‘Queen of the Sun: What Are Bees Telling Us?’ begs an important question

By Shane Soderland

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Associate Professor of English Liz Gray held a screening at the Marple Campus on Nov. 20 for “Queen of the Sun: What Are the Bees Telling Us?”

The film screening was inspired by Gray’s personal beekeeping and involvement with the college-wide reading program. “Queen of the Sun” features commentary from the writer of this year’s recommended reading material “Stuffed And Starved” by Raj Patel.

Directed by Taggart Siegel and released in 2010, the documentary film explores the harmonious codependence between man and nature, showcased through the effects mankind has on honeybee colonies.

According to the “Queen of the Sun” website, the film has received considerable recognition, garnering several awards from film festivals, including the Nashville Film Festival, Indiememphis Film Festival, and Planet in Focus Film Festival.

Students gathered in the small auditorium to partake in honey sampling before the film began. The spread consisted of a bear-shaped bottle of natural honey, artificially flavored honey sticks, and plain crackers — as to not take away from the natural honey flavor.

“We have some pasteurized honey and some local honey here for you guys to sample, when you get a chance,” Gray explained to the 12 student attendees. “The pasteurized [honey] has been [modified] before being sold to the public, whereas the local honey is a natural product of the bees.”

The documentary explores the disappearance of honeybee colonies and examines several root causes leading to their exodus. The film touches on how industrialization, climate change, and potent pesticides have prompted bees to die out in drastic numbers.

The film is engaging from start to finish. With an 88-minute run time, it gives a perfect amount of attention to each subject matter examined by Siegel.

Siegel employs several techniques to make the material entertaining for the viewer. Although it’s not beholden to a definitive style, the film’s use of animated sequences and breathtaking imagery allow the content to leap off the screen.

Featuring a myriad of bee experts, “Queen of the Sun: What Are the Bees Telling Us?” never loses focus on the subject of colony collapse disorder.

In a spectacular execution, the film’s subjects lend sympathy to what many consider pests. A scene in which a hive is forcefully removed is sure to make audience members flinch at the sight and sympathize with the affected bees.

A notable character featured is eccentric French bee historian Yvon Archard. His quirky personality and passion for bees stands out as a great juxtaposition to drier commentators, like Gunther Hauk. Shirtless, Archard brushes his handlebar mustache in a display that encompasses his unorthodox affinity for his bees.

The audience was particularly fond of Archard’s presence whenever he was on screen and frequently chuckled at his antics.

Gray spoke on the cause of colony collapse disorder following the film’s conclusion.

“Neonicotinoids,” Gray said. “Since this movie’s release, we’ve come to find that chemicals such as these are significantly harmful to bee colonies and directly relate to colony collapse disorder.”

In how this film is able to relay its message to the audience, “Queen of the Sun: What Are the Bees Telling Us?” is fantastic and worth a watch for anyone who’s interested in the environment.

Contact Shane Soderland at communitarian@mail.dccc. edu

Around the world at DCCC

Photos by Valerie Battaglia

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Traditional German pretzels served by the Social Work Club at the Multicultural Festival on Marple Campus Nov. 15
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A posterboard presentation on Germany accompanies the Social Work Club’s pretzels.
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Students enjoy traditional Latin and Arabian music.
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Philadelphia’s Al-Bustan Seeds of Culture performs traditional Latin and Arabian music.
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Vegetarian Russian Potato Salad is served by the Political Science Club.

‘They Call me Q’: one woman’s journey to self-discovery

By Dominique Smack

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The multi-talented Qurrat Ann Kadwani brought her unique one-woman show to the DCCC stage on Oct. 30 in a charismatic performance that kept the audience intrigued, laughing, and craving more.

“They Call Me Q” is an off-Broadway stage play about how one woman seeks balance between her own cultural identity and acceptance in the American culture.

Kadwani, who wrote and produced the play, takes a comical and relatable approach to capturing her personal journey as a Hindu American woman growing up in Brooklyn, NY.

