The Seventeenth

Guest List

Barbara Rank: a constituent of Congressman Rod Blum (R-Iowa) who wrote a letter to her local newspaper in response to some comments he made at Moa recent town hall. The congressman spoke about how the Affordable Care Act had “crazy regulations… such as a 62-year-old male having to have pregnancy insurance,” according to a quote in Huff Post article. In her letter, Ms. Rank posed rhetorical questions like, “Why should I pay for the salaries of politicians I didn’t vote for…?” A spokesman for the congressman later stated that his remarks were taken out of context, according to the article.

Mona Haydar: a poet, rapper, and activist who recently released a video for her song “Hijabi (Wrap My Hijab).” Ms. Haydar wanted to represent voices of other women in music on the topic of hijab because, as she says in a BBC video, “There’s a lot of songs out in the world about hijab, about a woman’s choice to cover herself, but not by women.”

Luis Miranda: a student of the University of Notre Dame and co-organizer of a walkout protest during Vice President Mike Pence’s address at commencement. Some members of Mr. Miranda’s family are undocumented immigrants, according to Buzzfeed article.

Tera Poole: the first black valedictorian for the University of Maryland School of Dentistry from the Class of 2016. Dr. Poole went on to pursue a career in dentistry but additionally spends time as a lifestyle and productivity blogger.

Gregory Ridgway: a University Medalist at the University of Maryland who wishes to become a theoretical physicist after graduating with three degrees; in physics, mathematics and piano performance, according to the UMD website.

Ed Gabel: an artist of Brobel Design who was the primary artist for a recent TIME magazine cover. In an Inverse article, Mr. Gabel explains the short timeline to design the “provocative” cover. The design received a broad range of feedback online, some negative but mostly positive. As the article states, “commenters discussed both the merits of the cover design and whether or not the image should be considered culturally iconic or cynically propagandistic.”


Mr. Miranda and Mr. Ridgway would possibly engage in conversation relating to being recent graduates. It is possible that Dr. Poole would join the conversation and discuss her experiences of emerging into the professional world and establishing her career. We are curious to know if they would describe how to balance various interests, as it is clear that both Mr. Ridgway and Dr. Poole have diverse talents and hobbies.

Another topic of conversation would perhaps be the concept of “prestige.” Several of this week’s guests have high levels of prestige. Some of these people are pioneers as artists or academics. How do they balance their roles in society? How do they represent themselves and continue to act as role models? How do they respond to expectations from their communities? Would Ms. Rank care to talk about why she felt compelled to respond to Congressman Blum? Would she relate to Ms. Haydar’s form of artistic expression?

In this context, however, Mr. Gabel has a different role because his profession requires him to express the ideas of others through his art and design. For instance, he works for TIME and has an obligation to fulfill their needs as a client but how does that influence his other work? Is he politically-minded? Is that affected by his work to convey “provocative” art on the subject of politics?


This week’s theme is “The Guest of Honor.” It is centered around recognizing extraordinary accomplishments of community leaders; of our peers, of our colleagues, and of our neighbors. It is a theme that focuses on celebrating leadership in its many forms. Additionally, this theme remembers the sacrifices and contributions of those serving our country.

Follow HDP on Facebook to see posts throughout the week and join the conversation (or, we should say, “table talk”).

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