By: Laura Archer, Staff Writer
Last week, the Center for Civic Engagement held service events in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, a tradition that started at Drew in January 2016.
On Monday, there was a lecture by Dr. Traci West, discussing the different stories and achievements of many civil rights activists, including Fannie Lou Hamer, Septima Clark and Bayard Rustin. West wanted to bring these activists into the spotlight, as they are not often discussed even though they were great leaders and contributors to the Civil Rights Movement.
Tuesday, the Center for Civic Engagement hosted both on and off campus service opportunities. Some of the on-campus events included making hygiene and school supply kits for hurricane victims. Students also knitted hats for the homeless, decorated pillows for school children, wrote letters for Amnesty International – a campaign that advocates for human rights around the world – and created valentines cards for senior citizens. Students and faculty that went off campus contributed to the Morris Habitat for Humanity, the Market Street Mission Thrift Store and the Community Food Bank of New Jersey.
Dr. Amy Koritz, Director of the Center for Civic Engagement, took about 30 students, faculty, and staff to the Community Food Bank to sort food donations. About the trip she said, “My favorite parts of this trip were: Omar, our host who did a terrific job of explaining why the food bank was such an important resource for food insecure families and individuals. He was also lots of fun to work with. And all the students who worked so hard while clearly having a blast–community service can be fun.”
When asked why people should do community service, Koritz said, “The alternative is truly scary to me. If we do not take the time to care for the vulnerable, share resources with the needy, and advocate for those suffering injustice, what kind of a society would we have? A vibrant, humane democracy depends on contributions from all of those able to help.”
So, in the words of Martin Luther King Jr., you should ask yourself life’s most persistent question: “What are you doing for others?”