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The 2022 Women of UD

Marie Dock

Marie Dock




Editor’s note: Honoree Marie Dock chose to write a personal reflection on the past year in lieu of a one-on-one interview.


"Strength and resilience have been continual necessities in my life this past year. With the rise in Asian hate crimes and general social unrest throughout the country during the 2021 semesters, the tension that our Asian community at the University of Dayton faced was unprecedented. After the shooting in Atlanta that claimed eight victims, targeting the Asian women that worked in these places, a lot of attention was directed our way. The University and the general public were focused on us, so as the President of UD’s Asian American Association (AAA) at this time I had to represent and advocate for my community. A lot of this work had me prioritizing the needs and wants of my community over my own, and this in turn led to the creation and organizing of the "Hate is a Virus" Open Dialogue Event. This was an event that allowed us to give a voice to our community members and to present it to the larger UD community. There were many times that I grew overwhelmed in what was being asked of me and found myself unsure if I could really carry the weight of this trauma for the rest of my community. In the end, I truly didn’t feel like I had a choice, but also that there wasn’t anything I would want to do differently. I think it was very necessary to translate and convey this trauma, pain, and advocacy to the UD institution and community, and it was something I would gladly dedicate myself to.

As I mentioned, the feeling of people truly seeing me and my community’s pain is something I had never experienced before. Many times I have felt invisible and that my Asian identity is largely overlooked. I think that the perseverance that I needed to get through last year came from years of dealing with the harms of racism and injustice on my own, quietly. This is a skill that I think develops and comes with the territory of being Asian in a predominantly white space or just living in America. Additionally, I think humility is something that you never stop learning but being able to prioritize others is something that is essential to creating and leading in a way that creates effective change. And it brings a more genuine impact to those around you. I think through my own personal spiritual journey and with the guidance of my family, I have really learned about the importance of having empathy. During periods of social unrest, I find it really important to educate myself on the experiences of those most harshly affected, and I think that at these times I am most in touch with my empathy and humility. These characteristics are all things that have contributed to my ability to be resilient and strong this past year. Understanding that there is something so much bigger than yourself that you can be a part of is how I have approached the opportunities that have come before me.

By adapting to current times, especially during the pandemic, it was just essential for us as a community to continue our programming. Especially during fall semesters, AAA had to find ways to continue fostering community. These semesters brought a new set of freshmen who had never before experienced UD or its community. We knew we needed to make sure that these students had the opportunities that we once had to foster and join a community. In order for us to make our community known to them, we all had to work hard to make sure our outreach and marketing was reaching those students who were most in need. Adapting to these unprecedented times was largely a team effort between myself and the rest of the AAA executive board, but ensuring that all of our members were equipped for the transition and for the new year is a responsibility that the president solely holds. I hope that the leadership that comes after me will be mindful of the need for adaptability as new semesters approach and new members join the organization.

There are many challenges that have arisen and will arise in these uncertain times, and COVID has brought to light many injustices and flaws within our society and systems. UD and society can move forward from these uncertain times with a new sense of renewal by addressing these issues as they appear. I think that the largest hurdle UD and society has is to first heal and right its injustices and wrongs, and to also include intersectionality within its movements forward. These are words that can be thrown around without action, and I think that living out the intentions that are set and needed for real change will be extremely challenging for institutions and systems that prioritize their image and profit above the environment and its people. But I do have hope moving forward, because of the rise of the people’s voices from historically underrepresented populations. The voices of those most affected by the injustices of society are now speaking out and I am hopeful that our society will not allow these voices to be silenced again. Change must be made, there is no going back from this. I think that my role in this is to join the voices of my community and other under-represented communities. It is my responsibility to ensure that these concerns and stories are not ignored and instead are taken up and addressed."