Black Student Union Hosts MLK Ceremony

Andrea Scott | Staff Reporter

A mixture of different races and age groups filled the Emerson Black Box Theater for the Black Student Union’s (BSU) annual Martin Luther King Celebration Monday afternoon, Jan. 16.

BSU Vice President Kristal Jackson opened the ceremony and conducted the program. President Evans welcomed the crowd and talked about the significance of the ceremony and how individuals can help continue King’s legacy.

Student Shayla Barber performs during the ceremony on Monday Jan. 16

“It is our responsibility to communicate and pursue Dr. King’s legacy. We have to reinforce and honor the goodness that Dr. King brought to us,” Evans said.

Later in the ceremony, BSU members offered different performances to honor King. Student Jade Woods sang a song entitled, “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” followed by Mack Brunson’s spoken word. Shayla Barber summed up the performances by the BSU members with an interpretive dance.
Guest speaker Tyrone Flowers touched on his horrid childhood stories, his honorable achievements and his message.

He began his speech with a question that no one could answer: “When putting together a kit, what is the most important piece?”

The answer: the picture on the box. “The picture on the box is a vision of what the product is supposed to be.  We need a vision of what we need to be. Dr. King showed me a picture of what I can be,” Flowers said.

The crowd nodded their heads and kept eyes glued to Flowers. He spoke about how he did not live in a normal household and lived in poverty in a high crime environment.

“I was shot three times, but that is not the worst thing that happened to me … The people who told me I couldn’t do it was the worst thing that happened to me,” Flowers said.

Although Flowers experienced a terrible childhood and was paralyzed from the waist down because of one incident, he asked the audience not to pity him because he had made great achievements in his life.

“I was a guest in the White House three times and was nominated and granted many awards,” Flowers said.The audience gave Flowers a standing ovation after his speech.

Guest speaker Tyrone Flowers tells his story during the MLK ceremony.

In a question-and-answer period afterward, one person asked, “Do you feel that this world is not changing from Dr. King’s dream, or are we progressing?”

Flowers said, “A lot has changed over the years … and this is a very difficult question to answer, but we have to look within ourselves to answer that question. We should do things to help others always.”

LU Criminal Justice Department Chairman Pernell Witherspoon closed the ceremony with an exercise. He asked the audience to think about ways they perform hatred and then question why they do that.

In conclusion, Witherspoon addressed the question of why people should celebrate King’s birthday.
“We should celebrate this day because Dr. King’s legacy lives on,” Witherspoon said.