MCC art professor Athesia Benjamin has always been an informed and socially aware citizen, if not necessarily on the front lines of civic activism. This election, however, sparked Athesia to turn awareness into engagement with new found passion.
Inspired by Bernie Sanders’ message, Athesia worked tirelessly at the Culver and Parcells headquarters, appeared in a major campaign video, and wrote the Sander’s endorsement statement for the Democrat and Chronicle.
Alarmed by Trump’s campaign, she started the blog 20016electiongotmelike to express in drawings and writings her “awesome disgust of Donald J. Trump.” Athesia even made an anti-Cruz sign held outside his rally at MCC.
As the election neared, Athesia almost singlehandedly organized a highly successful protest at the Liberty Pole against the Dakota Access Pipeline where she “was a firebrand and a spitfire, revving up and inspiring the crowd.” (see Iakaonne´tha ne oneka )
To Athesia the election felt like crashing unexpectedly through thin ice into stinging cold water.
But she got right back up.
As reported earlier today by WXXI, (“Event aims to transform fear into activism”), Athesia has (almost singlehandedly again) organized an Activism Fair scheduled for Saturday, January 14, at the Visual Studies Workshop at 31 Prince Street from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m:
Some 30 local groups are joining forces to host a Rochester Activism Fair this coming weekend.
Organizations such as the Citizens Climate Lobby, Monroe County Young Democrats, and the Gay Alliance hope to recruit volunteers who are committed to social justice and political change, but aren’t sure how to proceed.
Athesia Benjamin is one of the organizers of the event. She says it was inspired by collective fears about what the incoming Trump administration will mean for a host of civil liberties.
Many of us feel as though we are being alarmist in our desire to protect these liberties that feel threatened, but I think that’s just good preparation. We need to be ready and prepared to combat this threat in a way that we never have before.