North Park University proudly named CAIR-Chicago’s Outreach Coordinator Gerald Hankerson, “Man of Excellence” on March 22nd commemorating his years of activism and commitment to outreach service. Hankerson visited with North Park University students to discuss his life of activism and service to the communities across Chicagoland.
Drawing from his own experience with helping communities from outreach work, public education, interfaith, to civic engagement and community mobilization, Hankerson reflected on the importance of young generations to become actively involved in their respective communities.
In a context of civil liberties at risk, rights being neglected, and institutional inequalities, the need for raising awareness and active civic engagement is more pressing than ever. Hankerson explained that becoming apart of the solution means getting involved. He encouraged students to start with becoming active on campus. The university setting serves as a ripe opportunity for focusing on an issue and having substantial results, with numerous student organizations and professors with ample experience to serve as advisers.
Hankerson reminded students that they don’t need to wait to pursue a career in community activism but they can become involved now. The key is to hone in on where your passion lies and transform that into constructive action.
Students joined in discussion and brainstormed about what issues they could tackle and reflected on current events like Trayvon Martin and how that reflects racism that remains prevalent in our communities. The group also discussed Islamophobia and how they can challenge stereotypes in the media.