What does it mean to you to be a recipient of the MLK Spirit Awards?

it is so much more than an honor to have been recognized as someone who could even by a fraction resemble Dr. Martin Luther King Junior’s legacy. He is a man of strength, endurance, and hope and without his character and leadership, we wouldn’t have this Dream that we, as a nation, are still aiming for today.

Brooke Taylor

2nd Year Undergraduate, Dance

School of Music, Theatre & Dance

Being your best DEI self: Think of a time when you were at your best at advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion. What happened? Who was there? Why did you feel at your best?

When I think of a time when I was at my best at advancing Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, was this past summer, June of 2020. I had an idea that I, myself, thought was a big undertaking that might not come to fruition. It started with a phone call and before I knew it, I was in contact with the superintendent, principals, and administrators of the West Bloomfield School District. The idea was to plan a protest, entitled Drive In For Justice, for the West Bloomfield community. It was designed to keep people safe from COVID-19 by encouraging attendees to remain in their cars. This protest included performance art, dynamic speakers, and a fundraiser for The Equal Justice Initiative. There were students from preschool to college, teachers, fraternity and sorority organizations, administrators, parents, and grandparents. I felt my best because I was not only able to see my idea come to life, but I was also able to organize an event that brought more awareness to systemic racism and The Black Lives Matter Movement. I can still vividly remember seeing an elementary schooler break down in tears, after standing in front of a display of photographs depicting lives lost to racial injustice and police brutality, such as George Floyd, Tamir Rice, and Breonna Taylor. This was such an important moment for me because I was able to see the impact this event had on not just one student, but the entire community.

Wishes for the future: How would you imagine your environment needing to be for you to feel that you don’t have to do DEI work anymore?

My future wish is for society to illustrate the dream of Dr. Martin Luther King Junior’s. I can imagine a future environment where Dr. King’s dream of freedom and equality rings for all people, regardless of their race, ethnicity, socioeconomic background, gender identity, or sexual identity. When society resembles this dream, I will no longer have to work tirelessly for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion for all. Until then, I am going to use my voice and my performative art to bring light to the unjust social issues that, so often, remain in the dark. I believe society will progress toward this dream with the acknowledgement of our nation’s past short comings, the encouragement of open conversations, that may be uncomfortable, but are necessary, and the willingness of people to listen. However, there is hope on the horizon; with protests this past summer bringing together not only black people, but white people, Jewish people, Hispanic people and people of all backgrounds to march side by side, and bring awareness to racial injustice across the nation.