King's Legacy Remembered with Service
Thursday, Jan. 16, 2014
Rev. France A. Davis, Sheree Haggan and Marvin Roberts stand together and sing "We Shall Overcome" at the end of the access and Diversity Center's Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebration. (Samantha Behl photo from the USU Statesman Online)
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King's Legacy Remembered with Service
Students and faculty were encouraged to do their part and get involved at the Access and Diversity Center’s Martin Luther King Jr. celebration Wednesday night [Jan. 15].
The Rev. France A. Davis, pastor of Calvary Baptist Church in Salt Lake City, emphasized that everyone has the responsibility to carry out King’s dream and encouraged listeners to do their part to make the world a better place.
“We have to decide, individually and collectively, how we are going to lighten the corner where we are,” Davis said. “Do what little bit you can do.”
Davis, a member of the Utah Board of Regents, focused on everybody doing their part to create a society reflective of King’s dream.
He marched with King as a young man and has dedicated his life to working toward a better society for all people.
“When Dr. King spoke at the capital, the crowd lit up with electric power,” Davis said. “His mission was to bring about change.”
Rachel Brighton, program coordinator for the Access and Diversity Center, said the celebration is an annual event originating from the late ’80s.
“It was initiated by students and is now hosted by our office,” she said.
Instead of the classic candlelight vigil, this year’s program began with a video compilation of photos from King’s life and continued with the reading of an original poem by Sheree Haggan of the Black Student Union and a vocal performance by officers in the club, Shalayna Guisao, Jeunee Roberts and Anthony Pratt Jr.
The event was co-hosted by the Black Student Union.
Davis said although King set a great example, there is still a great deal of work to be done.
“Our challenge today is to ensure that every person in our society has three meals a day for their bodies, education and culture for their minds and dignity, equality and freedom for their spirits,” he said, quoting one of King’s many speeches.
New this year to the celebration was the community action fair, featuring organizations working toward a society free from King’s three evils: poverty, racism and hatred and violence, Brighton said.
“We felt passionately about giving people the opportunity right then and there to connect with campus and community agencies and organizations that are actively working to realize Dr. King’s dream,” she said.
One of the organizations present for the community action fair was USU’s Students Together Ending Poverty club.
Sharon Lyman, a junior in communication studies and director of STEP, says the group is all about service.
“We are one of the 17 organizations that are part of the service center,” Lyman said. “We focus specifically on people that live in poverty or are in need financially.”
Lyman said STEP is helping to realize King’s dream through their activities such as serving food at homeless shelters, making toys for underprivileged children and the annual hunger banquet.
“We are trying to help with poverty where we can,” she said. “Obviously we aren’t going to end it in one year, but we are trying to take the steps we can.”
Kason Hudman, a sophomore majoring in history teaching, said he came to the event because the Civil Rights Movement is one of his favorite parts of history.
“I love Martin Luther King Jr.” he said. “He’s one of my heros.”
Meili Sokes, a sophomore majoring in art education, said she enjoyed the celebration and felt inspired to make a difference.
“I want to sign up for everything now,” she said.