How I Spent Martin Luther King Jr. Day
Monday, January 21st, classes were cancelled to recognize the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Nashville and surrounding colleges hosted several events throughout the city. Vanderbilt kicked off MLK weekend with a variety of events such as teach-ins, gatherings, a trivia night, a march, tours, and several speakers. Students had the opportunity to expand their perspective and knowledge while participating in as many events as they choose. Unfortunately for myself, I was overwhelmed with course work; therefore, I was not able to attend the main events. As a compromise between myself and my classes, I promised myself that I would attend one teach-in. During MLK day, there were 6 different teach-ins on topics such as “Black Lives Matter”, “Countering Islamophobia Everyday”, “LGBTQ & the Civil Rights Movement”, and “Microaggressions”.
(Image taken by Sonya Williams of Dr. Taaffe asking audience to visualize scenes.)
I attended the “Black Girls Speak Truth to Power” teach-in led by Claudine Taaffe, PhD. The importance of recognizing a Black girl’s intersectionality and complexity in a world that views Black girls as homogeneous and negatively was conveyed through her research with young Black girls in several cities. I was touched by the presentation and the stories Dr. Taaffe recollected, as well as the fact that Vanderbilt gives professors and students a place to continue research. Students often have opportunities to participate in and perform research that is relevant today. Some research opportunities include assisting professors, participating in marketing research, or psychological research.