MLK Fellows Lead the Way
Students supported local communities by assembling meals for Red Hook Responds, facilitating activities at Ramapo for Children, collecting and sorting for the Village of Tivoli’s Food & Clothing Drive, assisting at the YMCA of Kingston & Ulster County Resource Fair, painting at BHSEC in Hudson, and more. Students also worked in partnership with the Bard Farm, Red Hook Community Center, UlsterCorps, and The O Zone. Not only were students honoring Dr. King through their efforts, but the importance and value of civic engagement were highlighted. Together, we were able to make a positive impact within the community that supports us.
Symonne Reid ‘23, Miala Wilkerson ‘25, and Huba Zaman ‘23, worked together as MLK Fellows to organize the day of engagement, which they described as “a beautiful orchestra of chaos”. Bard has always been an engaged place to be, yet since the pandemic, students have been more hesitant to step into the community. However things are changing, as our fellows saw this as a sign of faith that students just needed a push to get involved with the community. As a result of their joint efforts, the student turnout this year exemplified a strong motivation for civic engagement, which Symonne acknowledged, “As a fellow, being a part of these activities and seeing students get up and out to participate in the local community was very gratifying”.
In addition to community outreach, over 300 students also participated in the MLK Day of Engagement Conference and workshops on Monday, January 16, which featured two-morning panels followed by afternoon workshops. Bard welcomed local business owners and activists of color for the Black Entrepreneurship: Surviving & Thriving During the Pandemic panel, moderated by Jovanny Suriel. Afterward, student leaders of color, chosen by Symonne, participated in and led a panel on Student Advocacy & Self Care. Students then met with their peers for an afternoon workshop, ranging from Farm Labor Justice, Misinformation in Public Life to Student Voting Rights and Engaged Research for Action.
As Dr. King asked, “What are you doing for others”? This year’s MLK Weekend of Engagement at Bard honored that very question by stepping outside of our routines, and into the community. Our impact doesn't have to end here, however, as meaningful Civic Engagement can manifest in countless ways, both big and small. To learn more about the MLK Day of Engagement, visit Bard CCE online or in person at Ward Manor Gatehouse and learn more about what is currently in motion! As Symonne encouraged, “You should always find the gap in your communities and use your resources and knowledge to change it”. The power to close this gap is in the hands of our generation, making it our responsibility to be the catalyst bringing back the culture of changemaking to Bard.
Post Date: 02-10-2023