Erica Smith, Consortium liaison, Indiana University-Bloomington class of 2017, wrote this guest post for The Consortium.
Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?’
– Martin Luther King Jr.
Jan. 16 marked the 31st anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr. Day in the United States. As members of The Consortium for Graduate Study in Management, we share many of the same values as the preeminent leader of the civil-rights movement — the foremost being service.
Consortium members at the Kelley School of Business observed the national holiday by participating in a variety of service and activism activities at Indiana University and in the greater Bloomington community.
Each year, Indiana University kicks off its celebration of the life of Dr. King with the annual Martin Luther King Jr. Leadership Breakfast. The keynote speaker for this year’s event was seven-time Emmy winner John Quiñones, a renowned ABC news correspondent and current host of the award-winning show “What Would You Do?”
Quiñones spoke about his lifelong passion for promoting justice and equality through journalism.
“I had the opportunity to start MLK Day by hearing not only a motivational speaker, but someone who demonstrates many of the qualities that Dr. King always spoke of — qualities such as humility, speaking out, finding the good in everyone and everything, and the power of inspiring others and being inspired. Hearing John Quiñones speak reminded me of my own childhood and the importance of having great mentors, supporters, and sponsors on your side,” Awa Diaw (Kelley ‘18) said.
Chelsea Trotter (Kelley ‘18) also left the annual MLK Day breakfast feeling energized and inspired. “Many others gave inspirational speeches with a call to action and how to get involved in the much-needed dialogue around race, diversity and helping others both at IU and the Bloomington community,” she said. “I was impressed to see the mayor of Bloomington in attendance, as well as the Diversity and Inclusion Office of IU have so much support for IU’s African-American students.”
After leaving the breakfast, Kelley Consortium members flocked to a variety of community service events in Bloomington — dispersing themselves across numerous projects to achieve a wider impact.
Consortium members Kelly Fryer (Kelley ‘17) and Sumedha Makker (Kelley ‘17) participated in a Habitat for Humanity project at St. Mark’s Church in Bloomington, in which they designed notecards for the organization to use in a fundraiser.
“It was a really fun activity and it was great to meet others in the community that we don’t really get to interact with on a regular basis,” said Makker. Fryer also shared positive reflections on the St. Mark’s service event. “It was a great opportunity to give back to the community, get to know this congregation, and spend time with my classmates — all while getting in touch with my rarely used artistic side too! I’m glad I made it a ‘Day On, not a Day Off!’”
It was truly a full “Day On!” for Diaw, who continued to commemorate King in a service event at the Mathers Museum of World Cultures in Bloomington later that afternoon.
“I attended a volunteer opportunity with the organization Lotus Project, where we made stars to end violence. This art project showed the power of art in inspiring change globally,” she said.
The celebratory day in Bloomington concluded with a lecture on criminal justice reform at Buskirk-Chumley Theatre, featuring Adam Foss, former assistant district attorney in the juvenile division of the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office in Boston and current advocate for criminal justice reform.
For Awa Diaw (Kelley ‘18), the events throughout the day had a lasting impact that would resonate with her for years to come.
“I continue to be inspired at the Kelley School of Business, by my Consortium peers, my non-Consortium peers, and the wider Indiana University (community). I am reminded to continue to do good, to speak up when I see injustice, to inspire others, and to drive change. For that, I am grateful beyond measure.”
PICTURED ABOVE: Consortium members Kate Childs (Kelley ‘18), Chelsea Trotter (Kelley ‘18), and Awa Diaw (Kelley ‘18) made stars to end violence as part of the Lotus Project’s initiative in Bloomington.