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All events are sponsored by the James Carney Latin American Solidarity Archive (CLASA), co-sponsored by the Hispanic American Student Association (HASA) and Gesu Peace and Justice Committee. CLASA appreciates support from Detroit Mercy and the Jesuit Community at Detroit Mercy. Programs are free and open to the public, and are held at Detroit Mercy's McNichols Campus (at Livernois). For more information, call CLASA Director Gail Presbey, 313-993-1124 or

Every year CLASA sponsors an amazing amount of speakers to the McNicholos Campus to shed light on social justice issues. Please click on our past events to learn more. 


    2016-17 Events

    Jim Wallis - author of America's Original Sin

    Sunday, Sept. 11, 4 p.m.
    Gesu Church (one block North of the McNichols campus)

    Parking available on the University of Detroit Mercy Campus - McNichols Gate will be open.

    Hear Jim Wallis, author of the new book,  “America’s Original Sin: Racism, White Privilege, and the Bridge to a New America.” Sheila Clay and Marcia Black will respond.

    Co-sponsored by CLASA. Free and open to the public.

    David Lochbaum, Director of the Nuclear Safety Project at Union of Concerned Scientists, plus Paul Gunter, Director of Reactor Oversight, Beyond Nuclear, Takoma Park, MD and Ethyl Rivera, Campaign Coordinator, Alliance To Halt Fermi-3

    Topic: Fermi-1 at 50: We Almost Lost Detroit / Accidents Can Happen

    Wednesday, October 5,  7 p.m.

    Life Sciences Building, Room 113, McNichols Campus

    Speakers will discuss the 50-year history of the Fermi 1 nuclear reactor, and discuss safety issues and the need for emergency planning and radiological protection, especially in light of possible plans to build a Fermi 3 reactor.

    Joe Mulligan, S.J., will share his reflections on the life of Fernando Cardenal, S.J., in the context of presenting: CHRISTIANS IN THE NICARAGUAN REVOLUTION

    Friday, October 7, 10 a.m.

    Lansing-Reilly Parlor, McNichols Campus

    The Nicaraguan revolution was different from previous ones in the sense that many Christians participated in various ways. Fr. Mulligan will present, among other aspects, the significance of the Nicaraguan Peasant Mass (Misa Campesina) and the testimony of Fr. Fernando Cardenal, S.J. (1934-2016), who played an active role in the revolution and served as Minister of Education in the Sandinista Revolutionary Government

    Gabriela Torres Rodriguez, International Service for Peace (SIPAZ)

    Wednesday, Oct. 12, 5:30 - 6:30 pm.

    Commerce & Finance Building, Room 139, McNichols Campus |

    TOPIC: 'Fighting With the Heart of a Woman': the voices of women of  Chiapas Mexico

    Our speaker will share hightlights from a book that draws upon over 70 interviews of women of Chiapas on many topics including cooperative work, spaces for women’s expression, Zapatista women, marches and pilgrimages, muralists, and those who carry out gender-work in or from academia.

    At 6:40 p.m. in C&F 209, Torres will present the new film by SIPAZ "That the Heart is Not Divided." Discussion follows

    Julie Leininger Pycior, Professor of History, Manhattan College

    Two events on Friday, Oct. 21

    President's Dining Room, McNichols Campus

    TOPIC #1: 10 a.m.: Democratic Renewal and the Mutual Aid Legacy of U.S. Mexicans

    TOPIC #2: 11 a.m.: Bearing Witness: Dorothy Day, Thomas Merton, and the Question of Belief in Times of Crisis

    Come hear history professor Julie Leininger Pycior share insights from her current book on mutual aid societies of U.S. Mexicans, and her book in progress on the well-known Catholic writers Dorothy Day and Thomas Merton.

    Tom Florek, S.J. and Jorge Atilano, S.J.

    The Tale of Two Cities: Tancitaro Michoacan & Detroit Michigan: From Violence to Reconstruction of the Social Fabric

    Tuesday, Nov. 1 at 7 p.m. (English)  and Wednesday, Nov. 2 at 7 p.m. (Spanish)
    Location: Loranger Architecture Building, Exhibition Space (1st floor), McNichols Campus

    After more than 10 years of violence involving extortions, kidnapping and killings, two mountainous communities in central Mexico with the accompaniment of a Jesuit/lay collaborator team of professionals with a careful analysis of the reality, slowly working with communities to help reconstruct their social fabric.

    CLASA is a co-sponsor of this Detroit Mercy Catholic Studies presentation.

