Today: Jun 25, 2024

Southern celebrates Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Eliezer Santiago | Photography Editor Steppin’ Up Drill Team performed a step routine at the “KING” celebration in the student center.

Amanda Brail  – Special to the Southern News

Southern Connecticut State University’s annual program honoring Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was held Wednesday, Jan. 30 in the Adanti Student Center ballroom.

According to Dian Brown-Albert, coordinator of multicultural student activities, the event, which was open to the public and students of the university, takes place every year in order to celebrate the “birth, life, and dream” of Dr. King.

Eliezer Santiago | Photography EditorMayor of Hamden, Scott D. Jackson, was the keynote speaker at the celebration.
Eliezer Santiago | Photography Editor
Mayor of Hamden, Scott D. Jackson, was the keynote speaker at the celebration.

“We are here,” said Brown-Albert in her welcoming address to the audience, “to remember the message of change through non-violence.”

The program began with Keica Holden performing the Negro National Anthem to an audience that spilled over into the second half of the ballroom. Holden has performed with prominent gospel singers such as Kelly Price and Jason Nelson. Peter Troiano, interim vice president for student and university affairs, and Erin Mcguckin, president of the student government association, then greeted the audience with two brief speeches referencing Dr. King.

Finally, President of SCSU, Dr. Mary A. Papazian, introduced the program’s keynote speaker, mayor of Hamden, Scott D. Jackson. Jackson began his 20-minute speech with a quote:

“Dr King said,” said Jackson, ‘the arch of the immoral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.’”

Throughout his speech, he discussed many major milestones in African-American history-some highlights and some lowlights, but focused primarily on the civil rights movement. Afterwards, he said that he hoped his speech served as more informational than inspirational to the audience. He also said that he hopes the program helped the audience reconnect with itself.

Eliezer Santiago | Photography EditorSteppin’ Up Drill Team performed a step routine at the “KING” celebration in the student center.
Eliezer Santiago | Photography Editor
Steppin’ Up Drill Team performed a step routine at the “KING” celebration in the student center.

“Celebrating this holiday,” said Jackson, “gives us–as a nation-an annual chance to reconnect with that driving spirit that makes us want to be better.”

Jackson said King has not only been an inspiration to him, but to all of America: “When we have these heroes who take on these great challenges, against all odds, and through sheer force of will, succeed – we are really fortunate in this country to have so many of those, and none more inspirational than Dr King.”

Other highlights of the program included a tribute to Dr. King by the SCSU Steppin’ Up drill team-which received a partial standing ovation from the audience-a monologue of Coretta Scott King performed by Tiffany Bailey, which left the audience in silence, and a dedication to the victims of the Sandy Hook shootings that took place last December, performed by SCSU’s Symphonic Dance Company.

Eliezer Santiago | Photography EditorSCSU’s Symphonic Dance Company performed an interpretive dance selection at the event.
Eliezer Santiago | Photography Editor
SCSU’s Symphonic Dance Company performed an interpretive dance selection at the event.

Chi Anako, graduate intern for the multicultural center, said that she hopes the program can help to continue the legacy of Dr. King by “promoting diversity” and “showing this new generation exactly what his legacy was”.

“Dr. King surpasses just another black leader,” she said. “His work goes so much further than him just being an inspirational speaker, than him just being a civil rights activist. His work-40 to 50 years later-is still seen. We can see it in our president, Barack Obama; we can still see it in everyone that has come after Dr. King and that just shows the importance of what he does. He, among other leaders, has extended the path for all of us to be here at this point.”

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