Nearly two decades ago, USF student leaders and staff began a tradition to honor one of America’s most memorable civil rights leaders, Martin Luther King Jr.
Now, a new generation of student organization leaders feels that it is their turn to initiate a University-wide tribute in honor of King.
“I think we, as blacks, owe it to (King) to celebrate him,” senior Elton Johnson of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity said. “All we’re doing is picking up the torch and carrying it on.”
In an effort to commemorate King, student organization leaders are receiving support from the USF Office of Multicultural Activities in establishing a weeklong event schedule.Multicultural Coordinator Nicole Glenn said the goal for this year’s celebration is to be more student focused. According to Glenn, instead of having a formal kickoff, a birthday bash at 11 a.m. today will start this year’s festivities.
While generational theme music and excerpts of King echo throughout the campus at the birthday bash, Glenn said there will also be a student organizations showcase and a united moment of silence in memory of Rosa Parks.
“We are giving each organization the creative freedom to express how King has impacted their organization,” Glenn said. “We want the organizations to focus on King not just for a minute, but in terms of his sacrifice and how they can incorporate his principles in everyday life.”
Student organization leaders also think that King’s legacy should be remembered more than once a year.
“Take the advice of King and go on loving and not hating,” said Colleen Sullivan, a member of student group Friends of Internationals. “A good way to reach out is a simple introduction: Hi, my name is-.”
“Let it not be a one-day thing,” Black Student Union President Crystel Dawson said. “Those people didn’t pick Jan. 15, but they worked all year long.”
Other activities taking place this week include a candlelight vigil tonight at 7:06 at Campus View East, sponsored by Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity. In addition, the Minority Pre-Professional Science Society will present a documentary film titled King, the Citizen and a skit in Room 271 of the Phyllis P. Marshall Center at 3 p.m. on Wednesday.
For more information, contact the Office of Multicultural Activities at 974-5111.