MLK celebration brings together community, calls for unity

Talal Ahmad | Contributing Reporter

The 27th annual Martin Luther King Jr. memorial event brought students and community members to Graham Chapel to honor the legacy of the civil rights leader by coming together and embracing diversity.

The venue was filled with nearly 800 individuals Monday night for the commemoration titled “The Prophetic Voice: What Does it Call You to Do?”

Senior Solomon Brown, president of the Association of Black Students, asked the audience to unite in order to improve the campus and wider community.

“I would have to say that regardless of the religion you observe, the event reminded me that the prophetic voice calls each of us to continually serve with an attitude of wanting and doing better this year,” Brown said after the event.

Following Brown, Orchestrating Diversity, a youth group of musicians, opened with a rendition of “Amazing Grace.” Later on, Jamala Rogers, a native of Kansas City, Mo., who founded the St. Louis Organization for Black Struggle in 1980 and now works as a columnist for the St. Louis American, was presented with the Rosa L. Parks Award for Meritorious Service to the Community.

“I’m honored,” Rogers said. “To be mentioned in the same sentence with Rosa Parks is very humbling.”

Chancellor Mark Wrighton also offered remarks to those in attendance.

“I’m reminded of powerful individuals,” he said. “Dr. King was a powerful individual who inspired others to do powerful things.”

The event closed with the Society of Black Students for Social Welfare handing out cards with quotations from King on them. These “tokens of actions” were meant to remind audience members to unite in order to bring together the community and empower others.

“The event on Monday was magnificent,” Provost Holden Thorp wrote in an email. “I was inspired by speeches, of course, but also by the large number of students there.”

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