In 1963, an Alabama preacher named Martin Luther King Jr. stepped onto the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, urging for acceptance of everyone regardless of what demographic they fell into. Today, King is still remembered for his speech, but also the life that he lived.
On Jan. 28, a presentation on King’s legacy titled “Vision of a King: Devo- tion to Servant Leadership and Unity through Civil Disobedience” was held in the Fort Hays State University Ballroom. The presentation was sponsored by Diversity Affairs in the Center for Student Involvement.
The event featured students giving their thoughts on King’s legacy. Freshman Patrick Roscoe performed the song “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” while freshman Leeah Tinner sang “A Change is Gonna Come.” Senior Jamison Green performed a poem in which he talked about how King wanted people to live and to come together.
Amber White, Coordinator of Diversity Affairs in the Center for Student Involvement, said that the presentation aimed to focus on King’s legacy and his promotion of civil disobedience.
“The theme came about on what he wanted to be remembered for,” White said. “We purposely went away from the [I Have a Dream] speech and tried to focus on how he lived his life.” White added that the presentation coincided with the anniversary of both the March on Washington and the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation.
The overlying theme of the night was about how King was an advocate of civic leadership, something that Staff Sgt. Jose Rosales spoke of in his keynote address. “You must be a full-time servant, not a part time helper if you want Martin Luther King’s dream to last,” Rosales said.
Staff Sgt. Rosales also told the audience that they could be like King by stepping out of their comfort zone. “Full-time servants… don’t ask questions. They don’t ask why. They just do it,” Rosales said. Rosales added that everything that is done in life matters, making it important to do good deeds.
Rosales ended his speech by offering advice on how to pursue a vision like that of Martin Luther King Jr. “Create a plan, create a vision, and follow through with it,” Rosales said. “Get that dream in and work with it. It won’t happen tomorrow.”
The presentation made some students realize how much Martin Luther King Jr. affected their lives. White said that she received a number of positive responses from those attending the event. “Students felt inspired to do more,” White said. “It made me happy that they wanted to do more.”
Green agreed that King’s words still live on today. “We need to realize that what is in the past is in the past,” Green said. “We need to let go and look towards the future.”
According to Staff Sgt. Rosales, despite delivering his speech 50 years ago, “Dr. King had a life that perpetuates and lives on.”