Finding Home town hall forum aims to unite Marquette community

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Finding Home town hall forum aims to unite Marquette community

Host Alex Rivera-Grant (left) interviews Housing First Resident Advisory Council member Jeff Stingley (middle) and Housing Program Evaluator Luke Rosynek as part of the Finding Home town hall forum.

Host Alex Rivera-Grant (left) interviews Housing First Resident Advisory Council member Jeff Stingley (middle) and Housing Program Evaluator Luke Rosynek as part of the Finding Home town hall forum.

Photo by Jordan Johnson

Host Alex Rivera-Grant (left) interviews Housing First Resident Advisory Council member Jeff Stingley (middle) and Housing Program Evaluator Luke Rosynek as part of the Finding Home town hall forum.

Photo by Jordan Johnson

Photo by Jordan Johnson

Host Alex Rivera-Grant (left) interviews Housing First Resident Advisory Council member Jeff Stingley (middle) and Housing Program Evaluator Luke Rosynek as part of the Finding Home town hall forum.

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When Jeffrey Stingley moved into an apartment at 28th Street and Highland Boulevard, he said he slept on the floor the first night. 

Eight years ago, Stingley became homeless after he injured his back. He lived on the streets and in Carver Park in Milwaukee’s Hillside neighborhood until he received the opportunity for housing through Housing First, a government agency under the Milwaukee County Housing Division. 

Stingley was one of the speakers who talked about social justice issues and the concept of home at the Finding Home town hall forum put on by the Marquette Wire this past Sunday.

The town hall forum was in conjunction with the release of the fall issue of the Marquette Journal. It invited stories and interviewed Marquette students and staff and community members about what home means to them and how they think Marquette and Milwaukee can be a better home for everyone.

Colleen Graham, a first-year in the College of Education, said she really enjoyed hearing Stingley’s story. She said that people don’t often think about how individuals end up homeless.

“Now when I see someone on the street, I will think more in depth and get more involved,” Graham said. 

Panelist Linnea Stanton, a junior in the College of Arts & Sciences and co-founder of Marquette’s March for Our Lives chapter, said it is important to form relationships with others regardless of perceived difference and to ask these populations what they need.

Panelist and acting provost Kimo Ah Yun said it is important to walk with others and understand their lives.

Milwaukee native, junior in the College of Arts & Sciences and Black Student Council President Breanna Flowers also spoke as a panelist. She said being the change you want to see in the world is essential to moving forward.

Interviewee Megan Rittler, a junior in the College of Communication, is a mental health advocate who uses social media to start conversations surrounding mental health. She said she hopes to help people “find peace in their mental illness” and “get the ball rolling and start talking about mental health.”

Fr. Thomas Boddy attended the event and said he feels it is important for individuals to find that sense of place and belonging. He said the forum named some of the problems on Marquette’s campus and allowed students and individuals who attended to build community and feel connected toward one another.

At the beginning of the forum, a video played with clips of students on campus who had to describe Marquette in one word. Family, wholesome, uplifting, community, privilege and community were among some of the answers that came to students’ minds.

Mergimtare Kelmendi, a sophomore in the College of Arts & Sciences, read Keara Bellino’s poem about how her mother encompasses her sense of home. In the poem, Bellino’s mom will always be someone she can come back to. Bellino is a first-year student in the College of Arts & Sciences from the Live Poets Society.

Mackenzie Amore, a first-year in the College of Communication, said because her dad went to Marquette, she grew up wearing gold and blue with pride.

“The people here just feel like a family. Everyone is really inclusive,” Amore said. 

Alex Rivera Grant, a sophomore in the College of Communication, hosted the event. She said she thought the forum went extremely well. 

“I hope that the audience will begin to change their previous perceptions about these issues and begin to help their communities,” Rivera Grant said.

Editor’s note: Marquette Journal is a branch of the Marquette Wire along with the Marquette Tribune. 

This story was written by Sarah Lipo. She can be reached at sarah.lipo@marquette.edu.

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