Thursday, May 05, 2011

"You Can Kill A Man, But You Can't Kill An Idea": I Support Medgar Evers College

This quote was made by Civil Rights activist, Medgar Wiley Evers, the field secretary of the NAACP and a major figure in our nation's Civil Rights history. Evers' commitment to the cause of civil rights ultimately led to his murder in Mississippi on June 12, 1963.   Seven years later, Medgar Evers College was founded in central Brooklyn in 1970 through the collaborative efforts of the community and elected officials.  MEC is one of eleven senior colleges in the City University of New York.  Today, MEC needs our help.

April Silver of Akila Worksongs has sent the clarion call throughout the community, and I just want to let you know that I support Medgar Evers College.

First, a little on why.

As an emerging writer and professional in my field, the Center for Black Literature at Medgar Evers College has been invaluable to my career.  I began first as one of the numerous passionate readers, writers, educators, publishers, artists, and scholars who would travel from around the world and gather each year at the college's annual National Black Writers Conference.  Inspired by the late John Oliver Killens, the NBWC represented all genres of literature. I could hear Elizabeth Nunez speak eloquently about her work and the legacy of Caribbean writers, while also hearing L.A. Banks, Arthur Flowers, Terry McMillan, Tony Medina, Toni Morrison, Jewel Parker Rhodes, or Kalamu ya Salaam.  There, I had the opportunity to hear and participate in some of the most informative and diverse discussions about black literature.  The annual conference served not only as a lightning rod for discussion but as a space that grew and evolved over the years through the dedication of MEC's dedicated staff and faculty, many of whom were respected poets and novelists as well as educators.  No one can say it is easy creating a  literary program anywhere, and doing so at publicly funded institution presents its own set of unique challenges.  Despite the inevitable obstacles and philosophical disagreements on the direction and pace of its growth, the community at MEC remained steadfast and persevered, eventually breaking ground on new, beautiful facilities dedicated to the literary arts.  Together they had made visible what anyone who has taught or studied there knows is in the faculty and staff's hearts. Later, I had the opportunity to work directly with Dr. Brenda Greene in the extraordinary Literature to Life program, where she paired writers with actors to help "at-risk" high school students read, discuss, adapt, and perform black iconic texts for the stage. As any artist-in-residence knows, it was a challenging and spiritually rewarding experience.  As a panelist, I also had the opportunity to discuss my work with writers I have long admired.  The 2006 black speculative fiction panel featuring Samuel R. DelanyTananarive Due, andWalter Mosley remains a highlight for me, and this discussion was later edited by Dr. Greene and Fred Beauford in the book, MEDITATIONS AND ASCENSIONS: Black Writers on Writing, published by historic Third World Press.  These are some of my experiences with MEC, and I am certain that others may share their own stories of how this institution has impacted and inspired them.  MEC has served many, many people over the years.  It deserves our support and respect now.
If you would like more information on what is happening at MEC now and how you may help, please scroll down to read April Silver's detailed report.

Thank you and All Best,

Sheree Renée Thomas

DARK MATTER black speculative fiction series

The Medgar Evers College Coalition for Academic Excellence and Mission Integrity (aka "MEC Coalition") maintains that the current administration at Medgar Evers College, CUNY - under President Pollard and Provost Johnson - is at odds with the mission of the College. In under two years, this current administration has taken some shocking and demoralizing actions that we believe seek to dishonor the mission of this predominately Black institution of higher learning and that seek to dismantle the colleges community-based centers.

The MEC Coalition, with support from key elected officials in the City of New York, maintain that the current administration must go.

Information about this matter is housed on the official website of the coalition. Please We encourage everyone to visit the site, read the information, follow the links, and see for themselves. We also encourage people to explore this Facebook page. While we have posted some content about what's going on, there is more coming. We understand that this may be a lot of information to digest at one time. We also know that there a lot of lies and rumors circulating about our cause. We choose, however, to focus on the facts.

We are re-posting some information that will guide potential supporters to our cause. We hope this illuminates why "all is not well at Medgar Evers College" and how you can help. 
How to Further Support the Work of the MEC Coalition...
  • Visit our website to learn the facts about the problems at MEC. There are rumors and false statements circulating and we would like people to know the truth. Get the facts  

  • Tell friends about our website (
  • Visit and "Like" our Facebook Fan (FB) page. The address Please "like" the page, share the links, write comments, and tell your FB friends and fans about it.
  • Share your stories or essays about your positive MEC experiences. Send them With your permission, we may use your story publicly in an effort to help spread the word about the positive things that MEC represents for us all.
  • If you have a blog, radio show, newspaper column, or other access to media outlets, then let us know! The MEC Coalition Steering Committee members are available for media interviews and speaking engagements about this topic. Please send details to AKILA WORKSONGS, Inc. from our our public relations sub-committee. Email:
  • Attend hearings, rallies, and Coalition related activities. They will be posted on the website and the FB fan page. They will also be emailed to you more regularly. In the meantime, check our websites regularly for updates.
  •  Allow us to add your name to the list of MEC Coalition Supporters. Please send us your first and last name, your company or organizational affiliation, your email address, and the best telephone number for you. Put "Count Me As A Supporter" in the subject heading of your email so that we can process your name more quickly.

We encourage your feedback and comments. And as we prepare for spring, we will have more updates and developments, so please stay tuned. If you prefer to call us, you can leave a message at 718.710.4528.

The MEC Coalition

Know The Facts. Sign The Petitions. Spread The Word!
Phone: 718.710.4528

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