On Jan. 20, students, faculty, staff and guests gathered in the Hughes-Trigg Student Center to commemorate Martin Luther King, Jr. and his work before marching in SMU’s annual Unity Walk. The walk is just one event in SMU’s weeklong “Dream Week” celebrating the life and work of MLK.
President of Multicultural Student Affairs Preston Lynch first addressed the crowd, noting SMU’s large participation in Saturday’s citywide MLK Day walk and the record-breaking number of student participants in Monday’s MLK Day of Service.
Following Lynch, student leaders Lauren Burgess and Aabid Shivji asserted the need for awareness and for a continued fight against racism.
“Racism is a virus,” Burgess said. “We need to confront the past and learn from it.”
Shivji spoke if the need for resilience against racism in one’s day-to-day life.
“We must not be complacent,” Shivji said. “Progress must continue to happen.”
Student Body President Carlton Adams spoke of SMU’s involvement in the greater Dallas community’s celebration of MLK. SMU worked with the Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Center and presented them with a transcript of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s speech and a photo of Martin Luther King, Jr. when he visited the SMU campus.
University President R. Gerald Turner relayed how proud he is of the university, its progress and its students who are making change. He also noted his respect of the leadership of people like Martin Luther King, Jr. stating that everyone should “recommit ourselves to the work of Dr. Martin Luther King.”
Turner discussed the importance of making social change and being great community leaders. He asserted that the best way to effect the future is through education.
“Knowledge is power,” Turner said. “Education is the key.”
Following the speeches, those in attendance walked around the Boulevard, singing several gospel songs including “This Little Light.” The group ended its walk at the flagpole.
President Turner left those who participated in the Unity Walk with one message.
“Improving the life experiences of all humanity should be the overarching goal of all of us,” he said. “Make this place better not only for yourselves, but for all.”
Other Dream Week events include a talk from Alicia Garza, founder of #BlackLivesMatter in the Hughes-Trigg Student Center Ballroom tonight at 5:30 p.m., as well as a forum Thursday at 1:30 p.m. discussing the film “Brother Outsider: The Life of Bayard Rustin,” hosted by the Women & LGBT Center.