Martin Luther King Jr. Honored At CCSU Breakfast

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Martin Luther King Jr. Honored At CCSU Breakfast

Third-place

Third-place "Sunday's Best" finalist Shane Davis performs at last Friday's breakfast honoring Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

CCSU

Third-place "Sunday's Best" finalist Shane Davis performs at last Friday's breakfast honoring Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

CCSU

CCSU

Third-place "Sunday's Best" finalist Shane Davis performs at last Friday's breakfast honoring Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Keyan Yopp, Staff Writer

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A room of over 100 filled Alumni Hall as Central Connecticut held its second annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. breakfast last Friday, hosted by professor of philosophy and former dean of students Dr. Felton Best.

Keynote speaker Ariva Walker, a public policy specialist at Planned Parenthood of Southern New England, also made the trip to honor King.

Prior to Walker speaking, there was a musical performance by Shane Davis, who finished third on BET’s “Sunday’s Best,” which is a competition amongst some of the nation’s best gospel singers. Additionally, Connecticut State Colleges and Universities President Mark Ojakian gave a speech, describing the importance of focusing on King’s values and ideals and saying that the United States is farther from equality, justice and advocacy today than two years ago.

“I don’t know what it’s like to be African-American in the world, I don’t know what’s it’s like to be a woman in the world, But I know what it’s like to be a gay man,” Ojakian said.

Ojakian also announced that Ebenezer Bassett, who was the first African-American to graduate from CCSU in 1853, will now have his own building named after him on campus.

Walker, who is from neighboring Hartford, then described King’s legacy, touching upon how the African-American women he surrounded himself with not only helped him with the Civil Rights Movement, but also by birthing a generation of strong independent woman.

Walker stated that King’s wife, Coretta Scott, was not only his wife but his strategist, confidant and one of the movements’ key fundraisers. She explained that Scott was the architect of the Kings’ legacy and that she had been “holding the glue to the fabric.”

Walker went into great detail about how those characteristics trickled into her family who grew up in the South, helping shape her into the person she is today. As a child, Walker said she had a little “mouth” on her; it would get her in trouble with teachers and her mother. However, her grandmother, who was from the south, would always tell her “go ahead speak your mind.”

Now that Walker is older, she stated she realizes her grandmother was “preparing her to sit where I’m at now and to use my mouth as a tool to challenge systems of power and oppression.”

Following in King’s footsteps, Walker described her goal, which is “to make sure our [African-American women] voices are elevated and that [the world is] shifting power to most who are disenfranchised.”

Coming here to Central, Walker said, was “humbling,” saying that people where she is from do not get opportunities to come to speak in forums such as the breakfast, adding that it showed testament and how hard she has been working in the African-American community.

CCSU junior Peace Uwaya was “amazed” by the event.

“Being here with so much black excellence motivates to me to be the best I can be so I can impact people that look like me that are younger,” Uwaya said.