Monthly Archives: January 2013

Ghanaian Choir Heralds the Start of Goodwin College’s Black History Month Celebration

The resonating voices of the members of the East Hartford Ghanaian choir helped Goodwin College to begin its celebration of Black History Month on Thursday.

Members of the Ghanaian Choir sing in celebration of Black History Month,

Members of the Ghanaian Choir sing in celebration of Black History Month,

Continuing a new tradition that began in 2012, the College is celebrating Black History Month with a series of events, panels, and programs that commemorate the African American experience and accomplishments.

The Ghanaian choir, comprised of members of church parishes throughout East Hartford, led the celebration. Adorned in brightly colored dashikis, the members sang songs of worship before a crowd of about 100 members of the Goodwin College Community.

In his opening remarks, Goodwin President Mark Scheinberg reflected upon the importance of celebrating Black History Month, particularly this year as two major milestones celebrate anniversaries. Goodwin is partnering with the Harriet Beecher Stowe Center and Connecticut Humanities to present panels on Inspiring Social Justice, commemorating the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation and the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech.

The Emancipation Proclamation, read by an Abraham Lincoln portrayer, will be the topic on Tuesday, Feb. 12, on Lincoln’s birthday. King’s speech will be the subject of a panel discussion on Thursday, Feb. 21. The two works represent major “tipping points” in African American history. “Tipping Points” is the theme of Goodwin’s 2013 Black History Month.

On Thursday, Scheinberg welcomed the Ghanaian choir and paid tribute to the late Pastor, Rev. John Rohan, a member of the Goodwin Board of Trustees who passed away in January. Father Rohan, Scheinberg said, used faith to unite the different communities of East Hartford, just as the choir had come together from different East Hartford congregations.

Dr. John Walters, also a member of the Board of Trustees, acknowledged the importance of celebrating Black History Month and the legacy of people like Diane Nash, a Freedom Rider who spoke at the College last week.

“We pass this knowledge and understanding onto future generations,” Walters said.

During the ceremony, the College and the choir both emphasized the growing relationship between Goodwin and the Ghanaian community in East Hartford. The town is home to one of the state’s largest population of Ghanaian residents, and Goodwin is seeking to establish a distance learning center in the West African nation.

Both Scheinberg and Walters were members of a delegation that visited Accra, the capital city of Ghana, in November.

A full list of Goodwin’s Black History Month events is available at http://www.goodwin.edu/BHM/

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Reflections on Courage; Goodwin College Celebrates Diane Nash and the Freedom Riders

As they beheld a living Civil Rights legend on Tuesday, many students at Goodwin College and the Connecticut River Academy were surprised to learn that Diane Nash was just about their age when she began her nonviolent struggle against racism and segregation.

More than 50 years after being an organizer for the Freedom Riders, Nash visited the College to inspire new generations of students to fight against new forms of injustice and take inspiration from her legacy.

Diane Nash, a heroine of the Civil Rights Era for her nonviolent leadership against racial segregation, spoke at Goodwin on Tuesday, Jan. 22.

Diane Nash, a heroine of the Civil Rights Era for her nonviolent leadership against racial segregation, spoke at Goodwin on Tuesday, Jan. 22.

“Oppression always requires the cooperation of the oppressed,” Nash said.

Goodwin welcomed Nash to the River Campus to share her story. She spoke before a full Auditorium of not only Goodwin students, faculty, and staff, but also the entire Connecticut River Academy. Several people from the East Hartford community and beyond also attended.

In all, more than 330 Connecticut River Academy students were present to hear Nash speak. The Academy is located on the Goodwin River Campus and the institutions share resources and programming to benefit all students.

The presentation began with footage from the PBS documentary on the Freedom Riders, who in 1961 embarked on journeys they knew would be dangerous and controversial. Participants, including many from Fisk University in Nashville, Tenn., would board buses and head south to challenge racial segregation at restaurants, lunch counters, and other facilities.

