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CSW Honors MLK Jr. with Panel on Grassroots Organizing

In honor of the late Reverend Martin Luther King Jr., student ambassadors from CSW’s Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging Office helped to organize a panel conversation with local grassroots community organizers. 

Hasan Sanders ’24 provided context for the discussion and introduced the panelists: Dr. Ebera Azumah from Love Your Menses; Camelia Foroohar from the Rosa Amarilla Project; Anna Fantozzi from Cradles to Crayons, and Julie Najjumba and Ivy Branscomb from Africano Waltham. All of these organizations are also community engagement partners through CSW’s PACE (Promoting Awareness and Community Engagement) program. The conversation was led by Dana Howell Brimage ’25. 

“If you have a passion — do it,” said Dr. Azumah, when asked to provide advice and inspiration for aspiring community organizers. “There is so much need in the world. Choose to be the help.” Dr. Azumah’s organization promotes menstrual health and shares information and knowledge to young people. She admitted that when it comes to building an organization from the ground up, there are going to be roadblocks and challenges, but insisted that these things are a natural and expected part of the process. 

Camelia Foroohar runs the Rosa Amarilla Project, a movement that places volunteers in medical residential centers to connect with and provide support for non-English speakers. She shared that when one is just starting out, there can be a lot of self doubt, but that education and research are key. 

Julie Najjumba and Ivy Branscomb of Africano Waltham, a non-profit that provides space and support for African immigrant youth and their families, shared the importance of listening. “Those nearest to the problem need to have a seat at the table,” Najjumba explained. This is an important concept to keep in mind when seeking to provide support for others.

Anna Fantozzi of Cradles to Crayons, a need-based non-profit that assists with resource distribution, stressed the value of respecting and upholding the dignity of the communities one is hoping to support and represent. “What we donate and pass on to people affects how they feel,” she explained. “That is why we have very strict quality standards when it comes to the kinds of donations we accept.” 

After the panel, audience members had the chance to ask questions, before the community was dismissed to engage in action hours — time committed to making phone calls, signing petitions, and writing letters — in advisory groups. 

Many thanks to all of our speakers and organizers for a wonderful day!

The Cambridge School of Weston is a progressive high school for day and boarding students in grades 9–12 and PG. CSW's mission is to provide a progressive education that emphasizes deep learning, meaningful relationships, and a dynamic program that inspires students to discover who they are and what their contribution is to their school, their community and the world.