A soulful celebration
Civil rights leaders, culture, pupils fill Knox Center
The Dimensions Dance Group performs “Sistah Rosa” for the audience during the annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration held in the Knox Center on Jan. 24. George Morin / The Advocate
The life of American civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was remembered through an afternoon of speeches, songs and dances on Jan. 24 in the Knox Center.
The slain minister, who would have been 84 on Jan. 15, was honored through the college's annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebration.
College President Denise Noldon said this day should be remembered because of the historical contribution that Dr, King made to society as a whole.
Toward the start of the event as students walked into the theater, King's stirring "I Have a Dream" speech was played for the audience.
"It's great to have students come together for an event that remembers a man for his huge character and even bigger dreams," marketing and communications coordinator Michele Jackson said. "This can be a benchmark for everyone to motivate himself or herself to succeed."
Janice Leighton-Armah, student and mistress of ceremonies for the event, said, "Dr. King has inspired me to dream big. My dream has always been education and to obtain as much of it as I can. That is my personal dream. I hope that students will leave here with a lot of information about Dr. King that they may have not known."
Students, faculty and staff members took turns honoring unsung heroes of the civil rights movement.
Some civil rights movement heroes recognized included Fannie Lou Hamer, John Lewis, Daisy Bates, Thurgood Marshall and Hosea Williams.
The passion to hold onto your personal goals and dreams was a theme of the night.
"You can never let someone steal your dreams." health and human services department Chairperson Aminta Mickles said.
District 1 County Board of Supervisor John Gioia left the event feeling optimistic for the future.
"After listening to all the talent that this community and college has to offer it leaves me feeling very positive about our future," Gioia said. "It's great that this college continues to annually celebrate the life of Dr. King. Our works are shaped by the works of others before us and it's great to know the youth understands this."
Athletic Director John Wade said the event made him both happy and sad.
"This event is always a great and difficult time for me because it reminds me of the strides we have made as a people," Wade said, "but also how much we still need to do to succeed in Dr. King's dream."
Noldon said, "It's amazing that we can have an event like this and have it epitomize who we are as a community. Dr. King talked about beloved communities and the importance of them. We, here at this college, have that. We are a beloved community and it shows in events like this.
"I hope this event motivates people to go out and educate themselves about Dr. King and others like him who struggled to benefit us all. We work on the shoulders of others who sacrificed for us," she said.
Some students felt the event was very important for the youth to see.
Biology major Victor Tostado said, "It's very important for the youth to be informed of this great man and the struggles he went through to help people today."
Early life development major Kate Kian agrees. "This event truly expresses the community of our college like (Noldon) said," Kian said. "Equality for all people is important and events like this stress that importance."
Kian was a first-time attendee at the event and she said that she would definitely attend the annual celebration again next year.
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