2015 MLK Celebration wrapup

Dr. C.T. Vivian guest speaker
at 2016 MLK Celebration

 Dr. Javaune Adams-Gaston, Dimitri Gaston, Dr. C.T. Vivian, Sharon Davies
Dr. Javaune Adams-Gaston, Vice President for Student Life; Dimitri Gaston;
Dr. C.T. Vivian; Professor Sharon Davies, Vice Provost for Diversity and Inclusion


“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”

Through peaceful protest, the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. spent his life as a social activist working against injustice. Dr. King worked to end the legal segregation of African Americans, founded the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, was a recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize, and his life had a profound impact on race relations in the United States.

On Wednesday, February 24, the Office of Diversity and Inclusion’s Frank W. Hale Jr. Black Cultural Center celebrated the life and legacy of Dr. King with the 44th Annual MLK Celebration. This year’s celebration featured Dr. C.T. Vivian, who worked with Dr. King as the National Director of Affiliates and strategist for every Southern Christian Leadership Conference organization.

Larry Williamson, director of the Frank W. Hale Jr. Black Cultural Center, welcomed over 100 attendees to the event. The audience was then treated to the African American Voice Gospel Choir, who sang “Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing.” Tributes to Dr. King and Dr. Vivian were given by Professor Sharon Davies, Vice Provost for Diversity and Inclusion, and Dr. Javaune Adams-Gaston before Searius Addishin, award-winning spoken word artist, performed a piece by creating a poem incorporating 13 words provided by the audience.

The presentation of the 2016 MLK Memorial Scholarships brought forth a class of scholars who earned honors for their academic aptitude and accomplishments; engaged in rigorous academic research; provided leadership in diverse settings; and unselfishly served the university and broader community with countless hours of community service. Established in 1970 by the Pinedale-Rochdale Student Fund, the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Scholarship is a full merit-based scholarship awarded to students who are junior rank or above with preference given to African-American students. Now funded by Ohio State’s Campus Campaign, the scholarship is given to at least four students each year. This year’s awardees are: Jacquelynn Heron, Alexis Pannell, Jasmine Peters, Dieter Smiley, and Brandon Upchurch.

Next, the new student group, the Hale Hall Council, was introduced. This group will work with the 35 predominantly Black student groups that meet in Hale Hall, to foster outreach, give students a voice, and make sure they feel empowered.

After another musical selection from the African American Voices Gospel Choir, Dr. Vivian came to the podium, with a message that focused on the work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Racism, Dr. Vivian stated, was the worst thing that happened in the United States, tearing the country apart. Dr. King’s work within the Civil Rights Movement was the beginning of the transformation of America, giving Blacks “a chance for the future” and the ability to “love who they are.”

The 2016 MLK Celebration was sponsored by the Office of Diversity and Inclusion Frank W. Hale Jr. Black Cultural Center, and supported by the Office of Student Life, the Student Life Multicultural Center, the Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity, and the Department of African American and African Studies.