Clarkston, a town in DeKalb County where one in every three
residents was born outside the United States, students meet
at a local high school to discuss gang activity, drugs, pollution,
and ethnic division in the community.
Atlanta, low-income cancer patients receive free legal assistance
as well as help applying for benefits, completing insurance
paperwork, and dealing with employment concerns.
across Georgia, Somali-speaking listeners tune in regularly
to the Sangal Radio Service, a vital resource for connecting
these East African refugees and providing the information they
efforts, and dozens more, have benefitted from the assistance
of fellows and alumni from Emorys Kenneth Cole Fellowship
Program in Community Building and Social Change, now in its
program is really taking off. Weve gotten a record number
of proposals from the community for this summer. Its going
to be difficult to choose, says Sam Marie Engle 90C,
director of the program. What were really proud
of is that many of our students have continued their relationships
with their community partners through internships.
fellowship program was launched in 2001 with a grant from New
York designer Kenneth Cole 76C, who also presides over
an annual conference on community building at Emory each year.
fashion, you write your own rules. The further it is from anything
anyone else has done before, the better. Thats how it
is in community buildingits not whats there,
its whats not there, says Cole, long known
for spiking his advertising with edgy social statements. We
are so often unable to see beyond each others race, religion,
and sexual orientation. Amazingly, we are still living under
a cloud of hate, prejudice, and fear. These are the weapons
of mass destruction.
conference centered around the theme, Many Faces in One
Place: Building the Diverse Community, and featured actor,
producer, and musician Harry Belafonte, a social activist who
organized the 1985 recording of We are the World
to raise money for famine relief in Africa. He now spends much
of his time working inside prisons and with youth who are disenfranchised.
been afforded the opportunity to spend a life in social and
political activism and to serve causes that have enhanced humanity,
Belafonte said at the forums keynote session in Glenn
Memorial Church. I was born in poverty, grew up in it.
Poverty was my mothers midwife. She was an immigrant woman
who came from the Caribbean. . . . Her strength set a standard
that propelled me into life. I could not spend one day when
I was not in battle with oppression. Ive found this to
be far more exciting than perfecting my tennis game.
is a social experiment eternally in demand of attention,
Belafonte said. If we do not protect and guide it, we
will lose itand lose it swiftly.
the forum, fellows gave presentations of their community service
projects, through which they worked with immigrant groups and
community leaders on city streets and inside high schools.
been given a new set of eyes with which to view the world,
said Juno Lawrence 05C, who worked with the Metro Atlanta
Women of Color Initiative to reach out to African American and
Latino women with information about HIV/AIDS.
also helped the Sagal Radio Service, which is heard by fifteen
thousand East African refugees across the state, to become an
independent nonprofit organization and facilitated discussions
with four groups of teens from Clarkston High School, just east
of Atlanta, challenging them to discuss community issues and
come up with positive solutions regarding housing, health, and
Richardson 03C, a member of the inaugural class of Cole
fellows, turned down a prestigious Bobby Jones scholarship to
take a job helping fellow cancer survivors through the Atlanta
Legal Aid Society.
remember what it was like, says Richardson, who was diagnosed
with bone cancer at age fifteen. Not only fighting cancer,
but struggling to pay rent, and bill collectors. . . . Low-income
people with cancer face multiple battles.
selected Cole fellow Tori Gordon 06C, a sophomore from
Carmel, Indiana, listened intently to the presentations. I
always wanted to make my impact on the world, Gordon says.
This program is the perfect way to figure out how to do
other 2004 Cole fellows are: Carina Alberelli 05C, from
Miami; Allison Cohen 05C, from New York City; Jenny Cooner
05C, from Grinnell, Iowa; Ansley Dillehay 05C, from
Lawrenceville; Christian Idiodi 05C, from Decatur; Shijuade
Kadree 05C, from Fairburn; Judith Kaine 05C, from
Sarasota; Kathryn Roberts 06C, from Concord, Massachusetts;
Melissa Roudi 05C, from Winter Springs, Florida; Alicia
Sanchez 05C, from Metairie, Louisiana; and Salim Vagh
05C, from Albuquerque.M.J.L.