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MLK Memorial Focuses On Responsibilities Of Future Leaders

Heights Staff

Published: Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Updated: Wednesday, January 9, 2013 19:01

Students, faculty, and other members of the Boston College community, as well as parishoners from local churches, gathered on Monday night to honor Martin Luther King, Jr. in a memorial gathering that featured speeches by Rev. Michael Davidson, S.J., Rev. Paul Roberson Ford, and Rev. Anthony Penna, as well as musical performances by The United Voices of Freedom in a joint effort with The Voices of Imani, Against the Current, and the Liturgy Arts Group. Ford's speech after the recitation of King's last speech, "I've Been to the Mountaintop," brought the audience to its feet in celebration of King's memory.

Hosted in Gasson Hall, the memorial gathering is held annually to commemorate King's legacy and visions for equality. The even was held one week after King's birthday, so a reception was also held after the closing performance of "We Shall Overcome" by The United Voices of Freedom, and included a large vanilla-frosted birthday cake in his memory.

"Reverend Ford was amazing.," said Donald Chang, member of the Interfaith Coalition and A&S '12. "He said it's not just the dream we're supposed to remember, it's also the man."

A senior pastor of the Union Baptist Church in Cambridge, Ford opened his speech by thanking BC for carrying on King's legacy and recognizing the need to continue King's work.

"You and I have to make a choice as to what his legacy will be," Ford said.

The message of the speech and benedictions given beforehand encouraged the audience to strive for King's goals and carry on his unfinished revolution. In that spirit, the African Student Organization collected offerings to donate to famine victims in the Horn of Africa.

The collected money from the attendees was forwarded to the Catholic Relief Services for the Horn of Africa Emergency Relief Fund. In a speech given before the offering, the effects of the famine in Kenya, Somalia, Djibouti, Ethiopia, and Somalia were discussed in the context of King's drive to better the world, as touched upon by Ford.

"Most of this generation knows King as a dreamer," Ford said. "I must implore you tonight to go deeper. King had more than a dream, our brother had a vision."

Ford's closing words received a standing ovation, and as the Gasson Rotunda filled with attendees for the reception, many praised him for his inspirational messages.

"I liked what Ford said about being a visionary," said Alexandra Gaynor, A&S '15.

Another round of standing applause was also given to the collaborative musical efforts of the night, with The United Voices of Freedom singing the "Song Of Praise" to open the gathering, followed by a musical selection that included the songs "Souled Out," "Precious Lord," the South African Hymn "Siyahamba/We Are Marching In The Light of God," "I Need You To Survive," and closing with "We Shall Overcome," where audience members joined together, holding hands and singing in unison.

The collaborative efforts of Campus Ministry, choral groups, the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Committee, the Office of Student Affairs, and University Mission and Ministry to organize the events of the night stood in tribute to the importance of community and partnership that King advocated throughout his life.

"That's what made Martin Luther a king, his deep faith," Ford said.

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