26th Commemoration Program- MLK


Uploaded by GRCCtv on 17.01.2012

Transcript:
(cheering)
>> OKAY, WE ARE READY TO BEGIN THE 26th ANNUAL
MARTIN LUTHER KING JR. CELEBRATION.
INHERIT THE DREAM.
I'M EVA AGUIRRE COOPER FROM WOOD TV 8,
AND IT'S MY PLEASURE AND HONOR, AGAIN,
TO BE HERE WITH YOU THIS EVENING AS THE M.C.
TONIGHT'S PROGRAM IS A CELEBRATION.
NOT ONLY A CELEBRATION OF THE LIFE AND LEGACY OF DR. MARTIN LUTHER KING,
BUT TONIGHT, WE CELEBRATE 26 YEARS
OF COMING TOGETHER AS A COMMUNITY
TO REMIND OURSELVES OF THE IMPORTANCE OF THIS ONE MAN'S LIFE
TO THIS COMMUNITY AND TO THIS COUNTRY.
AND TO RENEW OUR OWN COMMITMENT TO HIS WORK.
WE WILL SING TOGETHER
AND CELEBRATE THE LIFE OF DR. MARTIN LUTHER KING JR.
THIS YEAR'S PROGRAM THEME...
"THE KING LEGACY AND THE NEXT GENERATION."
WE WOULD ALSO LIKE TO TAKE A MOMENT
TO ACKNOWLEDGE THE IMPORTANCE OF OUR SPONSORS.
THE SPONSORS HAVE MADE A SIGNIFICANT AND PUBLIC COMMITMENT
TO THIS EVENING'S COMMEMORATION AND TO DR. KING'S LEGACY.
THEY ARE FOUND IN YOUR BOOKLET AND ON THE SCREEN--
I BELIEVE, EVENTUALLY-- BEHIND ME.
AT THIS TIME, I'D LIKE TO WELCOME TO THE PODIUM...
PASTOR JATHAN AUSTIN,
SENIOR PASTOR FROM BETHEL ABUNDANT LIFE CENTER CHURCH,
FOLLOWED BY THOSE SPEAKING ON A WORLDVIEW REFLECTION
ON THE IMPACT OF DR. KING'S LIFE AND LEGACY.
WE'LL HEAR FROM DR. MUAZ REDZIC, IMAM, BOSNIAN CULTURAL CENTER AND MOSQUE...
REVEREND TONY CAMPBELL, ASSOCIATE MINISTER,
MESSIAH MISSIONARY BAPTIST CHURCH...
FRED STELLA, PRACHARAK, WEST MICHIGAN HINDU TEMPLE.
IF YOU'D PLEASE COME FORWARD.
(piano playing softly)
>> IF WE COULD JUST BOW OUR HEADS JUST FOR A BRIEF MOMENT.
OUR GRACIOUS GOD, WHO...
LIVES, BREATHES, AND GIVES US OUR STRENGTH,
WE COME TO YOU THIS DAY, OH GOD, IN THIS TIME OF WORSHIP.
TEACH US IN THIS TIME TO ACCEPT EACH OTHERS' WAYS AND OUR DIFFERENCES.
CONTINUE TO UNITE US AS ONE.
CONTINUE TO GIVE US THE MINISTRY OF RECONCILIATION.
CONTINUE TO CAUSE US TO SET ASIDE OUR DIFFERENCES,
THAT WE MIGHT BEGIN TO SEE THE ONE GOAL, THE ONE MISSION,
AS DR. MARTIN LUTHER KING HAS SET BEFORE US--
"TO DREAM A DREAM" THAT WE ALL CAN WORSHIP TOGETHER,
THAT WE ALL CAN DO THINGS TOGETHER TO MAKE OUR COMMUNITY
WHAT YOU HAVE CALLED IT TO BE.
WE SPEAK THESE THINGS IN WHOLENESS,
COMPASSION, AND ENCOURAGEMENT.
AND NOW, STRENGTHEN EVERYONE THAT IS HERE
AND THOSE THAT WANTED TO BE HERE BUT COULD NOT MAKE IT.
AND BEGIN TO BRING GRAND RAPIDS, MICHIGAN,
INTO A GREAT PLACE OF UNITY AND DEVELOPMENT FOR ALL.
IN JESUS' NAME, AMEN.
(piano playing softly)
>> IN THE NAME OF GOD-- THE MOST GRACIOUS, THE MOST MERCIFUL.
"OH, MANKIND, WE HAVE CREATED YOU FROM MALE AND FEMALE,
"AND HAVE MADE YOU INTO NATIONS AND TRIBES,
"THAT YOU MAY KNOW ONE ANOTHER.
"NOT THAT YOU MAY HATE EACH OTHER.
"SURELY, THE MOST HONORABLE OF YOU IN THE SIGHT OF GOD
"IS HE WHO IS THE MOST RIGHTEOUS OF YOU.
"VERILY, GOD IS ALL-KNOWING AND IS WELL AWARE."
QUR'AN, CHAPTER 49, VERSE 13.
