Campus News MEC Voices

MEC Voices: A call to action that amplifies the legacy of Medgar Evers

James Viafara
James Viafara was a speaker at a Black Male Initiative event in February

By James Viafara  |

This academic year is developing against the backdrop of our national election. Our votes could accelerate changes and our voices could ensure that communities are strengthened and that the people justly flourish.

The students across the country are aware of the necessity for new policies that will restore the prosperity and security of families. Ongoing trials and threats call for our immediate attention. Medgar Evers College is committed to addressing issues including food insecurity, housing insecurity, and the increasing crime rates impacting Brooklyn which are imperative to policy implementation.

The political climate calls for our remembrance of the figures who fought against disenfranchisement and oppression for centuries. Medgar Evers is one such figure. The legacy of Medgar Wiley Evers transcends his time advocating for justice; his work catalyzed advocacy and intervention from people across the nation. The struggles of countless pioneers resulted in the Voting Rights Act of 1965, a statute that helped to enfranchise Black voters who were previously unable to participate in the democratic process.

Unfortunately, the perpetuation of voter suppression continues, and our ongoing civic engagement is essential to upholding the changes our community fought for.

The stories of hundreds of civil rights figures have echoed for generations and the lasting impact of Medgar Evers is witnessed by the graduates of Medgar Evers College every semester. The impact of the Voting Rights advocacy pioneered by Medgar Evers developed from vigils and voter education drives in Jackson, Mississippi to the institution of a polling site at Medgar Evers College where thousands convene during the electoral cycles to cast their ballots.

The lasting memory of the efforts he led continues to shape the lives of the community.

Walking down Medgar Evers College Lane the student body is prompted to remember the past and to aspire for greater things, walking across the graduation stage students are reminded of the strength to endure and the power to overcome that sustained them throughout the years.

In 2024, the United States of America is nearing a pivotal moment for youth and the American people are willing to stand against injustice once more.

James Viafara recently spent an afternoon at ABC7 New York studios learning how to amplify younger voices.
James Viafara recently spent an afternoon at ABC7 New York studios learning how to amplify younger voices.


This year awaits many trying decisions for our student body and the Crown Heights community. Our civic engagement can break barriers and establish a greater force for justice that goes beyond the electoral cycles.

My call to action for our students is to register to vote for this electoral cycle. The next presidential election is scheduled for Tuesday, November 5 and it is a definitive election for the country.

There are many other elections in addition to the presidential election this year. It is of great importance that we understand the impact of our vote, on deciding the present representatives and prospective candidates.

On Tuesday, June 25 the New York primary elections will determine the New York State Legislature including our New York State Senator and New York State Assembly members.

The June 25 election will also determine the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate officials. It is time for the ballots to reflect the requests of youth who will be most impacted by the social issues we are witnessing.

Voting is not the only way to accomplish changes, however.

There are numerous community organizations and government agencies working to protect civil liberties.

The Center for Law and Social Justice here at Medgar Evers College is focused on providing resources and advocating for the issues of importance in communities of color: voter education and voter engagement. The advocacy efforts of Ms. Lurie Daniel Favors and several interns have greatly impacted the community and the Center for Law and Social Justice has played a key role in the institution of new laws for New York State.

The DuBois Bunche Center for Public Policy formerly directed by our beloved Dr. John Flateau (2023) has been tasked with researching and assessing the resolution to social problems and disparities in the policy process to develop a conscious approach to legislative establishment.

The Transition Academy at Medgar Evers College directed by Dr. Waleek Boone is a groundbreaking organization that has served students and the community at large.

The Transition Academy connects students with housing, employment opportunities, and transportation. The program combats food insecurity through its school pantry, community, and mobile pantry. The ‘Tools for Tenants’ event on April 18 from 6 p.m. – 8 p.m. led us through a forum on defending your rights and protecting your housing along with a presentation from housing advocates.

The NAACP chapter at Medgar Evers College is arduously working on reactivation to better support students interested in political development and education alternatives that can create grassroots movements for the region.

The student government at Medgar Evers College is seeking electoral candidates to implement laws on campus and to develop policies for the benefit of the people.

My name is James Viafara, and I am urging you to get involved here at Medgar Evers College and to become engaged with organizations that can break the cycle of suppression and bring your requests to fruition.

Register to vote, attend your community board meetings, and speak to your fellow students about the ways to unite for peace and freedom.