2013 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Student Annual Celebration – A Reflection of Issues

January 21, 2013 § Leave a comment

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2013 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Student Celebration

I volunteered to be the Student Chair of the 3rd MLK Student Celebration Annual Student Celebration. I was in charge of recruiting the student performers, emailing the student representatives to participate in the CandleLight Vigil ceremony, editing the program, creating the script, contacting Mr. and Mrs. Georgia Tech, deciding what food to use for the reception, deciding what decorations would best suit this occasion, and act as a “producer” for the event. It was a lot.

I got a chance to hear from student speakers and guest performances, including the Nu Mu chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha, God’s Influence Flowing Through Every Disciple (G.I.F.T.E.D) gospel choir, my personal friend Shreya Ahuja, and the fabulous Dean Stephanie Ray, who performed a dramatic monologue of Coretta Scott King’s first moments after finding out her husband was assassinated.

What I personally loved most is the inspiring student speakers. There was a common theme in all of the speeches that as a society, America has come a long way in the fight for equality and civil liberties for all, but we still have a long way to go, thus the theme for the event was themed “The Dream and the Journey Continue.” One issue that was mentioned was the inequality and gender discrimination that women still face. Women are still earning 77 cents less than her equal male counterpart. The good news is that our current president is working with Congress to establish legislation that seeks to eliminate gender inequality.

Another issue that was mentioned in one of the student speeches was discrimination based on sexual orientation. While it is still a hot-button issue in today’s society, studies show that more and more Americans are favoring same-sex marriage by small margins. This is due largely in part of more and more LGBT Americans coming out to family and friends and new marriage equality laws being slowly passed in state legislatures.

Of course, poverty is always an issue. Many of us can empathize with low-income, lower-class and middle class families. Poverty may be an issue that may never go away, but I became inspired to help the homeless man on the street corner just by giving him something to eat.

In summary, change does not happen overnight. Rome wasn’t built in a day, right? So change for equality will take time as well, but that does not mean that we should sit back and act ambivalent. It was once said, “If you don’t stand for something, then you will fall for anything.” I challenge myself to make my voice heard louder on more issues we as Americans face today, whether it be gender inequality, sexual orientation, poverty, or ambivalence. I just hope that Dr. King himself would be proud of my efforts. Dr. King told his wife “Coretta, don’t tell people that I graduated from Morehouse College. Don’t tell people that I got my Master’s degree from Boston College. Don’t tell people about my Nobel Peace Prize or my various other awards. Instead, tell people that I tried to feed the hungry. Tell people that I tried to clothed the naked. Tell people that I was a drum major for justice, and tell people that I tried to help somebody!!”

– Alfonza L.

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