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ENGAGEMENT: FINDING A NEST Bird Nest Found on the CI Campus Grounds (2014) ROAR! “YOU CAN'T WALK ALONE. MANY HAVE GIVEN THE ILLUSION, BUT NONE HAVE REALLY WALKED ALONE. MAN IS NOT MADE THAT WAY. EACH MAN IS BEDDED IN HIS PEOPLE, THEIR HISTORY, THEIR CULTURE, AND THEIR VALUES.” 78 PETER A BRAHAMS Nests 79 are constructed based upon primitive, instinctual, and age-old practices. There is not a class for birds on building a better and more diverse nest. They do not consider opinions or gather a consensus from other animals regarding what their nest should or should not include. Birds do not question the necessity of a nest. They simply make it happen to protect themselves and their offspring. Oftentimes as people, we can think too much and act too little. Part of this can be attributed to the fact that there are certain behaviors which are innate, whereas others are intellectual. Psychologists refer to this struggle as nature versus nurture, 80 and there is research to support the merits and shortcomings of each. The nest pictured in this section conveys balance between nature and nurture and serves as a metaphor for effective community engagement. THE TIGER & THE TORCH Page | 56

Community can also be described as a feeling, a mutual connection, or even an emotional space where one feels at home. Because community can also be intangible, the process of creating PLACE (Purpose, Leadership, Access, Choice and Engagement) can be as complex as building a nest. At some point, though, seemingly unrelated experiences can be woven together to make a safe and welcoming place for people to live and learn. An empty nest however conveys the exact opposite and evokes a sense of loss. Yet, it can also represent changes in the environment or changing seasons in life. Sometimes seasons require staying put and other times, seasons require moving elsewhere. Migrations occur because of environmental changes whereby the current conditions aren’t suitable for living. It’s the perpetual coming and going that makes it possible for a bird to determine the ideal location and materials with which to build its home. Image Credit: Junie Lee: Africana Book Nests are temporary residences. Once the eggs have been laid and hatch, the nest is often abandoned. 81 The advent of mandated desegregation with the Civil Rights Act of 1964 82 prompted massive societal migrations. Many of the homes that were built by Blacks, financed by Black banks and occupied by Black families were quickly abandoned. The same also held true for businesses, parks and schools. Highways were cut through the middle of predominantly or exclusively Black neighborhoods in the name of progress. Although a new-found freedom began to emerge, engagement took on a new form and many places in the Black community wound up being empty nests. ROAR! IT’ S BEEN SAID THAT HISTORY REPEATS ITSELF; HOWEVER, “THERE IS NO REASON TO REPEAT BAD HISTORY.” 83 ELEANOR H OLMES NORTON THE TIGER & THE TORCH Page | 57

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