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CSU holds banquet in honor of MLK

January 31, 2014

By Tara Harris


Photo by Jordan Gonzalez

Students, faculty members and guests joined Cleveland State in its 23rd annual Martin Luther King, Jr. celebration on Tuesday, Jan. 21 at 8:30 a.m. in the Wolstein Center.

The event was held on the fourth floor of the Wolstein Center. The banquet room was elegantly decorated and each table sat about seven formally dressed people.

The topic was 'What’s YOUR Dream?' and the purpose was to spark intergenerational conversations about dreams and their importance.

The tables featured an anonymous quote which read “Rock represents faith, wood represents good merit, light represents truth, blue represents intuition and inspiration, green represents prosperity and vitality, mirror represents reflection…From these things dreams flow.”

Cleveland State President Ronald Berkman stated the goal of the event was to unite the past with the present and future and understand each other.

Dr. Allen Johnson, president of Cuyahoga Community College, spoke briefly about how the past events such as the Freedom Riders and the Million Man March led to changes in society and suggests that people should “lift up someone less fortunate.”

Marcia Fudge, councilwoman and alumna of Cleveland State, spoke a few words. She said she is passionate about justice and everyone should be grateful that Martin Luther King, Jr. lived.

“Dr. King gave us more than the 'I have a dream' speech. He gave us hope and encouragement to do the right thing no matter what obstacles we faced,” Fudge said.

There was a panel of three people which led the conversations. The moderator Shakyra Diaz, policy director for the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), asked the panel questions and reiterated the answers given. Dr. Julian Earls, executive-in-residence at Cleveland State, was part of the panel and the voice of the elders. Joe Johnson, mentor, community activist and panelist represented the students.

They discussed the importance of opportunities and unity.

“Every person should be given the opportunity to succeed,” Earls said.

“We all have similarities so everyone should come together and make sure the future is not similar to the past,” Johnson said.

Afterwards, the panel encouraged discussion among the tables. People talked about their dreams and what they found intriguing within the panel's discussion.|

Martin Luther King, Jr. is an example of when dreams manifest themselves into reality. Due to his dedication to change, the Civil Rights Act was passed, making it illegal to discriminate based on race.

Congress passed a law to declare Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday (Jan. 15) a national holiday in 1983. In 2011, a memorial was built in the likeness of Martin Luther King, Jr. in Washington D.C.