In this blog series we are profiling our Net Impact Fellows; from healthy food to racial equity our fellows in this year-long leadership development program are working to better their campuses and their communities.
Eunice Lee is a Net Impact Healthy Food Fellow and student at Wesleyan University studying Science in Society. She, along with her classmates, are planning a play and dinner event that addresses food justice. Read on to learn more about this innovative and artistic way to discuss societal challenges.
Why did you first decide to take action around healthy food?
My passion for healthy food justice developed during my high school years. I attended a public high school that was in a community where lifestyles around food and health differed significantly from the low-income, Korean American community that I grew up in. In this community, healthy food such as organic fresh produce and an organic sushi restaurant were easily accessible and affordable to most residents. Around this time, I also happened to learn that my chronic kidney condition had been worsening partially because of my inadequate diet. Seeing the disparity in access to healthy food and the importance of having such access to one’s health, I felt the desire to raise greater awareness and to take actions around healthy food.
Can you tell us more about your action project?
I am collaborating with a group of students to work on a healthy food justice play, When We Can’t Tell What’s Human, devised by a Wesleyan University student, Eliza Wilkins. This play attempts to raise awareness about how the food system works and how it intersects with racism, classism, environmental issues, and labor and immigration rights. The plot is developed around the interaction between a Mexican immigrant cab driver and an upper class white woman. Their relationship highlights the disparity in access to healthy food and social agency. During the play, a three-course meal will be served to the audience, each course setting the stage for each scene.
After the play and dinner, a panel discussion will be followed to provide an opportunity for the audience to further discuss the aspects of the play that may have felt confusing, generalizing, or resonating with their personal experiences. Thanks to Net Impact and Newman’s Own Foundation providing me an opportunity to attend the 2016 Net Impact Conference and meet The Soulfull Project team, The Soulfull Project has kindly agreed to come to our campus as our panel speakers. We have also invited other guest professors and professionals who will share their expertise in the intersection of class, race, immigration rights, and food access.
This event is scheduled to take place in the evenings of April 27 – April 29.
How did you know this was the right project for you to work on?
When I first heard about this play idea from my friend, Eliza Wilkins, the playwright of When We Can’t Tell What’s Human, I was very confident that this was the right approach to talk about the broader issues surrounding healthy food access. Because performing arts and theater are central parts of our campus culture, I thought that this project would be the perfect platform to spark discussions about these issues that can be sensitive and very personal. Providing a three-course meal during the play also sounded appealing to the students on campus.
How has the experience shaped your future plans?
Although the arts and health related topics have been the main passion of mine, it was not until I became involved with this project that I found how powerful the intersection of the arts and public health could be! I am very interested in seeing how I can apply my interest in the arts and arts education into my passion in public health research.