Taking action, initiating change

Intercultural and Inclusion hosts MLK Celebration Events

During the month of January, the Intercultural and Inclusion Student Services and MLK Celebration Planning Committee organized MLK teach-ins for Coastal Carolina University students and staff.

The goal of these teach-ins is to educate students while also honoring the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. One session, “Creating change through local policy,” was moderated by Assistant professor of sociology Hannah Liebreich, Ph.D. Liebreich discussed the importance of voting, voter engagement and taught participants how to have an active voice in the legislative process on the state level.

“I felt like it was hard for me to feel like my vote or my civic engagement mattered, so I started focusing on local politics a lot more,” Liebreich said. “If you do it well, I really believe that we can create change.”

Liebreich said she got involved in the political process at an early age. It is her passion to get students involved in the political process on the local level and to help them find the causes they are passionate about.

This theme falls in line with the vision of King as he was one of the initiators of helping African Americans receive the right to vote. King and other civil rights leaders organized voting rights marches from Selma to Montgomery that culminated in the signing of the 1955 Voting Rights Act.

“This is all about being an agent of change,” assistant professor of criminology Danny Malone Jr., Ph.D. said. “So, it’s one thing to do the marches, the public demonstrations of tension, but it’s another thing to actually put things into action.”

Liebreich worked at the state capital in Hawaii, researched policy and helped write policy. During the teach-in, she explained how to write testimony to your state legislator and track bills.

“You should always include all the people on the committee that are hearing it. A lot of people write too much, so I always highlight that you should have no more than one paragraph explaining your position,” Liebreich said.

She said it is empowering to be involved in the political process. Her colleague, Malone, agrees and said it is one of the causes King was most passionate about.

“Dr. Martin Luther King has a great legacy in regard to liberation, advocacy for others, but also challenging the U.S. society to see its greatest ills and being accountable,” Malone said. “It is important for students to be in these talks so they can get well rounded takes on what does it mean to be a liberator.”