Northwood University Florida’s recent Martin Luther King remembrance ceremony held special meaning for students, faculty and staff. The event opened with a discussion led by New York State Supreme Court Justice Ira J. Raab, an Adjunct Professor of American Government who discussed pivotal civil rights clauses in the United States constitution and its amendments.
Students were then invited to share the impact that Dr. King has had on their lives and on the future of civil rights issues.
While comparing Dr. King to Nelson Mandela, Philip Mawamba, a Northwood University senior said, “Every great woman or man has always stood for something greater than themselves, something that transcends time, something that will not rot or decay, waste or fade away, something that no person or government can grant or take away."
Reminding students the importance of looking beyond outward appearances, junior Adalberto Trujillo shared, “I know that there are people who still give others a difficult time just for being different in some way. So when we each look back at the life we’ve lived and remember the people we've met both good and bad, I want each of us to remember how it felt when we were mistreated for being different, and to remember how good it felt when we were treated fairly and accepted by those around us. Let it be a reminder and a lesson of how far a person can sink into despair when treated wrongly, and how far a person can potentially grow when they are supported and treated fairly.”
Added Mawamba, “If King and Mandela were extremists for wanting to die for an ideal, then please count me in as one too. Ladies and gentlemen, life is the most precious gift we have to give. Find what you are willing to die for and in doing so you will find what is most worth living for.”
Dr. Tom Duncan Northwood University Florida President delivered closing remarks and shared the United Presbyterian Church‘s Affirmation of Faith Based on the Writings of Dr. King.
Four days after the tragic assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on April 4, 1968, U.S. Congressman John Conyers of Detroit, Michigan suggested the establishment of a holiday honoring Dr. King. In 1983, President Ronald Reagan approved legislation passed by the U.S. Congress establishing the third Monday of January as an annual holiday commemorating Dr. King’s life and sacrifice.