Nash was the student coordinator for the Nashville group, which left for Alabama in May of 1961. Nash recalled that the students knew what faced them – violence, angry mobs, arrests, and perhaps even death – but that they were prepared to not respond violently. In fact, each member had signed their own wills before leaving.

“I don’t know how I did it,” she said. “I don’t know how we did what we did at our age.”

Nash’s responsibility as organizer was to coordinate with the press, recruit new participants, and to serve as the liaison between the group and the US Department of Justice. She was in her early 20s at the time.

Their first destination was Birmingham, one the most segregated cities in the country. They would continue onto Montgomery, where they were trapped inside a church with 1,500 supporters, including Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The National Guard was eventually called to disperse the angry white mobs outside, which had burned cars in an attempt to intimidate those inside the church.

Through her experiences as an activist, Nash said she was roughed up and jailed, but otherwise emerged unscathed. The Freedom Rides were successful in contributing to raising awareness of the deep racism and segregation of the South and helped draw the Kennedy administration into pushing for Civil Rights for all Americans.

In her remarks on Tuesday, Nash urged the students in attendance not to rely on elected officials to enact change, but to use their own voices. The only person someone can truly change is themself, she said, and freedom is a constant struggle. She challenged the students to step up and meet the challenges that their generation faces.

After speaking, Nash participated in a panel discussion with Goodwin students and faculty. Marlon Jengelly, a student in Goodwin’s Men of Vision in Education (MOVE) program, said that his generation does have a responsibility of its own.

“It’s our duty to step into your shoes and continue what you started,” Jengelly said.

Ciarah Cox, a student in MOVE’s counterpart program, Women Invested in Securing an Education (WISE), said her generation couldn’t afford to take things like the struggle for civil rights for granted.

“We have our own problems in our generation that we need to take care of,” Cox said.

Nash’s visit marked the unofficial beginning of Goodwin’s Black History Month Celebration, which gets underway on Thursday, Jan. 31, at 11 a.m. in the College Auditorium. This year’s theme is “Tipping Points,” and throughout the month of February, Goodwin will be hosting forums and events that celebrate pivotal moments in history, including the 150th anniversary of President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation and the 50th anniversary of Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech.

Goodwin College South Meadow River Trail Expansion

Imagine a walk in the woods in East Hartford. Goodwin College is planning on making that happen.

Located in the midst of highly urbanized community with limited open and green spaces, Goodwin College is planning to prepare trails in South Meadows properties for public use. The College is hosting a meeting on January 21, 6:30 p.m., at its River Campus, One Riverside Drive, East Hartford. All are invited to attend to learn more about the trails.

The College hopes to create a universal access trail in South Meadows property that extends from its Living Laboratory to the Connecticut River. The effort will give the community, from public school students to Goodwin College guests, guided tours of the South Meadows and access to the Connecticut River.

To assist with trail enhancements, Goodwin College is seeking a grant from Department of Environment and Energy Recreational Trails Program.

At the meeting, residents in adjacent homes and community will have the opportunity to comment on the proposed trail.

For more information, please call Todd Andrews at 860-291-9934.

 

Upcoming Event – Hockanum Park

Join Jim Woodworth and Bruce Morton and take a walk through the meadows! Here’s your chance to learn, experiment, and explore nature. We hope you can make it! Below are the details:

Saturday, Feb 9, 9:00 am to 11:00 am, East Hartford.  Meet Jim Woodworth and Goodwin College’s Bruce Morton, Program Director of Environmental Studies, at Hockanum Park, 324 High St. Explore our Wilson-Carvalho and Hockanum Meadows parcels in the “Wethersfield Triangle” of land marooned on the east side by the meandering of the river.  Goodwin College students are studying environmental science here, experimenting with invasive species control and habitat enhancement.
From route 2 west, take exit 5 A, Main St. At the second traffic light take a left, and then another left and under the highway onto High St. From route 2 east, take exit 5 A, High St. Once on High St, follow it south, past the elementary school, to the park on the left.