Bonner Brothers- Episode 4 Transcript
Hey guys, welcome to the Bonner podcast. I am here with Miranda. Miranda. How are you today?
Good you I am good.
How’s your cat doing?
Oh, he’s doing very well. Yeah. Living his best life.
What’s his name again?
Sylvester. He’s been with me since freshman year. And he’s, he was a year on I brought him so he’s five years old now.
And hes a support animal?
yes an ESA an emotional support animal. He’s approved. He lives with me in the dorms. Real popular guy. Always has been.
So I want to talk a little bit about some of the stuff that you participate in at Emory and Henry. Can you talk us about the app center? You work here, right?
Yeah, I’ve worked here since freshman year. So um, when I first started working here, I essentially work the front desk, I answered calls, I check the App center email, which I mean, I still do. My biggest thing I do is I help the faculty that’s in this building. Tal Stanley Scott Sikes Bradley Hartsell. And now we have Megan Hamilton and Leah Wilson with us, which is really exciting. And yes, I do tasks for them. I scan like books for their classes. I help Bradley with Bonner stuff before like when we interviewed the Bonners. One year, you have to make those little portfolios on the Bonner. I don’t it’s like a Bonner thing for directory for the, for the other people outside of our program for them to know. I’ve entered information for that. Most recently, I cleaned a closet, you know, doing everything here. It’s not like you’re just sitting at the desk anymore.
So you do a little bit. A lot of everything here in the App Center. Okay. And then you mentioned the Bonner program, and then you’ve been a Bonner since freshman year.
I have I’ve been on the same project since freshman year. When I first came, I took civic and intro to civic innovation with Tal Stanley. And, um, you know, I, we hadn’t picked out our projects for Bonner yet. And I was in that class. And we were picked out projects to do within that class. And he gave a little sheet of descriptive things. And there was about the Mount Pleasant Preservation Society on the sheet. I read it, and I was like, that sounds great. You know, it sounds. It sounded interesting. It didn’t sound like it wasn’t like intimidating through the description. And so I signed up for that I was the only one to sign up for the class. Um, he was hesitant to even let me do it since I was gonna be the only person. But oh, my gosh, I’m so glad he didn’t let me do it. So then, um, so I was working directly volunteer and there through the class. But through Bonner, we did the the civic innovation fund through them. So while I was going up, to Mount Pleasant to the class, I was also evaluating their wants and their needs, and to see what we could help donate and fun to them. So I did that also as my Bonner project separately that semester, but also, it was integrated in a way, and then I bomb. And then spring I made that my full time Bonner program, they put me in the leadership position right away. And it’s been history ever since
you’ve been there since then.
Yes. And it’s grown tremendously. Um, last Friday, we actually gave them another donation in honor of Mr. William fields who passed away late August from COVID complications. So hopefully, they’ll be able to do a little memorial plaque for him or something with that money, and then also finished renovating the parsonage up again.
I know that this project means a lot to you, because I recall, we’ll talk about to civic leader scholars here in a bit, but when we had that meeting, it seemed like it really affected you that passing
Yes, yes. No, Mr. Fields was a very, very nice man. I’m always friendly greeting. Every time I’d go to the museum and he was there. He’s always offered me something needs some water, you know, just a real kind southern hospitality type vibe. And he was so kind he he, he took me up to the settlers Museum, right up the road from Mount Pleasant. On his money. He always fed us when we went and got pizza. He’s a very calm man. Anytime I needed him to come talk on behalf of Mount Pleasant, he was happy to so uhm he was he was a friend. I will say that he was a friend. Very kind, man.
So Wow. Thank you, um, you mentioned as well. I was I was actually in your class was Civic, innovate intro to civic innovation. Yes. Is there parts of that class? within that class, you know, the readings that we did the story exchanges that we had, I did things in pieces from that class that you took with you now as a Sr. and they’re still with you.
