Community Celebrates MLK week


Allyson Bennett

Students work on MoonBee Menstrual products in Old Chapel. Organizers split the group into teams to work on each aspect of the menstrual product creation process.

Allyson Bennett and Craig Efraiti

A student creating a blanket during the Make a Blanket event. Students had a paper guiding them to create each blanket and spent 2 hours creating them to be donated. (Allyson Bennett)

Martin Luther King Jr. Day was on Monday, January 16, but that did not stop the Union community from celebrating his legacy through community service and discussions throughout the week. Throughout the week, members of the community listened to a discussion from Dr. Eric Dyson on King’s legacy, made fleece blankets, and made menstrual products. 

On Tuesday, January 17, Dr. Eric Dyson from Vanderbilt University gave a talk titled “Dr. King’s Dream: How Do We Get There?” in the Nott Memorial. The talk discussed Dr. King’s “I have a Dream” speech and the subsequent events before and after, from Dr. King’s wife telling him to give the speech to the day he was assassinated. Dr. Dyson then discussed how education is about discomfort and how we can change to fulfill Dr. King’s dream. 

“First, we evolve and acknowledge the nightmare to get to King’s dream—police brutality and racism… Then we must see the interconnections between multiple forms of oppression- Black, Brown, Asian… Lastly we must prioritize women and put all women first, in particular women of color,” Dr. Dyson remarked. 

We interviewed the audience to get a sense of how Dr. Dyson’s talk impacted them. 

“For me, I like how the speech connected to today’s time and it’s easy to get lost in so many things happening. Actions from the speech connecting to today stood out the most,” Jaythean Im ‘26 remarked. 

“I attended this event because these conversations are important, especially as a white student, I am always trying to learn and be better and these events and conversations allow me to do that,” Ella Harper-Schieho ‘23 said. 

On Wednesday, January 18, students made menstrual products through Project MoonBee in Old Chapel. “During a MoonBee, volunteers assemble MoonCatcher Kits—reusable, washable menstrual management kits. Volunteers help to measure, cut and prepare the materials needed for the kits. It’s a fun, relaxed way to get in touch with your crafty side while serving an important cause,” A Kenney Community Center representative explained. 

Ellie Von Wellsheim, the leader of the MoonCatcher project, led students through the process of making a kit. Students were assigned to tables where they cut ropes, quilts, and templates to make the kits. 

“As a kid, I had a lot of stigma surrounding menstruation, and I got past that but now I want to help out and support other people,” Alex Rosinski ‘26, a participant in the MoonBee event, remarked. 

The week finished with a fleece blanket creation event on Friday, January 20. Students sat on the floor and cut blankets according to templates. There were many students and some had to go to another room to complete their fleece blankets. 

It is a fun way to provide a volunteer activity on campus that benefits local nursing home residents. We have donated blankets in the past to Heritage Home for Women, Baptist Health Nursing & Rehabilitation and Schenectady Center nursing homes,” A spokesperson for the Kenney Community Center said. 

The Kenney Community Center hosts a wide range of community service opportunities for the campus community. The Center also hosts the Science and Technology Education Program (STEP) for middle and high school students. 

Furthermore, “This year, we are partnering with Discovery Academy… an ongoing program that is based at the Kenney Center. Young adults with intellectual developmental disabilities are on campus Mondays through Fridays with their teacher having a college campus experience… Any students or clubs that would like to host an activity with Discovery Academy students should email us at [email protected],” A spokesperson for the Community Center said.