The founding members of Monmouth Artists for Diversity and Inclusion (MADI) were awarded a joint senatorial and gubernatorial proclamation from the State of New Jersey on Nov. 10 for contributions to society, by way of the album, MADI Volume I, released in June celebrating diversity, inclusion, and cultural awareness through music, spoken word, and art.
MADI Volume I was a collaborative effort emerging from Blue Hawk Records, Monmouth University’s student-run record label, and supported by the Office of the Provost and the University’s Intercultural Center with a Diversity Innovation Grant.
Senator Vin Gopal formally presented the proclamation, which was signed by Governor Phil Murphy and Senate President Stephen Sweeney on October 26. Gopal stated, “Whereas, MADI Volume I represents a significant and meaningful work of social art and advocacy which has gathered significant interest in the community and New Jersey media, and is an outstanding contribution to the State of New Jersey’s renowned and rich musical history…the State of New Jersey hereby proudly recognizes and honors MADI and its participants at Monmouth University upon the release of its debut album in 2021, which serves as a significant educational example of how college students can creatively, constructively and effectively use artistic expression to impactfully support themes of diversity, inclusion and belonging in an educational manner in our society.”
Founding members of MADI recognized in the proclamation include Monmouth University students Ezrah Archie, William “BJ” Biedbach, Shadiyah Jai Belton, Kendall Brighton, Kayla Booker, Hassan Chambers, Connie Chianetta, Emmanuel Christian, Ben Davis, Michelle Etienne, Amanda Hayes, Jenae Louis-Jacques, Megan Rice, Connor Rupp, Dillon Schindler, Vic Tartara, Nicole Totland, and Max Wolf, as well as faculty members Lawrence Jones, Joseph Rapolla, and Rashida-Scott Cruz.
The citation also noted creative contributions and input from Kelly Barratt, assistant director of the Monmouth University Center for the Arts, professors George Wurzbach, Connor Hanson, and Michael Flannery, as well as the leadership of Monmouth University President Patrick F. Leahy, and Zaneta Rego-Craft, chair of the President’s Council on Diversity and Inclusion.