by TaLeiza Calloway – firstname.lastname@example.org
When it comes to the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. the word “freedom” rings through his efforts for racial equality. Students at the College of St. Benedict and St. John’s University reflected on his efforts this week – a week the school dedicated to honoring his memory on campus.
A collaboration between the Cultural Affairs Board, the Intercultural Center and the Joint Events Board, the week included musical and comedic performances, a soul-food dinner, a talent showcase and the Freedom Wall, a wall where students shared what freedom means to them.
The wall, a large blue sign with the words “Freedom Wall” on it, hung in the lounge area of the Gorecki Center on CSB’s campus Jan. 20. At the bottom of the sign were the words, “I will be an agent of change.” As students and visitors passed by, student organizers asked if they wanted to sign the wall. Some were moved to sign without invitation. That’s what CAB member Ashley Yang wanted. The senior elementary education major was the lead organizer for the week of events.
“We could’ve had students just sign their names,” Yang said. ” but we wanted them to think about what freedom means to them. For me, I hope this week allows students to challenge themselves and their views.”
This is the first year the college put up the Freedom Wall and hosted events honoring Martin Luther King Jr., said Tiffany Vang, chair of CAB. In the past, the school has hosted a soul-food dinner but that was it, she said. The senior peace studies major said she was pleased with the turnout for the events that cost between $15,000 and $20,000 to pull off.
“The Cultural Affairs Board felt it was needed and is important,” Vang said of commemorating King. “”We never really had anything to honor Martin Luther King. We decided this was the time to do something.”
Students were glad they did.
“Equality for all.”
“Being able to love who I want.”
Those were just some of the written samples of what freedom means to students via their handwriting on the wall.
Cindy Gonzalez, student assistant for the Intercultural Center at CSB, was determined to sign the wall.
“He did a lot,” Gonzalez said, “and not just for the black community but for all students of color.”