The 20th annual celebration honoring civil rights activist Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was held in Missouri Southern's North End Zone facility at 6 p.m. Monday, Jan. 20.
“I’m so proud of all you people showing up for this event tonight, especially the students,” said Victor Sly, Missouri Southern police officer.
Due to the inclement weather, the guest speaker intended for the event, Mr. Nimrod Chapel Jr., was unable to attend, and in his place Dr. William Delehanty, political science professor, spoke.
“I think for me, and I only speak for me, a world defined by love where status is recognized, challenged and replaced with ready and additional commitment to love to the other is one worth living, and I think it’s one that King would tentatively accept,” said Delehanty.
Darren Fullerton, Vice President of Student Affairs, welcomed guests and spoke briefly about the importance of celebrating MLK.
“I think that these gatherings bring home the message that Dr. King always spoke of,” said Fullerton. "These are not events to feed us spiritually or emotionally– these are events to prepare us to go out, whether you use the term to minister or to administer to others. This is to prepare us to go forward and make a difference in the lives of those that we come in contact with.”
Faculty, students, and community members alike were in attendance at the event. Among the speakers was Matthew McBirth, Diversity Department Director of Ozark Christian College.
“What if Dr. King was here right now… I cannot say this is exactly what he would say but I do think he would say this– continue to strive for unity. … there are two points I want to hit with this. One unity is not uniformity. … unity is in the midst of diversity, it’s when we have no business being together but we’re gonna stick together,” said McBirth.
“So, I think Dr. King would say continue to strive for unity not uniformity. The second statement is that unity means caring for one anothers problems. Dr. King said, ‘Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.’ … Unity is about truly loving our neighbor simply because they are our neighbor.”
The Beacon of Hope Service Awards, in honor of Dr. Al Cade, were given to both an individual and a student group based on nominations.
The individual award was presented to Gil Salgado, and the student group that was awarded was Delta Pi Chapter Kappa Alpha Order. The awards were presented by Fullerton, and the wife of Dr. Al Cade, Dorothy Cade.
“I challenge you to take that message and to take the words of the different speakers here tonight, and put that to work as you leave here and for the rest of the week, the month, the year and the rest of our lives,” said Fullerton.
“We will not know we’re like the rock that’s dropped into the pond. You don’t know the ripples that you will have on someone else’s life and so please take that to heart and try to make a difference to those around you.”