2013 MLK Celebration, Jan. 20-26: “The Dream Still Lives”
JONESBORO -- The Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration highlights and commemorates his legacy and achievement as one of the greatest men in history. “The Dream Still Lives,” the 2013 MLK Celebration theme signifies the impact and progress that has been made since Dr. King delivered his famous “I Have a Dream” speech 50 years ago on Aug. 28, 1963, on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.
As one of the pioneers of the Civil Rights Movement (1955-1968), King worked hard to establish equality for African Americans through sit-ins, marches and other non-violent demonstrations. Because of his work and the work of countless other Americans, the doors of opportunity began to open for all.
In 1955, Arkansas State University opened its doors to the first blacks to be admitted to the university: Walter B. Strong, Frederick C. Turner, and Larry Williams. The Strong-Turner Chapter of the ASU Alumni Association is named for the first two black graduates.
Today, the university has more than 15 percent African American students, and 20 percent total minority enrollment. The university has made great strides and will continue its effort to increase diversity.
“As we celebrate Dr. King’s holiday each year, it should be a reminder to continue pushing his agenda forward in making America a better place for all. ‘The Dream Still Lives’ is a way of saying there is still work to be done,” stated Dr. Lonnie Williams, associate vice chancellor for Student Affairs.
By providing more resources and support for minority and underrepresented student populations, ASU makes the dream of attending college a reality. The Multicultural Center is one of the many areas on campus that is instrumental in contributing to the educational, cultural, and social programs and initiatives that support minority and underrepresented student populations, according to Niya Blair, director of the center.
As one of the participating organizers of the 2013 MLK Celebration, the Multicultural Center educates the ASU and Jonesboro communities about the legacy of Dr. King through events held during the week of the national holiday. The celebration is led community-wide by the Northeast Arkansas MLK Commission.
The celebration begins with the Community MLK Youth Explosion on Sunday, Jan. 20, at 7 p.m. at City Youth Ministries. This event will be an opportunity for young people to celebrate Dr. King through song, dance and monologue.
On Monday, Jan. 21, the Community MLK Parade will get underway at 10:30 a.m. at First Baptist Church on Kitchen St. Immediately following at noon is the Northeast Arkansas MLK Celebration at Centennial Hall in the Carl R. Reng Student Union at ASU.
Dr. Reginald Porter, Sr., senior pastor of Metropolitan Baptist Church in Memphis, will be featured speaker for the celebration.
An Evening of Dance with internationally known “Dallas Black Dance Theatre” is Wednesday, Jan. 23, at 7 p.m., also at Centennial Hall. The dance ensemble will perform modern, jazz, ethnic, and spiritual works.
The MLK Candlelight Vigil, where student organizations will recite the “I Have a Dream Speech,” will be Thursday, Jan. 24, at 4:30 p.m. at the Heritage Plaza of the Union.
The celebration concludes with students participating in the MLK Service Project on Saturday, Jan. 26. Volunteers will work with non-profit organizations to assist with beautification projects (painting or cleaning). Those interested in volunteering should e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
All events, which are free and open to the public, celebrate the life of Dr. King and the dream that he spoke about not long ago.
For more information about the 2013 MLK Celebration, contact Niya Blair, director of the ASU Multicultural Center, at (870) 680-4052.
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