I think those those concepts of place history, location and stuff like that, that makes a community can’t remember the exact, you know, words I remember just three but um, I’ve remembered the gist, but I think like, looking back on it and applying it to even Mount Pleasant is so important because I mean, within the museum they were talking about, they remember the dynamite blown up on it, one, like they, I remember, they’re there, the geology, the geographics changing within their lifetime and stuff like that. And, um, and then, like the, the historical aspect, which is a big part of the essential The museum is all about segregation, slavery, and then perseverance it tells a story of perseverance of the African American community, even the founder of selfness, Evelyn Thompson Lawrence, who I didn’t get to meet sadly, she died before I came to the picture. But even her history on her grandmother was a slave was born into slavery and was eventually was eventually emancipated from the Civil War and all of that, and just the thing that she only died in 2016. But her grandmother was a slave was so eye opening. To me, it seems like such a close personal connection, even in modern times, like you would never think that there was such a close relation in some of these people’s lives to slavery.
Wow. That’s very interesting. You mentioned that perseverance that was really interesting, just like this struggle in this fire. And
so Miss Lawrence, she to finish on her education. She’s originally from Marion, Virginia, but didn’t go finish up her high school education. She had to go to West Virginia, because they only offered up to eighth grade in the area when she was coming up. And then she had to go to West West Virginia State University was the only university near that would offer her degrees. So she had a  in there. She, I think she, she she gave a teacher and um, Mr. Fields was one of her students. Miss Diane Hayes, who I work with closely, Mr. Fields refers to her as the scholar, She’s the lady that digs up everything, she’s always in the library, the court, doing archives and finding so many cool things, I can’t I don’t think I could ever do that. she dedicates a lot of time to the museum. But um, Miss Diane Hayes, she was a student of Miss Lawrence’s Miss Lawrence touched so many people within the Marion community and he still see that that impact today with the community, and it just shows that her family started, not was the best start just taking her grandma under reference. But she came a very well respected member of the community, she became a teacher, she got a college education. She, she relocated just finished high school, like, we don’t have to do that nowadays. That is like a public school, usually, within five minutes of your house that will take you you know, so stuff like that, you know, she did not just drop out at eighth grade, because she didn’t feel like she couldn’t go further. She kept going and she relocated just to do it. So
Wow. Wow, that’s, that’s amazing. Because it seems like all the struggles that they had, they just kind of put that to the side and just kept going.
Yeah, no. It’s very inspiring to think and it kind of gives you this humbling experience that like not to invalidate anyone’s life issues, But you know, there’s like, it’s like, wow, you know, the world’s better now. Now, it’s not perfect, but it’s better than what Miss lawrence originally grew up in. And she got to witness even she even got to witness her students go from segregated schools to integrate schools, which I’m sure was such a victory for her also, you know, so.
And I guess that was since you didn’t experience this, but just having the honor to hear from this experiences, how has that helped you?
I mean, it’s made me feel so grateful. Like, I think one of the biggest impacts is the story about the swimming pool that was in Marion. So the African Americans weren’t allowed to go to any of the state parks. So you know, hungry mother Park is like five minutes away from Marian. They weren’t allowed to go there and swim in the lake. So the community got together, and they raise funds and they built a swimming pool for the African Americans to be able to swim in and there was it wasn’t just the Marian community. They had busloads from Kentucky, West Virginia, North Carolina, coming to swim in these in that poll because they weren’t allowed to go to the state parks to the national parks which is so weird. They were barred from they were paying taxes. to fund that part. Yeah, you know,
yeah, there’s actually a documentary I was watching about why so many African Americans cannot swim. And it goes back to that, because these kids that, you know, were excluded from, you know, the lakes or even swimming pools, they will go to like rivers or other places by themselves and actually drown there. So this kind of like, affected them in a way that they saw water as a threat. And it went from generation generation.
And I mean, it’s kind of crazy that I mean, you learn it as a generalized fact, you know, but then hearing people that tell their personal stories is like, you know, another layer to the issue, you know, and it’s a little, it gets a little more realer when you start talking actual people that experienced it.
