Marcus Hayes at MLK breakfast receiving Inclusion Champion Award

On Jan. 16, Department of Theatre and Dance chair Marcus Hayes received the first APSU 2023 Inclusion Champion award at APSU’s first Martin Luther King Jr. Breakfast. 

Hayes stated that his fight for change and activism became real to him after growing up in Alabama. 

Hayes was apart of the Black Students United organization as a junior in college. With one Black faculty member in the school he and other members of BSU wanted to see the changes in the ’90s that those in the ’60s were asking for. 

“I went to a predominantly white institution where there were only 20 Black students, and about six graduated with me,” said Hayes. 

However, after events like George Floyd’s death in 2020 Hayes realized something had to be done so that students can become more aware of what is happening in the world around them. 

Hayes stated, “It is so important to help people draw connections because once connections are drawn, thinking begins to evolve.”

He continued with, “people think that things are better. Is it really better when certain groups of people do not have access to necessary needs? Women, different classes, those a part of the LGBTQIA+ community. No, so we must keep pushing for inclusion.”

Hayes wants students and society as a whole to remember to take your personal ego out and encourage others so that they can move the needle forward. 

“We are all standing on someone’s shoulders, and the next person will have to stand on someone else’s shoulders to make sure a change does come.”