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MLK Day celebration features poetry, performances

January 20, 2015

The Stephens College community last night gathered in the Kimball Ballroom for a special Celebration of Leadership in Honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

The event featured poetry readings from members of the student group Poets of Infinity. The group uses the power of words to spread social awareness and justice. Club President Gabriel Cole read her poem, “Beautiful,” about society’s unrealistic beauty standards and received a standing ovation.

Evann Jones ’10 then performed a gospel song, “His Eye is on the Sparrow,” followed by a dance interpretation of music from “The Color Purple” featuring Dance Collaborations. Students from the theatre program then talked about how others view diversity. U2’s “MLK” performed by The Velvetones and “Free at Last,” an original piece by Stephens instructor Tom Andes, concluded the event.

The celebration opened with remarks from President Dianne Lynch, who challenged the Stephens community to “step up” and talk and care more about issues of social justice. Addressing the fact Stephens was in session with service projects on MLK Day, Lynch said “We do the world better with a day of service” rather than a day off.

Student Government Association President Brianna Jackson also encouraged students to talk about and help foster change—and to support one another regardless of background.

“We may have all come on different ships, but we’re in the same boat now,” Jackson said, quoting Martin Luther King Jr. “And that boat that we’re in is Stephens College. Together, we stand; united, we’ll fall. … I understand that we all have different preferences and different passions but we should be able to come together and be able to say ‘That’s a Susie, so I will help her at the end of the day. I will respect her. I will learn from her. I will grow.’”

Many students left saying they felt invigorated and inspired by the event.

“We wanted to deliver quality, meaningful programming to campus this week,” tweeted Senior Class President Lesta Newberry, who helped organize the week. “If tonight is any indication, we succeeded.”

See more photos from the event here.

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