The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

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MLK display and dinner unites students, faculty

Black History Month kicks off with Martin Luther King Jr. commemoration

On the eve of Black History Month, the University hosted two events commemorating Martin Luther King Jr., on Monday, Jan. 30. These events consisted of an art display in Marillac Terrace, as well as an annual dinner.

“This was a huge collaboration from everyone from the Black History Month committee, to the Office of Multicultural Affairs, Haraya and NAACP,” Junior Doh, Vice President of services for Haraya, said. “It’s part of the Black History Month launch, with the theme on Blackout and awakening greatness within.”

In the afternoon, students were able to experience the MLK display exhibit, which focused on photos and quotes of King.

There were also two stations where students wrote down their own dreams on a sticky note and put it on a cardboard cut-out.

Later that evening, the annual King dinner took place in the D’Angelo Center Ballroom.

The dinner included a short speech from the Vice President of Student Affairs, Dr. Kathryn Hutchinson, a keynote speech by Dr. Kevin Jordan, performances from both Sinai’s Radiant Liturgical Dance Ministry and Voices of Victory, as well as other ceremonies.

After the singing of the Black National Anthem, Hutchinson touched on the recent political decisions of President Trump and quoted the recent email sent out by the University President: “As a Catholic and Vincentian University with a 147-year history, St. John’s has — and will always be — a place that welcomes immigrants and the children of immigrants…”

“Why is it important to tell our story? Because if you don’t tell your story, somebody else who may not appreciate you will try to dictate your story and define you against your own personal definition. Keep the story alive,” Jordan said during his speech.

The performance by the five women group for Sinai received a standing ovation. The Voices of Victory performance was also well received.

“This event for me is a celebration of not only culture but, this is going to sound very conceited, but of myself,” Nia Hilson, Voices of Victory singer, said.

“It is a celebration of my culture and what we fought for.” Mariama Williams, fellow Voices of Victory member,  agreed.

When Jordan began his speech by saying that he was not going to use the speech he had prepared, instead saying he was “going to speak from the heart.”

“Because of the inspiration that I feel in the room here, I’m going to stick directly with your theme … creating and realizing the inner greatness in all of you,” Jordan said.

He gave six steps for the people present in the room to follow, each step together formed the acronym C.H.A.N.C.E. The steps are (C)hart your course, (H)one your skills and abilities, (A)rticulate clearly, (N)ever doubt yourself or allow others to doubt you, (C)are for yourself and (E)valuate.

Referencing the sixth step in his acronym, ‘(E)valuate where you have been, where you are, and where you are going;’ Hilson commented on what the event meant to her.

“This was the first big event I went to as a freshman … I use it as a marker for my college years, to see how far I have come each year,” she said.

Williams also referenced Jordan’s speech, “To be able to march on if I so choose, to start a business if I choose … to see a black man speak to us today and see how accomplished he is, it shows me how far a black woman, a black person, can come.”



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About the Contributor
Ariana Ortiz, Features Editor
Ariana Ortiz is a senior majoring in journalism. She began her journey with the Torch last year, starting as a staff writer and then the Assistant News Editor. She aims to make the most of her time as features editor by not only making the Torch a primary news source for students, but also for the immediate community surrounding St. John’s. Have any questions? Email Ariana at [email protected]
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