Global Citizenship in the News to focus on Twin Cities

Next Thursday, Nov. 19, the final installment of this semester’s “Global Citizenship in the News” series will conclude with a discussion on the local transit system and the ways in which tensions within this system reflect on the American obsession with protecting their personal spaces. Global Citizenship in the News is a series from the Institute for Global Citizenship (IGC) focused on exploring current global issues and what it means to be a good global citizen.

“So this was my idea, and it came to me through the internship that I’ve been working with, [where I’m working] with a political figure in the Twin Cities,” said William Theriac ’16, a student Programming and Outreach Specialist with the IGC. “Something that I do through that role is I copy and paste all of the relevant news from 18 local news publications, put them in a word document and send them out. So as I’ve been scanning all of these website pages…I’ve been seeing again and again op eds and articles talking about the enormous amount of conflict that is going on in these communities over the extension over the Gateway Corridor.”

The Gateway Corridor is a proposal that would extend a 12-mile transit line from Union Depot to Woodbury. It has met with resistance from the communities through which the transitway would pass.

“Originally the idea was to look at more at the racial and social dynamics of it,” Theriac said of the proposed Corridor.

Over time, however, he “refocused it to more generally talk about the Twin Cities as a microcosm of America’s problem as a whole with dealing with space. We’re very jealous of our space, of controlling the communities that we live in.”

The panelists who will appear for the discussion next Thursday, Nov. 19, are: Lyssa Leitner, Project Manager for the Gateway Corridor Project; Bill Lindeke, a PhD recipient in geography from the University of Minnesota and the writer of the MinnPost column “Cityscape”; and Macalester student Jessie Miller ’16, an anthropology major currently working on an ethnographic study concerning the race and gender on Metro Transit. Theriac stressed that the panel will have the feel of a dialogue, with attendees being able to ask questions of the panelists.

“I think what we’re going to be focusing on is how these issues in the Twin Cities kind of highlight the general struggle that Americans have, where we’re super jealous between one community to another … how [Americans are] jealous of that space and they don’t want other people to have as easy access to it or they don’t want those boundaries to be punctured in that way through public transit,” Theriac said.

While the topic of the event is very different from the other Global Citizenship in the News discussions that have taken place, Theriac believes that thematically the events are all connected. The most recent event took place on Oct. 29 and was a collaboration between the IGC and Public Radio International. The event showcased artwork and personal reflections from community members and Macalester students and professors, and focused on the recent refugee crisis and the panelists’ own experiences with being refugees.

“I would say that each Global Citizenship in the News, on the surface and in details are pretty vastly different,” Theriac said. “But what we’re trying to do is unite the theme of global citizenship. So what does it mean to be an active global citizen? In what ways are your citizenship challenged by the various issues that are coming up?”

Each of the separate events, he explained, has striven to answer or examine these questions through their unique topics.

The Global Citizenship in the News focusing on transportation will take place in Davis Court from 11:45 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. and will be open for students and community members to attend. Pizza will be served beginning at 11:30 a.m.