A E T N Logo
Support The Programs You Love DONATE NOW

Day 2: Transforming Apathy into Activism

Posted on 10 May 2011


Walking off the bus to a roaring round of applause at Mary Washington University (UMW) today, I almost instantly understood the importance of community. As we approached the welcoming crowd we were greeted with smiles, kind words of encouragement and a genuine sense of joy that we were continuing the legacy of the Freedom Riders.

With Freedom Rider Joan Trumpauer Mulholland standing next to her mug shot at the student produced exhibit at the University of Mary Washington on our first day.

UMW has spent months preparing for the Student Freedom Ride, creating an exhibition, holding on campus events about the rides and heavily promoting Charles Reed, Jr. — a graduate of UMW as of today. The administration, faculty and student body made a concerted effort to promote both the work of the original riders and the next generation of student activists. They made myself and the other students feel like we were representing something bigger than ourselves.

As a young person attending college in a relatively small community (or at least what feels like a small town atmosphere), I have found that the same support I witnessed today at UMW is sometimes lacking in my own environment. That is not to say that civic engagement in not encouraged at my campus, but I do feel that there is always more that can be done. The Civil Rights Movement, African American history, and the significance of the Freedom Riders are topics that should serve as constant reminders of this country’s long struggle for equality.

Although institutionalized segregation ended many years ago, more subtle forms of segregation and discrimination still exist — a sentiment expressed by many original Riders on our trip. In Arkansas, there is a clear divide between black and white neighborhoods and schools as a direct result of years of social inequality. In most cases I don’t think it is intentional segregation, but rather acceptance of the status quo. However, I strongly believe that in order to transform our culture and create a more balanced economic system, we need to acknowledge as a community that we will no longer accept a way of life just because that’s the way it’s always been.

Sometimes all it takes to trigger action is a call to action. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the enormity of the many issues going on in America and throughout the world, and when you feel alone in your desire to implement changes in your own community it makes it that much more difficult to feel empowered and initiate change. But when people come together to vocalize their needs and wants, and older generations show young people that they believe we really can do great things, the dynamic will slowly shift from apathy to activism.

AETN ENGAGE BLOG

Arkansas STEM Girls Camp
AETN is proud to host Arkansas STEM Girls Camp Thursday, July 21, and we have some exciting sessions with outstanding presenters slated! Read on for a preview of the amazing material our expert guests will explore, and discover for yourself just a few of the phenomenal STEM career paths available to young women across the state.

CONTINUE READING

Win Tickets to See “Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood Live” in Fort Smith
Looking for a grr-ific family treat? We’re giving away four tickets to “Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood Live” on Sunday, Oct. 2! Enter to win four seats to the show by telling us about your family’s favorite Daniel Tiger lesson by midnight on Sunday, July 31.

CONTINUE READING

FOI Notice: AETN Commission Conference Call July 25
Members of the will meet via conference call Monday, July 25, at 4 p.m. to discuss current events and activities. This is an open meeting, and the public may request teleconference information.

CONTINUE READING

5 Ways to Celebrate Summer Learning Day
With local and national applications - and even some fun prizes to win - we’re thrilled to celebration National Summer Learning Day Thursday, July 14, and to support academic growth for all of our PBS KIDS all season long! From special events and contests to new episodes and more, read on for five ways to celebrate National Summer Learning Day with AETN PBS KIDS.

CONTINUE READING

Learning for summer — and beyond! - AETN PBS KIDS ScratchJr Camps
This summer, AETN was proud to host PBS KIDS ScratchJr Camps, made possible by PBS KIDS and support from the Verizon Foundation, to help Arkansas students between the ages of five and eight get started with Creative Coding! Read on to learn more about how our Conway campers learned to create and express themselves with technology (and how you can download the FREE PBS KIDS ScratchJr App to get started at home) after the jump.

CONTINUE READING
MORE POSTS ]