Welcome Back!

Welcome back to a new year filled with many civic engagement initiatives.

The Center for Civic Engagement is working in multiple capacities to forge connections between the university and local, national, and global communities, and to bring opportunities for civic literacy to the campus and local community.

Center for Civic Engagement staff and fellows are currently gearing up for our annual Day of Dialogue on October 26, a daylong event of concurrent presentations, conversations, and film screenings and discussions. This year’s theme is F*** News! Deliberations on Truth, Citizenship, and Democracy, and will feature a number of sessions that explore public discourse around a fundamental democratic institution. Panels and sessions will examine public demand to take down historic statues (“Statues Must be Taken Down, Places Renamed”), the impact of digital literacy on truth in the news (“Fake News, Digital Literacies”) and subjective takes on science (“Your Science, My Science, and to Hell With Our Science”).

Next week, CCE launches the Hempstead High School Initiative along with the Hofstra University Honors College, bringing Hofstra university tutors to Hempstead High School four times per week for a total of eight hours of weekly tutoring in math, science, English, and history. The Initiative has grown since its inception in Spring 2016 and now enrolls more than 45 tutors. In addition, the Initiative is working with the New York State Mentoring Program to connect more than 20 volunteers with mentees in the Barack Obama Elementary School in Hempstead. All told, close to 70 volunteers are working hundreds of hours in Hempstead School District each week in an attempt to move the needle on graduation rates.

Center for Civic Engagement fellows, interns, and volunteers are working with additional community partners including Herstory Writers Workshop, a nonprofit that offers memoir writing workshops in Long Island communities, schools, and jails; the Greater Uniondale Area Action Coalition, a grassroots community group that addresses issues facing the Uniondale community; and Homecoming Farms, an organic farm run by the Sisters of St. Dominic of Amityville.

Our school year has gotten off to a challenging start with the passing of our leader, Dr. Greg Maney, professor of sociology and CCE Director of Active Citizenship and Community Partnerships. Dr. Maney has led the Center for Civic Engagement for many years, broadening its focus to initiatives off campus and in the local community.

Most notably, Dr. Maney led the anti-bullying effort, I Support Roosevelt  Youth initiative, and worked with the Greater Uniondale Area Action Coalition to win the battle against the East Garden City initiative, which sought to divide the hamlet of Uniondale. Dr. Maney launched the Hempstead High School Initiative that brings Hofstra University students into the high school for tutoring four times per week with an effort to move the needle on graduation rates, currently at 38%.

Dr. Maney’s legacy stretches long and the gap he leaves in university and community life is large. We hope all who are inspired by his work and his memory will reach out to CCE to continue the noble objectives that he so diligently pursued.

Dr. Yvonne Teems
Acting Director for Active Citizenship and Community Partnerships
Center for Civic Engagement

Advertisements

Hempstead High School Initiative

Hofstra University is only 3 miles away from Hempstead High School, and 5 miles away from Garden City High School. The two high schools are less than 2 miles apart, but Garden City has a graduation rate of 99%, while Hempstead has a graduation rate of 38%.

The goal of the Hempstead High School Initiative is to improve the students’ academic success through a variety of programs, including college prep mentors, workshops in college prep (SAT/ACT, financial aid, interviews, etc.), and more. The Center for Civic Engagement, Hofstra Honors College, and the Liberty Partnership Program participate in a tutoring program at Hempstead High School and a mentoring program at Barack Obama Elementary School. There, students get the opportunity to make a difference in their community by helping younger kids prepare for college and succeed in school.

All majors and years are able and encouraged take part in the program. Students will begin visiting the schools on October 2nd.

 

March For Science

On earth day, Saturday April 22nd, hundreds of thousands, if not millions of people took to the streets around the world to protest U.S President, Donald Trump’s stance on climate change and the environment. People of all ages came out dressed as everything from the rising sea level to zombie plant life. A few of the most creative and funny NY protest signs, where Hofstra students were protesting we wanted to capture and share. So for anyone who wasn’t there, can share in the magic.

