Lorain County Community College’s first day of the 2015 spring semester was kicked off by the annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. celebration on Jan. 20, presented by the Offices of Student Life and Student Senate.
“So it is on the third Monday in January that our nation pauses to celebrate the life of Dr. King, and if his life had only benefited those whose skin had been kissed by the sun than he would not be worthy of a national holiday but as it is we pause and we are here because the life and the work of Dr. King not only benefited those of African descent it benefitted an entire nation and an entire world,” said keynote speaker Thomas L. Bowen, minister of fellowship, social justice, and community outreach at Shiloh Baptist Church in Washington, D.C.
His speech was couched between addresses by Elyria Councilman Marcus Madison, LCCC Provost and Vice President for academic and learner services Dr. Marcia Ballinger, and Americorp College Completion Coach Rebecca Neal.
The speakers emphasized the principles of Dr. King as well as his use of nonviolent protest. Through all the platitudes and praise there was also a sentiment that his work remains unfinished and it is the responsibility of the community to take up the mantle of Dr. King.
A traditional African dance performed by Na’la Glenn, a member of the Celebrating your Worth dance team and a demonstration of peaceful protest entitled “Nonviolent Outcry in the style Dr. King advocated was conducted LCCC students.
Bowen expressed this sentiment of amity by saying, “We must hold those who we elect accountable for our society. We must continue to make sure that our communities are better places, to put our hands in each other’s hands, to build our community house by house, family by family, street by street, block by block.”