By Daysha McNair
At 11am, Friday, Feb. 27, 2015, John Jay College hosted their 25th Malcolm/King Scholarship Breakfast in the second floor dining hall. This event has grown substantially since it started in 1990.
The scholarship breakfast was held to honor those who have laid the grounds for this event to happen, like Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X. Ilyasah Al-Shabazz, Malcolm X’s daughter, was the guest speaker at this event.
There were rewards given to Scholarship winners. The Africana Studies Department offered this scholarship back in November for John Jay students who fit the academic requirement.
The application process consisted of writing an essay to discuss their commitment to public service, how they embody Malcolm X and Dr. King’s legacies, their idea of public service, service leadership, or community service is and how they feel it extends the foundation that Malcolm and King both laid for us. Dr. Crystal Endsley was part of the Scholarship Sub Committee and had the opportunity to be a part of the application process for students who applied.
“To make sure our students see themselves as empowered to advocate or to be activist beyond the classroom, I think it’s really important. Africana Studies requires both a commitment to action and also a commitment to theory,” Endsley said.
The Scholarship Breakfast’s long-running history can be attributed to the hard work of many individuals.
“The only reason why the Malcolm/King Breakfast has been so successful throughout the years is because there has been a set number of faculty and staff members that have fully been dedicated to the breakfast every single year,” said Maria Vidal, a coordinator from the Urban Male Initiative.
Students who have attended this event also share the same values as the faculty that were involved. Jamel Love, a McNair Scholar and a senior at John Jay College applied for the scholarship last year and says that the essay prompt asked “How does your current and future accomplishments- how are those in alignment with the legacies of Malcolm X and Martin Luther King?”
In his essay, he expressed his involvement in his church community and the high school students in the upper bound program at John Jay.
“I really touched on how helping students at the high school level, professionally, academically, and how important that is and instilling in young kids the importance of education and creating young leaders and giving the same kind of support that I received that wouldn’t be possible had it not been for the civil rights movement and the legacies of Martin Luther King and Malcolm X,” said Love.
Allura Casanova, another McNair Scholar at John Jay College, said that it’s the first year that she went to the event and she emphasized the importance of community service.
“I was looking towards this mentoring program for Hispanic students…helping them through high school… It’s high school Latinos that are struggling in school and you pretty much are the gateway into college making sure they’re on the right track,” said Casanova.
“Although I didn’t make it to the event this year, I think it’s really important. I wish I would have gone. I think it’s very important to maintain contact with people, with your community, and do everything you can try to help people, even if it’s just helping an old woman across the street or being about of your community board. It’s really important to give back because there’s a lot of indirect benefits we don’t see,” said Love.