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Mercy College Reflects, Honors and Serves on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

Volunteering at Bronx Fire

In celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day (MLK Jr. Day), Mercy College students, alumni, faculty, staff and community partners have come together to reflect on the holiday’s meaning and honor the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. by engaging in acts of service. With many still reeling from the effects of the pandemic and other crises that have burdened our local communities, the College pays tribute to King’s commitment to service by giving back during a heightened time of need. 

King encouraged people to engage in positive action, such as volunteerism, to incite change and togetherness. Guided in part by King’s philosophy of servant leadership, Mercy College is working with Bronx leaders on relief efforts in response to the devastating fire that broke out at an apartment building in the Fordham Heights section of the Bronx on January 9, 2022. These efforts include being a collection site for needed supplies as well as providing the needed support of transporting donated materials from various drop-off sites to ensure they reach the residents who have been relocated to a nearby hotel.   

Marques Payne '09, associate director of public relations and community outreach at Mercy College, invokes King as he helps lead the Bronx fire response efforts. “As a Bronx resident, I was immediately moved to action, along with Mercy College, to help my neighbors in any way possible,” said Payne. “Mercy College was swift to donate resources and give back to the West African immigrants impacted by the fire, which took place about a week before Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. We can’t help but be motivated by King’s commitment to helping those most in need.” 

In reflecting on how he will continue to emulate King, Payne plans to use his position at Mercy to continue opening doors for communities of color and bringing people together from diverse backgrounds to impact positive social change. “King’s love for his fellowman and willingness to work through what others would view as improbable barriers is honorable,” said Payne. 

Like Payne, Mercy College student and Mercy Scholar Nyla Green ’24 is motivated by King’s ability to overcome challenges and see them as opportunities to grow. “One of the things I admire most about Martin Luther King, Jr. was how driven he was–how he kept going and encouraged others to do the same,” said Green. She also sees MLK Jr. Day as a time to remember that it is essential to live life to the fullest and pursue your aspirations to the best of your abilities.  

Mercy College’s community partners also attribute King to inspiring their career and volunteer pursuits. Sarah Bracey White, executive director of cultural affairs for the Town of Greenburgh and author of “From Primary Lessons,” attributes King’s “I Have a Dream” speech to inspiring her to overcome obstacles and pursue her dreams of becoming a writer and arts consultant. The College is honored to have Bracey White as a speaker at its upcoming virtual Black History Month community reception taking place Wednesday, February 9 from 5 to 6 p.m. 

We invite you to attend Mercy’s virtual Black History Month community reception hosted by President Hall. To register please click here. 

To learn more about how you can help those impacted by the Jan. 9 Bronx apartment fire, please see below: 

Bronx fire