April Ryan, a White House analyst since the Clinton era, visited Benedictine University as a speaker for the Center for Civic Leadership (CCL). She appeared as the Spring Speaker on April 17, 2018 in Benedictine’s Goodwin Hall Auditorium.
Ryan was introduced by the CCL fellow Kellen McCullum. She presented herself as an unbiased reporter with a neutral political standing. She began her speech with a small overview of her over 20 years of experience as a White House reporter.
She later continued by addressing the influx of fake news in the country through a series of metaphors. She highlighted how the founding fathers included the freedom of the press in the constitution for accountability of the President. She also mentioned the founding fathers were unable to account for the creation of social media.
“Harry Belafonte once said to me, ‘This is the greatest time because when there is great pain. It calls for radical activists. And it doesn’t matter who is the leader. It is about we the people,’” said Ryan regarding the night Trump was elected President.
Ryan mentions how she noticed there was a shift in the mindset from the 50’s to now. Back then people were dying for the right to vote. Yet, now there are protests about not voting.
The turn out for the event included a large amount of students as well as the general public. The Q&A portion of the event was different than usual with a switch to notecards instead of the standard microphone usage. Ryan’s focus was how there is power in numbers and how people tend to forget that. It is the people’s responsibility to make the change that they want to see in the country.
“The biggest thing we want to promote is to be civil to one another. To listen and to realize that you don’t have to have as much hatred to have disagreements,” said Dr. Phil Hardy, assistant professor and director of the CCL, about the event.
“It’s about ‘We the people’ that aspire to inspire,” said Ryan to close the event.
With contribution from staff writer Matthew Naughton.