Hilltop on the Hill 2013

Eight students are in Washington, D.C., in October 2013 as part of SMU’s Hilltop on the Hill program. The students will visit media and government sites, and meet with political communicators, journalists and SMU alumni. The trip is led by Rita Kirk, professor of communication studies in Meadows School of the Arts and director of the Maguire Center for Ethics & Public Responsibility; Sandra Duhé, chair of communication studies, associate professor and director of the Meadows School’s public relations program; and Candy Crespo, assistant director of the Maguire Center for Ethics & Public Responsibility. Endowed by the Bauer Foundation, the Hilltop on the Hill program also takes students studying political communication to political party conventions, the presidential Inauguration and the G8 Economic Summit.

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‘Too Long Have Others Spoken for Us’

AlexAn update from Alexandra, a junior majoring in psychology and English with a minor in women’s and gender studies in Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences:

What do Susan B. Anthony, Randy Shilts, and Ida B. Wells have in common, besides lives devoted to advocating for minority groups? I answered that question today while exploring a display titled “Too Long Have Others Spoken For Us” in the Newseum, a museum of news and journalism in the heart of Washington, D.C. There, I learned that all three activists created their own publications in order to more effectively advocate for social issues.

A photo of the exhibit honoring Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony’s contributions to women’s suffrage, which ultimately led to the passage of the 19th Amendment.

A photo of the exhibit honoring Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony’s contributions to women’s suffrage, which ultimately led to the passage of the 19th Amendment.

Susan B. Anthony, along with Elizabeth Cady Stanton, played a large role in the suffrage movement, fighting for women’s right to vote. The two women started their own newspaper in New York in 1868. It was called, fittingly enough, The Revolution. Although their newspaper eventually folded, it was an important tool for spreading information and mobilizing supporters in the fight for women’s suffrage.

Ida B. Wells fought against racial hatred and discrimination. After three of her friends were lynched in 1892, she took a stand by publishing her own newspaper and a book about the horrors of lynching in the South. Depsite her efforts, neither Congress nor the president passed an anti-lynching law until well after her death. Still, her tireless hard work paid off by informing the public of the racial atrocities and affected public opinion about how truly insidious racial discrimination could be.

Randy Shilts was a little different from Wells, Anthony, and Stanton. Although he certainly was an activist for the homosexual community, he described himself as first and foremost a journalist. His article on HIV and the government’s unsuccessful attempts to treat and prevent it led to a bestseller on the topic that brought the issue of HIV into the public arena.

According to the exhibit, “anyone who has had a story to tell usually has found a way to tell it.” Anthony, Wells, and Shilts are perfect examples of how communication and the way we tell our stories can change lives. Their stories are inspiring. Someday, I hope I can influence others by telling a story that matters.

A piece of the Twin Towers post-9/11. On the wall behind it, the Newseum has a display of notes about people's experiences on 9/11. It was a very moving display.

A piece of the Twin Towers post-9/11. On the wall behind it, the Newseum has a display of notes about people’s experiences on 9/11. It was a very moving display.

On the sixth floor of the Newseum, with a view of the Capitol.

On the sixth floor of the Newseum, with a view of the Capitol.

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