Our Friend, Martin
Beach Pride Events Announces MLK Jr. Celebration Essay Contest winner
During Black History Month, Beach Pride Events hosted the 19th Annual MLK Jr. Celebration. This event was founded in 1999 by the CSULB Black Faculty & Staff and has continued to be an annual tradition for the past 19 years. The celebration featured performers, singers, spoken word, and a panel discussion that shared views on how Dr. King’s message is still ever prevalent today and how we may continue pushing towards the peaceful world he always desired. This event also featured a student essay competition.
Beach Pride Events would like to recognize LBSU student Assia Day for winning the 19th Annual MLK Jr. Celebration Essay Contest. She is a Communication Studies major. Below is her winning essay to read. Congratulations Assia!
Our Friend, Martin.
A classic film that has graced television screens in classrooms across the country since 1999. Groundbreaking at the time, the movie showcased a world unaffected by Dr. King’s dreams of racial equality. His influence was ripped from society, and the characters within the film were left with the remains. Sounds horrible, right?
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. dedicated his life to forming a just world. He was bombed, jailed, harassed and ultimately killed because of his commitment to justice and racial equality. Though Dr. King’s vision is currently not a reality, the significant stamp he left on the world is still firmly imprinted into our culture. His words and ideas are still repeated verbatim, nearly fifty years after his untimely death.
Think about it.
One would be hard-pressed to find a person unaware of who Martin Luther King was, and what he dreamed of. Most of us know of, or grew up on, a “Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.” street. Personally, I attended a Martin Luther King Jr. middle school, and both my parents are employed at separate schools that are also named after him. In a world so influenced by Dr. King’s words, it is important to take a step back and analyze how we as individuals are contributing to the creation of a just world.
Upon first glance…I will admit, that this is daunting. Anyone knowledgeable of Dr. King’s work, will know that he went through many horrible situations to make his vision tangible. But at a smaller, more manageable level, there are definitely ways to make an impact on your respective communities and in return, the world.
Teaching is one of those careers that is often looked down upon, and scoffed at. But when you consider who has the most power to shape lives in marginalized communities, teachers are at the top of that list. We would be nothing without the knowledge and skills of teachers who are able to understand the educational, social and emotional needs of their students.
As a black woman, the teachers who impacted my life the most were the ones I could see myself in. I can count all the black teachers I had from grades k-12, on two hands. There was Ms. Allen, the principal of my elementary school. Mrs. Jordan and Mr. Rogers, my sixth-grade teachers. And Mrs. Marshall, my high school dance teacher.
I attended schools in very “urban” and diverse areas, but, I was still unable to see myself in the teachers that I was assigned. The importance of having a teacher you share a significant identity with can create a sense of trust that isn’t there with other teachers. You have the ability to see your students as students, and not a stereotype or under any bias.
One of my professional career goals, is to become a teacher and give back to the community I learned and grew from. That will be my contribution to making the world a just place.