out there
on an ongoing basis in the U.S. any-
more, because we've been immuniz-
ing at a high level."
Nearly 1 million people world-
wide die from measles each year,
according to the World Health Orga-
nization.
In the United States, every state
requires children to have a shot that
immunizes them against measles,
mumps and rubella before entering
school, Blostein said.
Most children get their shots from
their family physician.
Last year, the Ingham County
Health Department gave 3,534 of
the immunizations, said Judy
Williams, disease control supervi-
sor.
"We're trying to keep all the chil-
dren up-to-date by the time they're 2
years old," she said.
Doctors and hospitals must report
cases of communicable diseases to

the state.
Final checks to see if any cases
were missed are expected to be com-
plete by April.
Before the vaccine was approved
in 1963, Michigan had an average of
45,000 reported measles cases a
year, Blostein said.
In the 10 years before the vaccine
was developed, 4 million cases were
reported nationwide each year with
an average of 450 deaths, he said.
Those numbers have dropped dra-
matically since then, except for a
brief resurgence in the late 1980s-
because parents weren't getting their
children vaccinated early enough,
Blostein said.
That led to a national recommen-
dation for parents to get two doses
of the vaccine, at 12-15 months and
again at age 4-6 before entering
school.
Nationally, there were 87 cases of
measles in 2000. Figures for 2001
are not yet available.

i

DAVID ROCHKIND/Daily
Father Tom Firestone marks the sign of the cross on LSA sophomore Amy
Lovrencio forehead at a service yesterday at St. Mary's Student Parish.
Ash Wednesday
mark beginning
of Lenten season

By Maria Sprow
Daily Staff Reporter
Catholics yesterday heralded the
start of Lent, the 40-day period
leading to Easter Sunday, the day
celebrating Jesus' resurrection.
"It's a time of reconciliation and
sacrifice to prepare us to celebrate
the death and resurrection of
Christ," said Anna Moreland, the
education director at St. Mary's
Student Parish on Thompson
Street.
Ash Wednesday marked the
beginning of this period, and stu-
dents commemorated it by going
to mass for special services. Like
Catholics did yesterday, Christians
will partake in a partial fast on
Fridays leading up to Easter -
they are not allowed to eat meat or
snack in between meals.
During the special services,
churchgoers' foreheads are
marked with the sign of the cross
in ashes. In the Catholic Church,
the sign is the same used during
baptism and is the sign of God's
ownership over his followers.
"The ashes are to remind us that
we come from ashes and we will
return to ashes, so they are a sign
of humility," Moreland said.
In Catholic and most Christian
faiths the Lent period, which hits
its peak on Good Friday and East-
er Sunday, represents the time
Jesus spent in the desert, where he
was forced to fast and resist
Satan's temptations.

Thomas parish on the corner of
Kingsley and North State streets,
who said she usually watches tele-
vision every day.
While many students and
Catholics are not always success-
ful at giving up their chosen item,
Ariesanti said she didn't think giv-
ing up TV would be impossible.
"I've done it before. I'll proba-
bly miss my shows, but that's
okay," she said. "I think I'm going
to start to read my Bible more
often."
For Catholics participating in
Lenten traditions, the period gives
them one more reason to devote
more time toward God and their
faith.
"I'm excited about how Lent is
starting," said Engineering grad-
uate student Danielle Merriam,
who said that instead of giving
something up, she is choosing to
set aside a time every night for
prayer. "I'm excited because as
humans, we often want to do
something that will get us closer
to God but we often let daily life
get it the way. Having Lent as a
season helps us to focus on
God."
Near Eastern studies Prof.
Gabriel Boccaccini said that, origi-
nally, only people who had been
baptized and had sinned against
the Church or left the Church and
wanted to be readmitted participat-
ed in Lent ceremonies.
"This is something that devel-
oped, it is not something that has a

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