SOA’s Taylor Flake and Rakesha Gray Named 2016 Lasallian Fellows

29235326926_b81977c5d1_zTaylor Flake can be most easily described as a “Drum Major for Justice.” These are the words that come to mind when describing CBU senior Taylor Flake and her untiring mission to seek economic and social justice for all. Taylor, a 2013-14 Trustee Scholar, is a history major with minors in Spanish, political science and global studies. Her academic pursuits complement her desire to serve a wide range of constituents in her desired career path as attorney and judge.

While Taylor has assumed leadership roles in many student organizations at CBU, her most significant include being founder and president of the CBU Chapter of the NAACP (National Association for the Advance of Colored People), which received the College Chapter of the Year Award and is the first NAACP chapter at a Lasallian university.  The Chapter’s advisor, Dr. Jeffrey Gross, reminds us of why having an NAACP chapter at CBU is so important: “An NAACP chapter on this campus ensures that students will have the opportunity to discuss and learn about the ways prejudice affects people. Education creates a foundation for advocacy and empowerment. Education is the foundation of justice.”

Despite the onerous work of founding a new organization and nurturing it to maturity, Taylor has found the time to contribute to the Tennessee Intercollegiate Supreme Court, Student Activities Council, Lasallian Collegians, Young Ladies United, the CBU Honors Program Board of Directors, the CBU Student Government Association, and Phi Alpha Delta Pre Law Fraternity. For her excellent leadership and service, Taylor received the CBU Spirit Award and was named 2015 CBU Senator of the Year.

In addition,Taylor has collaborated with other organizations to address critical issues facing the Memphis community, including the Juvenile Justice Summit, NAACP Reads, and the Black Lives Matter campaign. Taylor Flake is definitely a change-maker with a heart and conscience for serving and a desire for ensuring justice and equality for individuals from all walks of life. She has already been recognized with the 2015 Vanderhaar Student Peace Award, given to a college student within the city of Memphis involved in non-violent work for peace and justice, and absolutely deserves to be named a 2016-17 CBU Lasallian Fellow.

 

29235326626_80a527ca9c_zRaKesha Gray may be one of the most beloved students ever to walk the halls of CBU; she is simply one of the most positive, inspirational, generous, thoughtful, and loving people on our campus. RaKesha, a Religion and Philosophy major, always has a warm smile, a good word, and an open heart for those she meets. It is, therefore, no surprise that she plans to pursue a career in community service or education. Her many positive qualities will certainly be gifts to those she serves and teaches.

RaKesha has been a constant source of joy in her many activities on and off-campus. At CBU, RaKesha has contributed her time and talents to the Divine Voices gospel choir, Young Ladies United, the NAACP, Campus Ministry, Residence Life, President’s Ambassadors, and the CBU Honors Program, where she has held the offices of President and Vice-President. In her “time-off” she has been a tireless servant for Creative Life, a community youth development organization whose purpose is to provide creative learning opportunities to under-served youth in South Memphis. RaKesha volunteers for their summer feeding program (which has prepared over 12,000 meals for families in poverty), conducts ACT Prep sessions, and sets up and attends college tours with high school students. She promotes, coordinates, and plans weekly spiritual empowerment services and participates in Creative Life’s performing arts program by acting in plays and choreographing dances for the younger girls.

Because of her many positive attributes and activities, RaKesha Gray is no stranger to recognition, having received the CBU Spirit Award, the St. Thomas More Service award, and was named Ms. CBU at the 2016 CBU Homecoming. In addition, as a result of her dedication to Creative Life, Inc. RaKesha was the recipient of the organization’s 2015 Champion Award.

RaKesha Gray is an incredible young woman who truly embodies the spirit and love of CBU, and it is, therefore, befitting that she be named a 2016-17 CBU Lasallian Fellow.

Learn more about CBU’s other Lasallian Fellows.