Crystal C. Mercer (’19) will be the keynote speaker for the Martin Luther King, Jr. “Day of Service” observance on Wednesday, January 15 at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences. Mercer will speak at 11:30 a.m. at the Jackson T. Stephens Spine and Neuroscience Institute.
The day is part of the UAMS Serves Challenge, which challenges employees to perform community service from Jan. 15 to June 30, 2020. The Division for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion will recognize individuals, teams, departments and units with the highest number of volunteer community service hours during our UAMS Diversity and Inclusion Month in September 2020.
Mercer was invited to speak by childhood friend Andrea Neal, who works at UAMS and is on a committee to facilitate more programming geared towards Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.
“With the lens of arts and activism and my late father's legacy, Attorney Christopher C. Mercer, Jr., the committee thought I would be a perfect fit for their program,” Mercer said.
Mercer said that she would be putting her Master of Public Service from the Clinton School to work: “I learned so much about service, who I want to serve, and how I can serve them.”
“My classroom discourse, and international experience with The Nubuke Foundation, wearing my hats to fill the needs of the organization at the time I was an Academic-In-Residence, really prepared me to tackle the hard work that is required when you serve others,” Mercer said. “I plan to talk about some of those experiences in depth during my keynote address.”
In the summer of 2018, she traveled to Accra, Ghana to spend seven months with the Nubuke Foundation. Mercer created a strategic plan for the use of creative mediums to fulfill the foundation’s commitment to recording and preserving Ghanaian culture. Additionally, she assisted in the implementation of artistic programming, including theatre and poetry.
In her time as a student at the Clinton School, Mercer released a book of poetry, “A Love Story Waiting to Happen.” She discussed the book and read excerpts as part of the Clinton School Speaker Series in January 2018, becoming the first active student to take part in the school’s lecture series.
The Clinton School Speaker Series not only enhances the education of Clinton School students, but also provides a venue for the public to engage in intellectual discussions on the issues of the day.