Oh, that’s amazing. Thank you. Um, you mentioned there, Leah, we have, she’s our new civic leader, coordinator. And you have been in civic leaders since freshman years. Well, can you tell us a little bit about it? Are you doing or how,
you know, I will admit, it’s been touch and go throughout the years. But I mean, it’s always been a good program. We started with Maggie Oberman. She was a lovely lady, too. But we were always trying to outreach to the community in our own way without doing a similar program to Bonner. We wanted to be more independent, rather than Bonner starting these partnerships with us, we always wanted to start these partnerships ourselves and make our own connections, which I mean, it’s important, and it’s a, it’s a real good life building skill, you know, it takes quite the person to go and build their own connections, you know, there’s nobody hold your hand. And then even the fact that we were very independent, but we still came together and relied on each other too we’re definitely a group, we’re not just sitting there and doing our own projects. We all came together for advice, support ideas, you know, I remember, we, me and Madison McMillian. We, I think it was sophomore freshman year, I can’t remember but we were trying to contact narcotics Anonymous meetings and alcohol Anonymous meetings, because we really wanted to outreach that group, um, because there’s people struggling, we want it to go and help with these meetings. But um, sadly, they seemed a little closed off, you know, which I can see there is a, you know, anonymous, anonymous, anonymous aspect to it. But that was one passion. So I mean, Madison did get to dig deeper into that realm, even though we didn’t get to go get directly involved. You just, there’s so many of those meetings and support systems happening locally, which is nice. Even though we didn’t get like a direct involvement, we learned that there’s a support net for those people in the area. And that right now, today, actually, this morning, I just met with schools, in community communities, in schools, schools and communities, I’m sorry, I can’t, it’s one or the other. And we’re gonna do a mentoring program. So they’re gonna partner us up with some students, people that are at higher risk of dropping out or just struggling. So I’m excited about that. High school kids are, so they’re not directly involved in into high school except for in Bristol, I think Virginia high schools, I think we’re gonna be focusing on the elementary school to middle school range, which is great. Hopefully, we’ll be able to give them some guidance and inspire them, you know,
right. Okay. And so tell me what’s going on with Miranda, I know that you recently you’re a senior, and you recently got engaged? Okay, so what’s what’s after? Do you have any plans after college? Are you still working on that, besides your engagement,
besides the wedding, I know? I’m so actually I just got incepted the University of Lynchburg for their masters in nonprofit leadership, which I guess this involvement in that specific program stems from my work with Bonner and outreaching, and having these meaningful, meaningful conversations with other bonders tal Scott Bradley. And I felt like I did good at it. You know, I do love my political science degree and my history degree, you know, but I really wanted to outreach into communities even more, and, but I wanted to go back home, so I’m about 30 minutes away from Lynchburg originally, and I wanted to go back home, I live with my grandmother, I take care of my grandmother. She’s been a big support system. So I’m gonna go back home and get my master’s degree and get married and hopefully I’ll find a job.
you have plans. How important just to close off her… How important have relationships been while you’ve been in college?
I’m so important. You know, I think even our friendship me and you has had a lasting impact. I still like remembering conversations that we had when we were going to Kentucky that one year freshman year. Yeah, it’s our civic leader retreat. Like, I remember that. Of course, everyone in the Appalachian Center has had a huge impact. Meeting people from different backgrounds. It’s all it’ll sculpt you in a way, even if you’re not realizing it. I don’t think I was the same person. I was freshman year, I’ve definitely grown. have opinions and beliefs and thoughts evolve and stuff like that. So I think the people that you meet at college are the people that have a big impact on your life. You know, I think looking back, I’m just so happy to have been here and I’m going to graduate here and all the friendships I made. So
yeah, I definitely agree with you. Miranda, it was a pleasure talking to you. I hope you have a good rest of your day. Thank you.