The Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Commemorative Dinner Thursdayformally marked the beginning of African Heritage Month for the St.John’s community. Students, staff and members of the St. John’scommunity honored the legacy of Dr. King. The keynote speaker ofthe night, Dr. Manning Marable, reflected on the social andpolitical struggles faced by King and all people today.
In a tribute to Dr. King, Jada-Kanika Allah, Chapter VicePresident of Sigma Rho Sorority, Inc. captivated the audience witha reading of King’s celebrated, “I Have a Dream,” speech.
“We were able to celebrate Dr. King’s legacy,” said DorothySparrow, mistress of ceremonies and executive vice president ofHaraya, the Pan-African Student’s Coalition. “He had a dream andnow we as students can follow that dream and have dreams of our ownto celebrate and to accomplish.”
“The challenge of today is realizing the dream deferred,”Marable said. “The dream deferred in my speech was the struggle forAmericans to overturn racial segregation and that was representedby the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. But today wehave to struggle to achieve another deferred dream – an Americawithout hunger or homelessness or poverty; an America withoutgender discrimination; without discrimination of ethnicity or theanti-immigrant bias that we see throughout the country, and thestruggle to have affirmative measures such as affirmative actionthat address the cancer of racism today.”
In his speech, Marable challenged the members of St. John’scommunity to live up to Dr. King’s dreams. “These are deferreddreams that must be addressed by your generation,” he said, “so inmy talk tonight, I challenge the students here at SJU to discern anew moral assignment: to no longer defer the dream of freedom, butto live it, to act it, and to transform the society. That’s thechallenge of your generation.”
According to Marable, America has come a long way but there isstill a modern struggle people must face. “What we should strugglefor is a just society that reaffirms the humanity and the humanspirit in all people.”
In addition to being the founding director of the Institute forResearch in African-American Studies at Columbia University,Marable is one of America’s leading scholars in political science,public affairs, economics and sociology. “Dr. Marable tried toempower us so that we remember our history and use that to changeour future,” Sparrow said.