As She Prepares to Graduate, Senior Reflects on Experience as Chair of May 4 Task Force
Serving as the Chair of the May 4 Task Force has been something communication studies major Avery Hall, ’23, describes as one of the most impactful and rewarding experiences she’s had at Kent State University.
“May 4, 1970, is a living legacy at Kent State with relevant implications for students today. Continuing the legacy of May 4th quickly became of great importance to me,” she said.
The May 4 Task Force is a student-led organization that focuses on year-round efforts to honor the memory of May 4 through activism, education and working to understand what the events of May 4, 1970, mean to students today. As Chair, Hall, an Honors College student, leads the programming, advocacy and educational efforts, plays a significant role in planning the annual commemoration and engages in student and community outreach.
Joining the Task Force during her freshman year and serving as chair for two consecutive years has given Hall opportunities to work with supportive individuals and be a part of meaningful interactions. Hall said she appreciates the support given to the Task Force from the university, and how faculty and staff help keep the memory alive by supporting their advocacy efforts. Additionally, she has heard inspiring stories from survivors, alumni and community members.
“Last year, I had the chance to meet and talk with survivors of May 4, 1970, several of whom suffered injuries from the gunfire,” Hall said.
“Their stories are powerful, and their spirits, despite the adversity and trauma, are lively. I am inspired by them deeply, and their devotion to coming back to campus year after year is honorable. Whenever I look back on those conversations, I am reminded of why this work is vital and profoundly important on this campus.”
Through this leadership opportunity, Hall was able to further develop skills she learned in the classroom, including public speaking, professional organization skills and research analysis. She credits the course Introduction to Media Advocacy for helping her understand impactful historical movements and skills that can be used in advocating for important causes today.
“Professor Stephanie Smith’s drive for student activism and change in our nation continues to be deeply inspiring for me, and learning about the logistics of powerful movements has allowed me to assess and adjust the approach and tactics of the Task Force,” Hall said.
The 53rd Commemoration is set for May 3-4, 2023, with a schedule of events available online. For a complete schedule of this year’s programming and for more information on the task force, visit the organization’s Instagram.