Students organized Trinity’s first Activism Fair as a part of Trinity’s MLK Week celebration. Approximately a dozen activist organizations from across San Antonio visited campus, including MOVE San Antonio, RAICES and Haven for Hope, all intending to encourage students to volunteer off campus.
Simone Washington, sophomore SGA senator, was one of the event organizers and referenced the white supremacist protests that occurred in Charlottesville last August as a source of inspiration for encouraging activism. Washington came together with junior Samsara Reyes and senior Faith Deckard to organize the event.
“The activism fair got its start last year. It was formulated as a response to the events in Charlottesville. Lots of students were coming up to me asking what they could do to counter these developments,” Washington said. “We brainstormed and started meeting with faculty and having discussions about what we wanted to see at Trinity that could allow us to engage with issues that affected us, that were happening on a national stage and also here in San Antonio.”
Reyes noted that bringing organizations like these to campus will allow students access to the activism they desire.
“[As we were brainstorming,] one of the things that kept coming up was how passionate Trinity students are about social justice issues, but often this passion is extinguished when students don’t know where to direct these feelings to put them into action,” Reyes said. “In my personal experience, I didn’t come to find out about many of the nonprofits doing social justice work until I became more active in student involvement affairs.”
Washington points out how that participating organizations will benefit by being put in direct contact with Trinity students.
“There’s local organizations that are always in search of volunteers, particularly reliable volunteers. We are hoping that we can get a large base of students that are willing and able to help these organizations outside of Trinity,” Washington said.
Washington highlighted the importance of the timing of the fair. As a new addition to Trinity’s longstanding MLK Week activities, the Activism Fair was also accepted as an official DreamWeek event. DreamWeek is a series of MLK Week events orchestrated across the city including over 200 organizations to connect the San Antonio community with the teachings of Martin Luther King Jr. and his message of tolerance and equality.
“Aside from the logistical purposes of having greater promotion because of MLK Week, it’s to honor the legacy and commemorate Dr. King. He was an activist and I am personally inspired by him, and so we thought it would be an appropriate fit to have it during this week,” Washington said.
Reyes hoped students would gain valuable connections through attending the fair.
“Apart from all of the hard work that has gone in planning, organizing and executing this great and hopefully annual event, I encourage students to attend because too often I hear enraged students not satisfied with the direction that this country is going and many of them feel powerless,” Reyes said. “I hope this event gives students an outlet to direct their pent up frustration or pursue their dream for a better tomorrow by working for it.”
Jamie Thompson, director of Student Involvement and staff coordinator for the MLK student planning committee, helped the team get their ideas off the ground and put into action.
“One of Trinity’s values is community and this event seems to align with that core value,” Thompson wrote in an email interview. “Trinity students want to get engaged and give back — understanding community needs and ways in which they can connect with and contribute those needs is a great step forward.”