Campus event celebrates peace and unity
By Lauren Hunter Staff Writer
California State University, Long Beach held its annual Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration on Tuesday Feb 22 . With a ballroom full of students, faculty, and friends of various races everyone came together to celebrate MLK. Who was a brilliant and inspiring individual that helped change to world. These people came together with his message of peace. Everyone at CSULB got to hear keynote speaker, Pastor William D. Smart Jr.
Professor Craig Stone, Chair and Professor of American Indian Studies, opened the ceremony with a Native American song and drum performance in the spiritual nature of the ceremony.
It was a huge honor for Dr. Maulana Karenga, Professor and Chair of African Studies, to perform a libation. A libation is a drink poured as an offering; normally it is to a deity. But Karenga performed it more as a symbol of respect and reverence to the late MLK. He spoke a chant in other languages that the audience recited back in the name of unity.
CSULB student, Candace Rice, performed the Black National Anthem during the last part of the opening ceremony. Rice’s voice was moving and inspiring as she sang the words about liberty and harmony.
President Jane Close Conoley then addressed the mass of students and faculty and encouraged everyone to be well informed. She used MLK’s celebration to emphasize that the, “personal model of ‘The Beach’ is to give every community member a chance to achieve excellence. Must be a just campus.”
She later went on to rally that in the spirit of MLK, “Let’s do this with the intent to learn and to create a more perfect beach” with knowledge there will be more acceptance and less hatred. Less hatred was a key component in MLK’s message.
CSULB’s director of the Multicultural Center, Dr. James Sauceda then took to the microphone and delivered a compassionate speech about the justice and injustice that our world faces today, as well as the injustices that MLK had to deal with during his lifetime. “Racial understanding isn’t something we just find it is something we must create,” Sauceda said. He was trying to motivate the students in a way that drives them towards understanding, peace, and love.
This year’s winner of the 17th annual MLK essay contest was CSULB student John Broadway. He received an award and then recited a section from his winning piece. His friend was there to support him, Everett Lomax Jr., Tau Kappa Epsilon, like others in the audience he, “came to offer support and then I noticed very notable people.” Lennox said, “it was great and I didn’t know you guys have had this for 17 years straight and its really impressive.”
One of the highlights of the event was the dance team from Renaissance High School for the Arts. It was an all girls dancing group who performed a special routine for this event.
The keynote speaker Pastor William D. Smart Jr. rallied the audience and preached love not hate in order to emphasize how important the Black Lives Matter Movement is. To Smart the issues of today’s world mirror those that King had to fight against.