“What’s Love got to do with it? Anti-Racist Activism in the Creation of Beloved Communities” was the topic of the Winter Quarter Week Four (Feb. 1) Community Reflection in Stetson Chapel, co-sponsored by the Arcus Center for Social Justice Leadership (ACSJL) and the Black Student Organization (BSO). The Reflection centered around love as an underlying motivator for social change and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s philosophy of “the beloved community” as an end result of non-violent social change. Members of BSO shared their own spoken word pieces, poems, stories, and facts on the subject of leaders from the African-American movement against racism.
Rob Relief III ’13, president of the Young Men of Color student organization, discussed the 87-year history and original aims of Black History Month. Willina Cain ’15 sang the R&B song “Wake Up Everybody” while Corinne Taborn ’13 accompanied her on piano and sang backup vocals. Rian Brown ’16 spoke about how her identity relates to Black History Month. “My ancestors fought for me to gain the privilege to stand before you today,” she said. “But has their work been completed? I know the answer to that question is ‘No.’” She encouraged audience members to shed their complacency and continue the fight for justice and equality.
Jeffery Washington ’15 read a poem he wrote with the refrain “I Black.” “My light friend says I can’t-be-seen-in-the-night-time black/ I’m too black to find that funny,” he read. “I guess I got a dark sense of humor.” Marquise Griffin ’15 read a reflection on his recent trip to Washington D.C. to attend the National Youth Leadership Forum, and his meditations on Christ’s love, which he discussed at the forum. “Dr. King stressed love when combating hate and racism, violence and discrimination,” he said. Bryce Pearson ’16 read a poem called “The Overlooked King,” reflecting on racism. “They didn’t know who I was/ They don’t know who I am/ And they really have no clue of who I will be,” he read. Brittany King-Pleas ’13 closed the Reflection by saying she hoped the audience left with more questions than answers.
Community Reflections offer a unique forum for discussion, worship, performance, and community expression each Friday at 10:50 a.m. in Stetson Chapel. Refreshments at 10:30. The entire campus community and general public are invited.
The Week Six (Friday Feb. 15) Community Reflection is entitled “Why We Play” and features K student athletes discussion why they love to play Division III athletics. This is an annual event always full of heartfelt passion and humor. Special guest speaker is Rebecca Gray ’81. Currently a research scholar at Duke University, Becky majored in mathematics and played basketball for the Hornets. She is also Kalamazoo College’s only Rhodes Scholar.
Story and photo by Elaine Ezekiel ’13