Through a multitude of characters, and sometimes prop changes, Kadwani swiftly transitions from her cultural stricken mother to her countless classmates in a unique way that allows us to get so engulfed in the performance that we tend to overlook the idea that there is only one woman adorning the stage.

The first south Asian female to have a solo play, Kadwani has won several awards, including Best Actress, Best Play, NYS Assemblyman and a plethora of others.

Her performances have occurred in more than 35 states, as well as colleges campuses worldwide.

Kadwani may look familiar to some, as she is not a stranger to television. She has starred in familiar shows, such as “Law and Order,” “The Blacklist,” and “Luke Cage.” Kadwani also teaches private lessons in Brooklyn for aspiring students in many areas of film and production.

The story of her name is the opening dialogue of “They Call me Q,” wherein Q explains as a child the struggles of having a Hindu name in America, while concealing her full name till the very end.

The play begins with Kadwani jumping right into dialogue, her boisterous tone revealing her story from birth and how their family migrated to America, ultimately residing in Bronx, NY, where she learns to call the “ghetto” home.

With her family being Islamic and originating from India, Kadwani incorporates the Islamic and Hindu language into the performance, attaching a detailed glossary for those who weren’t familiar with the terms.

Through the hour-long show, Kadwani touches on issues and experiences that have shaped her, providing new insight for anyone that may be experiencing the cultural pressure to stay true to oneself while adapting to the ways of the world.

Kadwani takes us on an extensively detailed dialogue from her grade school days where she suffered with not being accepted by her peers, to her strongly wanting to be included in the Latin American culture by adorning herself in gaudy gold jewelry, to the high school days where she’s taunted and ridiculed for being the “poor” Indian girl with the “red dot” on her head. All the while, she struggled to fight the desire for social acceptance.

Kadwani’s performance highlights some of the issues a college student could face today, including her first run-in with police while using a fake ID bar hopping, and one of her best friends committing suicide shortly after what seemed to be the time of their lives.

Woven throughout the performance are important life lessons. Most notably is the scene when Q visits her cousin in India in her adult life. Her cousin says to her, “You can start over if you want. People will notice and embrace.”

In this scene, Kadwani is assuring her audience that everyone can start over and transform.

This lesson was particularly valuable to me, being a college student and identifying with the ability to shift into a different life at any moment.

In short, Kadwani finds a way to make us feel her story, live it through her in a sense.

We laugh as she takes us on her highs, and we fall silent with empathy as she shares her lows.

Toward the end of her performance, Kadwani lures the audience back to her name, pronouncing her full name in a confident, proud tone as lights dim, and the audience celebrates this amazing performance.

Contact Dominique Smack at communitarian@mail.dccc.edu

Free ‘expungement clinic’ offers individuals a second chance

By Dean Galiffa 

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Paralegal studies student Brittany Murphy (left) and Staff Attorney at Legal Aid of Southeastern Pennsylvania Erica Briant (right) discuss an individual’s case. Photo by Dean Galiffa
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Keeley Mitchell, director of Paralegal Studies, waits to sign in registered individuals. Photo by Dean Galiffa
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Staff Attorney at Legal Aid of Southeastern Pennsylvania Guy Marinari (left) and paralegal studies student Nancy Stock (right) discuss an individual’s case. Photo by Dean Galiffa

Paralegal students, under the supervision of attorneys from the Legal Aid of Southeastern Pennsylvania, assisted students and community members Sept. 23 to determine if they are eligible to have certain prior arrests or convictions expunged or sealed from their record.

Held on Marple Campus, the free “expungement clinic” was organized by Keeley Mitchell, director of Paralegal Studies. Keeley said that registration for the clinic involved the individual providing key information for viewing their criminal record.

Expungement refers to the removal of certain offenses from a person’s record. For an offense to be sealed, the court records are destroyed that would otherwise be accessible as public record.

“Each individual is assigned a paralegal student,” Keeley said. “After they’re signed in, they meet with the student and go over their record. The students were assigned nine clients each.”

Mary Taylor, a second-year paralegal studies student, said classmates who were previously involved in the clinic recommended she apply.

