Reliving the dream
Published: Sunday, February 26, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, November 20, 2012 17:11
"I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.'"
These words, spoken for the first time by Martin Luther King Jr. in 1963, echoed across the Dallas Hall lawn Friday evening at a live reenactment of the famous "I Have a Dream" speech.
As SMU students gathered around the steps of Dallas Hall, the old gospel song "He's Able" by Kirk Franklin drifted through the crowd and people began to sing along.
Christopher O'Riley, a graduate student at SMU, proceeded to the podium and began to speak.
"I am happy to join you today, in what will go down in history as the greatest demonstration for freedom in the history of our nation," O'Riley said.
Not a sound was heard from the audience listening intently as the words from the speech rang out.
As the dramatic and revered speech came to a close, Kelly invited guests to gather in the Hughes-Trigg Student Center to enjoy refreshments, "black man and white man together."
Genesis Reed, a student at SMU, enjoyed hearing the speech.
"I think it is definitely still relevant and holds a resonant meaning even today," Reed said.
Sophomore Rianna Carter shared this opinion.
"I think it is important to remember the past and think about the situation others were in," she said.
Public speaking is not new to O'Riley, as he has given many sermons, speeches and presentations throughout his academic journey. However, reading the words of Martin Luther King Jr. was a daunting undertaking.
"At first I didn't want to do it," O'Riley said. "It was very overwhelming."
The night was also very symbolic for O'Riley, as he is a member of Alpha Phi Alpha, Martin Luther King Jr.'s fraternity.
Jibril Rasheed, graduate student, and Alexis Abbey, law student, stood on either side of O'Riley during the speech.
As Alpha Phi Alphas, both supported their brother O'Riley in honoring their brother Martin Luther King Jr.
Evan Michael Taylor, who designed the event along with Kelly and the Fine Arts Community (FAC) staff, said the idea for the event came about last November. Taylor and Kelly are both resident assistants in the FAC and began planning it in December.
Taylor expressed a wish to make this an annual event showcasing other famous speeches.
"We feel like there are a lot of speeches, and especially in the academic setting where there are references to them, that would be useful to know," Taylor said.
He also shared his hopes that this will continue to grow.
"Eventually we would like to incorporate the Dallas high schools so that they can come and experience it with the student body," he said.
As Martin Luther King Jr.'s dream was relived Friday night, the words resounding off the Dallas Hall steps impacted and encouraged those in attendance.
"It is important to see how far we've come but also to realize how far we have to go to fulfill the dream," Rasheed said.