Dr. Mary Trujillo
Dept. of Communication Arts
North Park University
What is your position on campus?
Professor of Intercultural Communication and Conflict Transformation, since 2003, in the Department of Communication Arts
Why is Black History Month important?
Black History Month is an opportunity for African Americans (and others) to reflect on the contributions of African Americans. It's a time for celebration and remembering significant events and honoring people—famous and unknown. We need to know that we are important people.
Who is someone famous in history that has inspired you personally? Why?
I've had lots of not-so famous people; but mainly black women, who've been my teachers. People like my mother, my second grade teacher, Mrs. Murray, my daughters, my Aunt Fannie, Ida B. Wells, Mother Theresa, Audre Lorde, Bell Hooks, Angela Davis, and Aretha Franklin have inspired me.
How have you influenced on the Black community at North Park?
I think that others can probably answer this more accurately than I can. I can tell you what I have tried to do. Others will have to judge the success of those efforts.
I've tried to be a role model for black students, to encourage students to use their minds and their intellectual faculties. I’ve looked for ways to incorporate diverse voices in course content and course format. I've tried to be an advocate for students and for issues that affect African Americans and other oppressed people. I've tried to connect justice and peace issues, like ending violence in Chicago to academic processes. I’ve tried to challenge my colleagues and the NPU administration to be more sensitive to and cognizant of issues that affect black students—like classroom environment, retention issues, course offerings, and supported organizing efforts for black faculty and staff.
(Interviewed by Deima Thompson)