On February 23, 2013, Ms. Aisha Crawford was awarded the 27th annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Service Award. The award was established in 1986 to honor the memory of the late civil rights leader and one of the strongest examples of humanity, compassion and strength our nation has given to the world. It is given to a deserving student who has gone “beyond expectations” in making outstanding contributions in the area of social justice through service, particularly service to the UNCG community. The award was presented to Aisha at the annual MLK Celebration held at Aycock Auditorium. The theme this year was “Empowerment Through Diversity: Sharing the Dream” and was presented in partnership with North Carolina A&T State University in front of a packed house.
Aisha is a senior majoring in Political Science. Since coming to UNCG Aisha has been committed to developing strong leadership skills with the goal of serving those around her. As a freshman she immediately immersed herself in several high impact learning opportunities, such as Leadership Challenge, the Leadership Impact Course, Leadershape and working with the Office of Leadership and Service Learning. She has participated in UNCG Spartan Service Days and MLK Service Days every year, has been a mentor for Latino and African American teens through the YMCA Young Achievers Program and has tutored new immigrant students through the Center for New North Carolinians. As the Social Advocate Intern for the Latin American Coalition she created resources that helped parents and students understand their options for secondary education. Over time, she was able to dig deep and find ways to challenge herself to go beyond the many opportunities presented to her and develop her own vision for service to others and inspire those around her towards change. This is exemplified through the many relief trips that she has contributed to and helped organize around issues of hunger, homelessness and poverty. As one of her recommenders said, “Leading by example, Aisha quickly showed fellow students and client staff not only the importance and need for community service, but that service could also be fun and personally enjoyable…She taught all of those around her the joy that she gained from such service and how each of us could also benefit from serving others…She has the unique ability to transmit her enthusiasm to those she serves as well as those who serve by her side.”
Aisha also understands the importance of connecting with struggles in the global community. During her time studying abroad in Peru she volunteered to build houses in the village she was staying in as well as spend time reading to local children who would line up and wait for her to arrive.
In Aisha’s own words, “I strongly believe that beyond material things the love and compassion that people can have for one another can fix many situations…The best resource is collective action and the willingness to serve others.”