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‘Dreamer’ and Reformed Neo-Nazi Will Speak During Critical Concerns 2017

Student smiling for the picture

Angy Paola Rivera left her native country of Colombia with her mother when she was four years old. She grew up in New York City and decided she would come out as an undocumented immigrant at the end of high school. She also created an online advice column called “Ask Angy.”

After President Barack Obama issued the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) in 2012, Rivera applied for a U visa, which is given to victims of crimes in the United States. She became the subject of a Peabody Award-winning documentary, No le Gigas a Nadie (Don’t Tell Anyone). In the film, which aired on PBS, Rivera shared her parallel journey of coming out of the shadows as undocumented and a survivor of sexual abuse.

Rivera’s story will be one of several programs presented at Georgian Court University the week of November 6–10 as part of Critical Concerns 2017, presented each year to reflect several issues addressed by the Institute of the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas. The five Critical Concerns issues are: earth, immigration, nonviolence, racism, and women. This year’s program is entitled Embracing Nonviolence in a Turbulent World. A screening of No le Gigas a Nadie will be held from 2:00 to 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday, November 7, in GCU’s Little Theatre. It will be followed by a question-and-answer session with Ms. Rivera. The program is sponsored by the M.A. in Criminal Justice and Human Rights program and the Department of Criminal Justice, Anthropology, and Sociology.

Critical Concerns 2017 Focuses on Nonviolence

The decision to focus on nonviolence this year, according to Evelyn Quinn, M.S.W., M.Ed., GCU vice president for mission integration, was made concurrent with a re-commitment by the Institute of the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas to focus on this devastating problem. “Violence,” Ms. Quinn says, “is not just a murder in New York City or a gang. It can be verbal abuse, the way we treat one another in the current arena of turbulent times. How much more turbulent can this world become? It’s overwhelming.”

Other Critical Concerns 2017 programs include:

  • Film screening and discussion of Escape From Room 18 with director Daniel Brea. John Daly, a Jewish man from northern Florida who was a high-ranking officer in a neo-Nazi skinhead organization before deciding to leave the group, asked the Jewish Agency for Israel to assist him in escaping from other skinheads who tried to kill him. Escape From Room 18 tells his story, recounting his difficult youth and his meeting with another former skinhead, Kevin Connell, in Prague where they visited former concentration camp sites in Terezin and Auschwitz. The screening, which will be held from 6:00 to 7:30 p.m. on Monday, November 6, in the GCU Little Theatre, is sponsored by Johann Vento, Ph.D., professor of theology/religious studies, and the Department of Religious Studies, Theology, and Philosophy.
  • Discussion by Kate Hennessy, granddaughter of social activist Dorothy Day, of her new book, Dorothy Day: The World Will Be Saved by Beauty (Scribner, January 2017). The book provides an intimate portrait of a woman who fought for the poorest of the poor. In the 1930s, Day worked closely with fellow activist Peter Maurin to establish the Catholic Worker Movement, which combined direct aid for the poor and homeless with nonviolent action on their behalf. Hennessy, who is the youngest of Day’s nine grandchildren, also collaborated with photographer Vivian Cherry to edit Dorothy Day and the Catholic Worker: The Miracle of Our Continuance (Empire State Editions, May 2016). The book discussion will be held in the Little Theatre, at 6:00 p.m. on Tuesday, November 7, followed by a book signing in the Sister Mary Joseph Cunningham Library, which is the sponsor of this event.
  • “Voices of Women During the Holocaust.” Posters reflecting women’s voices during the Holocaust will be displayed at various campus locations during the entire week. The posters were created by undergraduate and graduate students in the Instruction in Literacy and Social Studies course led by Nancy Sardone, Ph.D., GCU associate professor of education. They will reflect the strength of women who played important roles in various resistance activities and will also explore community-organizing efforts of Jewish women in concentration camps.
  • Panel discussion: “Let Your Voice Be Heard About Gender-Based Violence.” GCU’s Coordinated Community Response Team will discuss the nature and impact gender-based violence can have on someone’s life. Panelists are Amani Jennings, dean of students; Colleen Diveny, director of student advocacy and success; Nicole Mossbacher, Office of Violence Against Women Program specialist; Erin McCarron, director of student activities; Nicole O’Connell, coordinator of residence life for operations; Captain Maureen Rossi, GCU Security; Stephanie Campbell, Lakewood police officer; and Melanie Sudia, case manager, Providence House–Ocean. The panel discussion will be held at 2:00 p.m. on Wednesday, November 8, in the Little Theatre.

Additional activities are the Critical Concerns 2017 Mass, sponsored by the Office of Campus Ministry and held at 2:00 p.m. on Thursday, November 9, in the Dorothy Marron University Community Chapel; a Mercy Collegiate Society High Tea & Ritual, sponsored by the Office of Mission Integration and held at 4:30 p.m. on Thursday, November 9, in The Mansion; and a student panel discussion, sponsored by the Student Government Association, and held at 7:00 p.m. on Thursday, November 9 in the Little Theatre.

All events are free, but RSVPs are requested for most events at

Aerial view of GCU.

About Georgian Court University

Georgian Court University is a leading regional university that provides a transformative education, preparing students for ethical leadership and service in the Catholic Mercy tradition. Founded in 1908 and sponsored by the Sisters of Mercy, Georgian Court University is Central and South Jersey’s only Catholic university. The university has a strong liberal arts core and a historic special concern for women.

As a forward-thinking university that supports diversity and academic excellence, GCU is known for expanding possibility for more than 1,900 students of all faiths and backgrounds in 35+ undergraduate majors and 10+ graduate programs. The GCU Lions compete in 16 NCAA Division II sports in the Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference (CACC). In 2020, GCU was named a Best Value College by and a Best Bang for the Buck (Northeast) by Washington Monthly. High student retention and graduation rates make GCU a Top Performer on Social Mobility on U.S. News & World Reports rankings, and in 2024, GCU was named one of the best Online Master’s Colleges in New Jersey.

The main campus is in Lakewood, New Jersey, on the picturesque former George Jay Gould estate, a National Historic Landmark. Georgian Court, which is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, also serves students through its Center for Professional Studies, and at other locations, including GCU at Brookdale, and through multiple online degree and certificate programs.