MLKSA encourages students to “Stay Woke”

Photos courtesy of Shaaliyah Lyons

Photo courtesy of Shaaliyah Lyons

“Stay Woke” has become the forefront of the Martin Luther King Student Association (MLKSA) initiative to discuss and confront hate in communities.

A social conscious program, the Open Forum, which doesn’t have a set date, will include programs and events which run for a week on campus. MLKSA is working to extend this into a month long campaign that focuses on the message of promoting social action within the community through its theme of “Stay Woke.”

The committee is planning to bring a well-known speaker to the main event and follow with a discussion where students will be allowed to participate.

Shaaliyah T. Lyons, co-chair of the open forum and a sports management major with a minor in Africana Studies and a certification in entrepreneurial studies, said the specific details as to when the events will be held is yet to be determined. Lyons added that the overall program is meant to inspire students to commit to change in their communities and come to a place of understanding and growth when discussing and handling violence and injustice.

“I’m sure anyone can go on Facebook and see that something needs to happen,” Lyons said.  “Some people are filled with hate, some with anger, and others with ignorance. Now is the time to figure out how we can get these people all on the same page and work towards a better understanding of each other.”

Lyons explained that in order to promote this program, MLKSA is raising money for a guest to speak on campus through multiple fundraising initiatives.

The organization has set up a website that sells T-shirts and pins which have, “I Stay Woke,” printed on them to project the clubs message and raise money.

“There are countless ways that the program could impact the SHU community,” Lyons added. “If everyone, from all different backgrounds can come to our program and have open dialogue and uncomfortable conversations, we can really foster a magical sort of change that can be modeled all over.”

Organizations such as Africana Student Association, Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority, Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity, Black Men of Standard, Black Student Union, Phi Beta Sigma fraternity, West Indian Student Association, and Zeta Phi Beta Sorority are collaborating with MLKSA for the program.

They are also communicating with the Multicultural Advisory Committee and additional organizations for this program.

Nisha Desai can be reached at

Author: Nisha Desai

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