On Feb. 16, the Bragg Harvard Muhammad Smith (BHMS) “Why We Can’t Wait” fund will be holding a fundraiser event during the movie “Black Panther.”
The BHMS “Why We Can’t Wait” fund was created in 2010 by Grand Rapids Community College English Professor, Mursalata Muhammad. The fund is intended to assist GRCC students who are interested or going into a public service career, such as law enforcement, healthcare and education.
“This is the first year this fund was able to (use) the larger scholarship which is $3,000,” Muhammad said. “The scholarship committee awarded it to two students who are in the police academy. They are getting $1,500 each.”
Tracy Harrell and Yamel Marmolejos-Tolentino were awarded the scholarships this semester. They were also treated to lunch on Jan. 26, at the Heritage restaurant.
The fund was also able to award five GRCC students $150 scholarships each for attending The Bob and Aleicia Woodrick Center for Equity and Inclusion two-day Institute for Healing Racism workshops.
Muhammad and her husband Will Smith, decided to start a scholarship that focused on civic engagement and public service.
In addition to their surnames, the couple decided to include her husband’s brother-in-law, Chester Bragg, a police officer in South Carolina who died suddenly two years ago. Muhammad also included her grandfather’s last name, Harvard. Claude Harvard started a workforce development program in the late 1960’s in Detroit.
So far, from 2017 to 2018 Muhammad has raised $3,750 from conducting several fundraisers in addition to making her contributions. The first fundraiser she organized was for the premiere of “Selma.” The most recent BHMS fundraiser was a partnership with the GRCC Secchia Institute for an “Intercultural Holiday Dinner” at the Heritage restaurant featuring a five-course meal. The proceeds for the dinner went toward the BHMS scholarship fund and the Secchia Institute for Culinary Art student scholarship.
“This year, we gave out $3,750 and we expect to do that every year,” Muhammad said. “Our goal is to grow the fund enough so that we can have at least one full scholarship for the police academy and still be able to give out the $3,750 in other scholarships.”
The BHMS fund will be offering tickets for $20 on Fri., Feb. 16, at Celebration Cinema South located in Gaines Township, for the 7:15 p.m. screening of “Black Panther.” The $20 purchase will include a movie ticket, small popcorn, small drink and a donation of $8 towards the BHMS scholarship fund. There will be a free raffle included with the purchase and participants are able to win a brand new $220 Micro-Kickboard Scooter.
Muhammad said she is hoping to get 100 people to come out and support this cause.
Students and staff will be able to purchase tickets online (with a small service fee included), or pick up tickets at the Grand Rapids Urban League, an organization that is partnering with Muhammad for the event. They are located at 745 Eastern Ave SE, in Grand Rapids. The first 50 people to buy tickets will receive a free comic book.