“They said it had been a good experience,” Taylor said. “[The applicants] were narrowed down to 10 people.”

Brittany Murphy, a paralegal studies student in her last year, said that only seven of the 10 students were selected for the clinic. Murphy said that she applied during the first week of classes.

The application process involved students meeting a certain GPA requirement and submitting an essay.

After registration, the paralegal students were given information on the individuals’ criminal records.

“[The process] is not just today,” said Lisa Laffend, a paralegal studies student in her second semester. “We spent all week working on these cases.”

Keeley said that the paralegal students will inform the individual of what offenses can and cannot be expunged or sealed.

Keeley explained that paralegal students cannot give legal advice on their own, so the attorneys from the Legal Aid approve and make the recommendations for how to proceed.

“They normally take the intake and all information to the attorney and confirm what the next step is,” Keeley said. “Then, the attorney gives their blessing.”

Despite the attorney having the final say, Keeley explained that stuents still benefit from this eperience.

“It’s a win-win,” Keeley said. “They’re getting experience that they can put on their resume. Many of them have actually landed jobs. Legal Aid has pulled some for internships.”

Erica Briant, a staff attorney at Legal Aid, said that she became involved with the clinic through Keeley.

“This is my fourth expungement clinic,” Briant said. “The opportunity to work with students is wonderful because we are reaching up to 70 folks today. There’s no way that I could do that by myself.”

Keeley further explained that if individuals are able to have their record expunged and fit the income requirements, then Legal Aid will take them on as a client. Otherwise, they are told what the next step is.

“If they can’t get expunged, then they’re explained whether they have to do a pardon.” Keeley said. “In some cases, like with a juvenile record, they’ll try to seal them.”

A pardon involves a governor or president using her executive power to remove any remaining penalties or punishments of an individual’s convicted crime. This prevents any new prosecution for the crime.

This is the sixth expungement clinic held on the Marple Campus. There has been one during each fall and spring semester since spring 2015. In addition to the Marple Campus clinic, the first clinic at the Exton Campus will be held next semester.

Contact Dean Galiffa at communitarian@mail.dccc.edu

Shames bids adieu to DCCC after 35 years

By Andrew Henry

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Reading Professor Dianne Shames is a teacher at heart. She used to teach children around the neighborhood for an hour a day before she was an official educator. She charged the same rate that she would to babysit.

Shames has been a member of the DCCC community for nearly 35 years. Deciding to retire after 44 years of teaching was a difficult decision for her, she wrote in a recent letter to faculty. During her tenure at DCCC, Shames received the 2003 Christian Lindback Award for Excellence in Teaching, helped to create the textbook fund, started several scholarships, was a graduation commencement speaker on two occasions, coordinated the Reading Department for many years, and helped to create the Developmental Learning Summit with Professor Dotty Russo, now retired.

“Dianne has been such an inspiration to her students as well as faculty and staff at the College,” said Dr. Grant Snyder, vice provost for Student and Instructional Support Services.

“She has touched the lives of so many individuals. I also remember fondly her efforts, particularly in the early years, with Achieving the Dream initiative.”

Shames also served on the first committees for Student Mentoring and Black Student Retention.

“Dianne was instrumental in helping me to become involved at DCCC,” said Dr. Lisa Barnes, Professor of Reading. “Sharing an office with her in my first years of working at the College helped me to observe how dedicated she has been to her students, her colleagues, and the institution.”

Barnes also recalled when Shames offered a student who

was hitchhiking in terrible weather a ride home. “This demonstrated the generosity that she

routinely offers to others,” Barnes added.

Over the years, Shames hosted faculty in-service workshops at her own home, coordinated the Reading and Writing Department for 12 years, taught in the ACT 101 summer program, volunteered for Senior Week, lectured about DCCC to organizations, such as The Optimist Club,

and served as Graduation Marshall.

“DCCC has been my home since 1984, and I leave with only the best regard for the institution,” faculty, staff and students,” Shames wrote. “I know that my story is not over yet, but I want to say thank you for being a part of my ‘first half.’ I will miss my colleagues, who are also, my friends.”