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The Center for Multicultural Student Services (also known as CMSS) held its annual MLK week celebration. This year’s theme was “Never Sleep on a Dream…Arise and Take Action.” The festivities included the founders day celebrations of three historically black sororities, a “March and Speak Out” walk and ended with the MLK Formal Program. Although I could not make all of the events, I had the chance to attend the formal program held in Wilson Hall Auditorium.

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Entering into Wilson Hall, I was given a plastic candle which I was told was to be used for the “Sea of Lights” candle lighting ceremony. Walking down the aisles I saw the seats filled with students, leaders in JMU administration, CMSS faculty and Harrisonburg community leaders. I immediately thought to myself that I needed to be sitting in the front row with the Senior Leadership Team (i.e. President Alger.)

IMG_6131The evening was excellent. The program itself was filled with performances honoring the legacy of Dr. King. Two local elementary school girls were honored for their creativity with the Creative Expression Award.. Grace Carter wrote an essay with her opening sentence being “I wish fairness and kindness for all people,” while Brooke Hughes drew a dramatic piece showing the ending of world hunger.

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Musical performances included a spoken-word piece by DaQuan Lyons and Rachel Porter and a musical piece sung by the Contemporary Gospel Singers.

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The Alpha Phi Alpha community service award was presented to Judge Anthony Bailey, who asked the audience a compelling question in his award acknowledgment: “What does the lord require of me?”

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The keynote speaker, Mr. Marc Morial, president of the Urban National League spoke with confidence about what we need to change in our society today to live up to the ideals of Dr. King. “King would be proud, he would be joyous, but he would be challenging. I don’t think we’d get an A, maybe a B-, probably a C+ or maybe an I, incomplete. We’re still yet to be done!”

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