The Blade features periodic columns from area college students as part of our Campus Corner feature. Daniel Roman is a senior at the University of Toledo.
Each January a day is set aside as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Day. This annual event is for the remembrance and reflection of the transcendent life of Dr. King and his unmatched works as a civil rights advocate.
This also gives us a chance to celebrate Dr. King's message and to ensure that his dream for mankind will never fade. On Jan. 17, The University of Toledo hosted an event entitled "Unity: One World, One People" at Savage Arena to celebrate Dr. King and to address some of the struggles we face in bringing unity and equality to fruition.
The purpose of the event was to not only celebrate the life and accomplishments of Dr. King, but to build unity through a day of sharing and coming together. Speakers and guests included Toledo Mayor Mike Bell, UT President Lloyd Jacobs, and U.S. Rep. Marcy Kaptur, (D., Toledo).
A chilling moment of silence concluded a performance by the Toledo Interfaith Gospel Choir led by Reverend Eric Roberts, who put on a fantastic and energizing performance music to get the crowd moving. Their music brought people to their feet and lifted spirits as the celebration really kicked off.
Mr. Jacobs delivered a speech focusing on the nature of dreams, what they mean, and what they stand for. He said dreams are altruistic and they have the power to inspire and to lift us. He noted how Dr. King's dream will never be lost because truly great dreams outlive the dreamer and continue through the passage of time.
Miss Kaptur spoke of Dr. King's message of unity and love and said we need it to be present today more than ever before. She equated Mr. King's message to a cure for the poisons that erode unity. This potion had some bite to it as it seemingly resonated with nearly everyone in attendance.
The final speaker was Keon Pearson, the first African-American valedictorian from St. Francis De Sales High School. He described how growing up in a Toledo housing project gave him the drive and motivation to improve his future as he prepares to attend Harvard University.
He is living proof of what Dr. King's civil rights movement has achieved. Much like Dr. King, Keon spoke about unity and used his experiences with poverty to equate them to the far-reaching poverties that weaken our collective ability to reach greater levels of equality.
Looking out to the crowd he confidently proclaimed his two distinct hopes for the future. The first was directed at older generations by asking them to mentor youths and reach out to kids and help them.
He implored the younger members of the audience to dream big and to leave behind the culture of ignorance that plagues some minority groups. He stressed that in order to achieve this communication is imperative, noting that slang is easy but proper speech is essential to self advancement.
I'm of the conviction that Keon is the living embodiment of Dr. King's transcendent works. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., was truly a gift to humanity but his greatest gift still endures today in the form of people like Keon, Mayor Bell, and President Obama.
Contact Daniel Roman at firstname.lastname@example.org