The NYC protest, which went past Trump towers even had a special appearance by President Trump.

Though the DC march may have had more numbers, the NY march definitely did not lack in heart or creativity.

Earth Week Kick-Off Festival

CCE hosted its Earth Day Festival 2017 during common hour on April 19th to celebrate our planet and help advocate for its protection. Both the Hofstra and local communities participated by coming out to perform, sing, recite poetry, sign petitions, even meditate and perform magic tricks! We were very happy to welcome student clubs including Amnesty International, Peace Action Matters, the Hofstra Rock Climbing Club, the Campus Feminist Collective, the Sustainability Club, and others. Community organizations also joined together at Hofstra, including Food and Water Watch, the Uniondale Community Land Trust, Herstory Writers Workshop, and Nostrand Gardens.

The attendees at the festival represented activism beyond just concern for the environment. Students and community partners came together to raise awareness of the need to advocate for animal rights, peace in global affairs, Uniondale beautification, and more. Performances throughout the day included poetry, singing, and a meditation led by the Hofstra Buddhism Club.

All of the Earth Week events led up to the March for Science in New York City on Saturday, April 23rd taking place all over the country in support of “robustly funded and publicly communicated science as a pillar of human freedom and prosperity,” as stated on the official website. This effort aligns with efforts by climate scientists and concerned citizens to acknowledge and act upon climate change. Hofstra students, faculty, and others traveled to the New York March.

Pray the Devil Back to Hell

Peace Action Matters and the NAACP held a screening of  “Pray the Devil Back to Hell” this past week, which chronicles the remarkable story of the Liberian women who came together to end a bloody civil war and bring peace to their country.

Thousands of women of all ages,, both Christian and Muslim came together to pray for peace and then staged a silent protest outside of the Presidential Palace. The women were armed only with white T-shirts and the courage of their convictions as they demanded a resolution to the country’s civil war. Their actions were a critical element in bringing about a agreement during a series of stalled peace talks.

Their story is one of sacrifice, unity and transcendence. “Pray the Devil Back to Hell” honours the strength and perseverance of women and especially that of the phenomenal women of Liberia. It truly is a compelling testimony of how grassroots activism can alter the history of nations. A must watch, particularly when so many nations in this time are going through such hardships. There is alight at the end of the tunnel.

 

Legacy of Civil Rights & Discussions on Campus

Thursday, April 13, 2017 was the final day of the Danny Lyon: Memories of the Southern Civil Rights Movement Exhibit in the Hofstra Museum.  It was also the day that CCE hosted a series of discussions led by CCE Fellows about what these photographs signify and what they mean today. At the “Let’s Talk Activism” Sessions, three themed small group sessions were held throughout the day, focusing on Freedom, Activism, and Resilience. Students reflected on the photographs of the Civil Rights Movement, as described by the Hofstra Museum:

“Based upon Danny Lyon’s memoir, this exhibition brings together the photographs he took from 1962 to 1964 while traveling through the United States documenting the Civil Rights Movement. Lyon began his photographic career as the first staff photographer for the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), a national group of college students who joined together in 1960 after the first sit-in by four African American college students at a North Carolina lunch counter. With this body of work, Danny Lyon helped define a form of photojournalism in which the image maker is deeply and personally embedded in his subject matter.”

Danny Lyon’s work as a college student from years ago lined the walls of the Hofstra Museum as today’s college students contemplated the scenes he captured. Hofstra students from different walks of life on campus, from Greek life to social-politically active student clubs, sat down together to talk about their interpretations of the photographs. The students drew parallels of inequality and police brutality from the past to the present, discussing where they see this in their own lives. The conversations touched on struggle, privilege, and the small changes we can make in our own lives. It is one of many events that CCE hosts on campus to get students talking about today’s issues, and we are very thankful to those who participated and helped organize the day’s discussions.