The Gustavian Weekly

Kim Braun: Working for change | The Gustavian Weekly

By Jake Seamans Editor-in-Chief | January 22, 2010 | Gustie of the Week, Variety

Junior Kim Braun, who just returned from studying abroad in India, is also involved in the Spring production of Urinetown and the Gustavus Choir. Lindsay Lelivelt.

Junior Theatre and Political Science Major Kim Braun has always been interested in how she can change the world.

Kim’s recent trip with Gustavus’ Social Justice, Peace and Development in India underlined how much change is needed, both in America and around the world. One of the things that impacted Kim the most was working with the local people, and people of the varying castes in India. They were also able to meet the children of the devadasi, or temple prostitutes.

“We were able to talk with the children of the devadasis,” Kim said. “We were able to talk to police, politicians and others, who said there was no such thing as castes or devadasi, which is what we just saw.”

However, Kim also found out that the situation in India was more complex than many might think. “Part of it might be that it is easier for [Indian police and politicians] to ignore these things,” she said. “It might also be that [they are] in such a privileged position that [they] just don’t come into contact with it.”

Kim was amazed by the work being done by local people. “It was amazing. I feel so fortunate that I was able to go and learn from people who don’t necessarily have the same education that I had, but are making such a difference in their communities and the world,” she said.

Seeing this work, done on such a small scale, led her to start thinking about the changes needed at home. “Its important for us to realize that we have a lot of privilege by being born in America to influence change,” Kim said. “I think that if people acted upon their beliefs and took the small, individual changes to make it a more just world, it would be a more just world.”

Kim also brings this same desire for change into her involvement in Gustavus theatre, including her upcoming part as Little Sally in the Theatre and Dance Department’s production of Urinetown. “I think its good to look at how theatre can be used in a social justice way, and change how people think about the world,” Kim said.

Besides theatre’s role in social justice, Kim also loves taking part in theatre.

“Rehearsal is one of my favorite places to be,” she said. “When people show up to theater rehearsal, it becomes a magical three-hour block where they put everything else outside and they come together to make an audience think about something they thought about before, or thinking about things in a different way.”

Kim would like to put her ideals into action through Amnesty International. “I’m applying for internships with Amenesty International, which has always been a dream of mine,” Kim said.

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