Though Carleton doesn’t give us the day off to celebrate the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., we instead get the opportunity to throw a big celebration at the end of the day. Yesterday I attended the annual MLK day celebration and it was amazing as usual. What is particularly amazing about it is that for the most part it is organized by students and aside from the keynote speaker all the performances, presentations, and reflections are done by students. This year there was four student reflections, a Brass band, a skit down by the Coalition of Hmong Students, two poetry performances and a presentation done by yours truly. My presentation was on the legendary Bayard Rustin. Rustin was Dr. King’s advisor, and he organized the famous March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. He is virtually written out of history because he was an openly gay man during a time in this country’s history when homosexuality was condemned in the eyes of the law. For this reason I view him as a lost prophet of sorts. Rustin once said “When an individual is protesting society's refusal to acknowledge his dignity as a human being, his very act of protest confers dignity on him.” Bayard Rustin was a gay, black, pacifist with Quaker beliefs but more than anything else, he was the man behind the magic. When acknowledging and remembering MLK anytime in our lives, it is important to also honor all the people who helped to make him one of the most powerful leaders of a movement that rocked this nation to its very core.
Below are some pictures from our celebration.