ICCTA Gandhi/King Peace Essay Scholarship

Ashlyn Jackson

John A. Logan College
2022 Recipient

Gandhi and King were activists for a nonviolent movement that helped people to gain rights. Their efforts for equality were demonstrated through selflessness, expression of love and advocacy for the oppressed and for people of color. They worked to promote justice in our communities, that everyone should be treated fairly and respectfully. “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere, said Dr. Martin Luther King”, Jr., as a preacher from my local community emphasized during a sermon when I was 8 years old. It was this age, I discovered my purpose and passion to be a young leader and entrepreneur in Carbondale, IL. Throughout my life, I have heard these words by Dr. King quoted by various leaders in my local community. This inspiring quote continues to empower and inspire me as I work to complete my higher education.

My name is Ashlyn Jackson, and I am a current student at John A. Logan College, majoring in Heating and Air Conditioning (HVAC) Technology. I have a strong desire to become an entrepreneur in this industry. Today, within our community, young people lose their vision and dreams and they, too often, forget to reach upward so that those dreams can become reality. To me this is an epidemic which has caused stagnation and poverty. Currently, I contribute to the Gandhi and King’s vision by being a great mother and community member. I am an active member of the Carbondale’s Praise Outreach Community Ministries. 

I inspire and motivate people to evaluate their own goals and allow themselves to discover their own potentials. I do this with the young men and women on the Northeast side of Carbondale, by mentoring and discussing with them the current problems and issues they face. I help many of these young people by connecting them to resources where they can find employment and educational opportunities. A quote from Mahatma Gandhi, “Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.” I am making great efforts to walk the talk and realize this statement. Over the last four years, I have discovered that my life is an example for people I meet in my community and that my education and career goals are part of my harmony. 

I participated in several Carbondale activities like the Nonviolent Sunrise Movement Organization during the candlelight vigil for the Late George Floyd as well as several peaceful marches organized by the Carbondale NAACP branch. Last year, I wrote to Senator Tammy Duckworth about the homeless situation, which resulted in community leaders collaborating and developing a community warming center. 

As an aspiring young black woman entrepreneur, I am confident that I will continue to pave the way for others who have similar experiences as me. I embody every dream that Dr. King and Gandhi believed would be possible. I am the realization of the dreams of these two giant advocates of peace and justice and will continue to carry on their legacy.