Every month is Black History Month when you’re black. Just like every day is Pride when you’re an LGBTQ+ person. That said, it’s different for me to reflect on why I chose a term of service with College Possible. It’s not something I consciously think about. I don’t wake up and go to the Milwaukee High School of the Arts thinking, “Okay, ready to serve!” It’s innate. I don’t see myself “serving,” I see myself doing something I know needs to be done; and doing something I thoroughly enjoy.
I want to share why I serve with those who may be sitting around looking at the state of the world and wondering what they can do to help. I chose to serve with AmeriCorps for two terms; first with Public Allies, and now with College Possible. Having completed the AmeriCorps MLK service day and now entering Black History Month, I’m reminded of Dr. King’s idea of the Beloved Community.
As the King Center writes, “Dr. King’s Beloved Community is a global vision, in which all people can share in the wealth of the earth. In the Beloved Community, poverty, hunger and homelessness will not be tolerated because international standards of human decency will not allow it. Racism and all forms of discrimination, bigotry and prejudice will be replaced by an all-inclusive spirit of sisterhood and brotherhood. Love and trust will triumph over fear and hatred.”
I learned about the Beloved Community in one of my undergraduate classes. The idea that a community couldn’t prosper and thrive until we made sure everyone in it could prosper and thrive inspired me. That’s why I serve. I attended Milwaukee Public Schools all of my life, I’ve been fortunate to obtain a bachelor’s degree and I am close to completing my master’s. But my work isn’t done. I need to lift up the people in my community so they, too, can have the same opportunities I did. I had a lot of help along my journey and now I’m in a position to be that helping hand for others.
Dr. King said that life’s most persistent and urgent question is, “What are you doing for others?”. Serving with AmeriCorps allows me to be the person I’ve always wanted to be: Someone who does more than talk without action; someone who does more than walk through life without giving anything back in return.
by Stella Nathan