    Margaret Potts, Founder, People over Pipelines

    Thursday/Friday, Nov. 3 & 4, 2016

    TOPIC #1: Thurs. Nov. 3, 5:30 p.m., Briggs 13: Leadership: Reflections from Pine Ridge

    TOPIC #2: Thurs. Nov. 3, 6:45 p.m., Briggs 13, Pipeline Problems and Environmental Racism

    TOPIC #3: Friday, Nov. 4 at 11 a.m, Commerce and Finance (C&F) 209, The Pipeline at Standing Rock Reservation: Its Impact on the Environment. 

    Margaret Potts has worked with underserved populations in both Chicago and at the Pine Ridge Indian reservation. She started a grassroots organization called People Over Pipelines, which has drawn attention to the environmental problems associated with the proposed Dakota Access pipeline.

    Kim Redigan and Sr. Mary Ellen Howard, RSM (Sisters of Mercy)

    UCA Jesuit Martyr’s Memorial Event: The Detroit Water Crisis

    Thursday, Nov. 17, Time: 7 p.m.
    Location: Ballroom, 2nd Floor, Student Center, McNichols Campus

    The speakers will discuss the UCA Martyrs and what their witness has meant to them in the context of their work struggling for water rights here in Detroit.

    CLASA is a co-sponsor of this University Ministry event.

    Murilo Seabra, University of Brasilia & Philosophy Ph.D. Candidate at LaTrobe University, Melbourne, Australia

    Tuesday, December 6, 2016, 5:15 to 6:30 p.m.

    Briggs Building, Room 013, McNichols Campus

    TOPIC: Personal reflections on living in the Amazon among indigenous peoples and rubber tappers  

    Seabra spent a year living in the Amazon with indigenous people and rubber tappers. With his interest in philosophy beyond the boundaries of academia, he will share informal reflections about the valuable philosophical insights he received during this time.


    Past Events

    Winter 2016

    Watch this slideshow for highlights of our Winter 2016 events: Collaboration with Swords into Plowshares (Jan- March), Laila Hamdan and Joan Smith on volunteering in Guatemala (Feb. 29), Eric LeCompte on Pope Francis’ Year of Mercy, and he and Jorge Chinea on Puerto Rico’s debt crisis (March 30), Irma Ilsy Vásquez Cardenas and Alejandro Monzón on indigenous rights in Chiapas, Mexico (April 4), Jose Idiáquez S.J. on contemporary Nicaragua, and he and Richard Brackley on Dean Brackley (April 5), Marilyn Fischer on Jane Addams’ peace activism (April 20), and Ruth Needleman on Brazil (April 25).

    Fall 2015

    Watch this slideshow to see photos from 2015 CLASA events: Frida Berrigan on peace mothering (Feb. 4), Eben Levey on teachers in Oxaca (March 16), Jeff Stewart on immigrant minors from Central America (March 20), Ismael Moreno Coto S.J. (“Padre Melo”) on human rights in Honduras and on Dean Brackley (April 7), Don Voelker’s art of Latin America (Sept-Oct), Joe Mulligan on Pope Francis’s visits and Romero’s beatification (Sept. 30), Jesse Freeston on his film “Resistencia” and Honduran land struggles (Sept. 30), Jorge Parra and Paige Shell-Spurling on the rights of injured workers in Colombia (Oct. 1), Dana Frank on Honduras (Oct 22), Berta Esperanza Alvarez Martens on race and gender in Cuba (Nov. 3 and 4), Jason LaFay and Alan Kaufman on Cuban youth and chess players (Nov. 4).

    2014 Events

    Watch this slide show to see highlights from our 2014 CLASA events: Denise Griebler on the immigrant crisis and the film “Harvest of Empire” (Feb. 6), Matt Meyer on liberation in Africa (March 13), Danielle Poe on ending slavery in Brazil (March 27),  Gene Palumbo on Dean Brackley (April 8), Bishop Thomas Gumbleton on the film “Monsenor” on Archbishop Oscar Romero (April 10), Joe Mulligan S.J. on the Jesuit martyrs (Sept. 22), Laura Finley on preventing domestic violence (Oct. 2), Abdilatif Abdalla on Kenyan politics and culture (Oct. 28), Joe Tropea and Jerry Berrigan on the film “Hit and Stay” about the Catonsville 9 and the peace movement (Oct. 29), Anke Graness on ancient Egyptian philosophy (Nov. 25) and John Barrie on green technology for indigenous communities in Central America (Dec. 5).
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