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A call to continue King's work at MLK Luncheon

Chris Hyacinthe with Gwendolyn Bates

Alison O’Leary Murray
January 20, 2011

At Thursday’s annual Martin Luther King Day luncheon, Gwendolyn Bates, Emerson College Associate Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion, took advantage of an unexpectedly large audience to call on Emersonians to make diversity and inclusion an individual duty.

The theme of the event was Definition: Black, described by Tikesha Morgan, Director of Multicultural Student Affairs, as an exercise among members of EBONI: Emerson’s Black Organization with Natural Interests, to explore connotations of the word. It kicks off a series of events sponsored by EBONI and the Office of Multicultural Student Affairs to celebrate Black History Month.

“We must work together to achieve the goals of the nation. We must work together to ensure that all are treated fairly and properly. All of us have a part to play in that dream. All of us have a part to play in creating fairness and equality as far as this campus is concerned."

Marketing Communication student Chris Hyacinthe ’12 said the word he chose to define “Black” was Pioneers, referring to generations who struggled for equal rights and justice. “I have to remember I have a great opportunity here,” he said. But instead of feeling pressured to uphold that legacy, he said he chooses to feel inspired to continue the tradition.

Bates, whose memory of segregation and discrimination began as a child in the South, suggested that it’s possible to reclaim words of discouragement and turn them into words of power. Yet that is not enough, she said.

“We must work together to achieve the goals of the nation. We must work together to ensure that all are treated fairly and properly. All of us have a part to play in that dream. All of us have a part to play in creating fairness and equality as far as this campus is concerned,” Bates said.

L-R Chris Hyacinthe, president of EBONI, with Gwendolyn Bates, Associate Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion, who gave the keynote speech at the luncheon.

 

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