MEN OFTEN HATE EACH OTHER BECAUSE THEY FEAR EACH OTHER.
THEY FEAR EACH OTHER BECAUSE THEY DO NOT KNOW EACH OTHER.
THEY DON'T KNOW EACH OTHER BECAUSE THEY CANNOT COMMUNICATE.
THEY CANNOT COMMUNICATE BECAUSE THEY ARE SEPARATED.
DR. KING STRIVED TOWARD FREEDOM IN THE MONTGOMERY STORY.
WISDOM IS A UNIVERSAL VALUE THAT SEES NO BOUNDARIES,
IT FEELS NO PRESSURE,
AND IT MOST CERTAINLY DOES NOT SURRENDER
UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES.
DR. KING'S MESSAGE, HIS WISDOM AND TEACHINGS,
REAFFIRM THIS TRUTH.
THE WORDS OF WISDOM ARE ALWAYS WELCOMED AND CHERISHED BY PEOPLE,
BUT THERE ARE TIMES WHEN THESE WORDS AND THESE TEACHINGS
ARE MUCH MORE THAN THAT.
THERE ARE TIMES WHEN THESE WORDS BECOME IMPERATIVE,
YET THEY ONLY RESONATE IN OUR HEARTS AND MINDS
WHEN THEY COME FROM A PURE SOURCE.
THIS IS WHY RELIGIOUS TEACHINGS ARE SO IMPORTANT TO THE BELIEVERS,
BECAUSE THEY BELIEVE IN THEIR SOURCE.
OUR GATHERING TONIGHT IS THE PROOF THAT DR. KING'S WORDS AND TEACHINGS
ARE PURE IN THEIR SOURCE,
AND THEY DO RESONATE IN OUR MINDS AND HEARTS...
BECAUSE THEIR UNIVERSAL MESSAGE
FINDS ITS PLACE IN EVERY PURE HEART,
REGARDLESS OF ITS WORLDLY ORIGIN
OF RACE, COLOR, ETHNICITY, OR BELIEF.
WE ARE ALL BROTHERS AND SISTERS IN HUMANITY,
AND HUMANITY IS WHAT DR. KING TAUGHT US.
MAY GOD ALMIGHTY BLESS HIS SOUL, AND MAY GOD ALMIGHTY BLESS US ALL.
AMEN... THANK YOU.
(piano playing softly)
>> GOOD EVENING.
>> (scattered audience members) GOOD EVENING.
>> OH, YOU GOT MORE LIFE THAN THAT-- GOOD EVENING!
>> (all) GOOD EVENING! >> IT'S AN HONOR TO BE HERE TONIGHT.
DR. KING, ON THE LAST NIGHT OF HIS LIFE,
IN A CHURCH IN MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE,
IN A CROWDED BAPTIST CHURCH,
SAID THAT, "I HAVE BEEN TO THE MOUNTAINTOP,
"AND I HAVE SEEN THE PROMISED LAND.
"AND I WANT YOU TO KNOW THAT I MAY NOT GET THERE WITH YOU TONIGHT,
"BUT WE, AS A PEOPLE, WILL GET TO THE PROMISED LAND.
"SO, I AM NOT WORRIED.
"I AM NOT FEARING ANY MAN,
"'CAUSE MY EYES HAVE SEEN THE GLORY OF THE COMING OF THE LORD."
I BELIEVE THAT NIGHT, DR. KING'S DREAM WENT FROM BEING A DREAM
INTO BEING A PROMISE, A PROMISE FOR US.
AND I BELIEVE THAT THIS PROMISE IS TRUE, BECAUSE DR. KING SAID IT WOULD BE TRUE.
I BELIEVE THAT THE PROMISE IS TRUE BECAUSE GOD HAS ORDAINED IT TO BE TRUE.
I BELIEVE THAT IT IS TRUE BECAUSE WHEN WE LOOK AT OUR BETTER NATURE,
WHEN WE LIVE OUT OUR BEST SELVES,
WE CAN COME TOGETHER AS A PEOPLE
AND MAKE THIS DREAM OF EQUALITY A PROMISE OF REALITY.
AND SO, I BELIEVE, ON THIS NIGHT,
WHAT WE ARE TASKED AND WHAT WE ARE CALLED TO DO
IS TO FIND THAT TRUTH,
AND TO FIND THAT TRUTH WITHIN OURSELVES.
AS A YOUNG MAN, I GREW UP IN THE NORTH,
AND I TRAVELED TO THE SOUTH WHEN I WAS A LITTLE BOY--
ABOUT SEVEN, EIGHT YEARS OLD--
AND I WENT TO A GAS STATION AND I GOT OUT AT THE GAS STATION--
I DIDN'T KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT SEGREGATION--
AND I BENT DOWN TO GET A DRINK OF WATER.
THE GAS STATION ATTENDANT CAME UP BEHIND ME
AND GRABBED ME BY THE NECK AND SAID, "HEY, NIGGER, YOU GO DRINK IN THE BACK."
AND I REMEMBER GOING BACK TO THE BACK,
AND I LOOKED AT ALL THE FILTH AND THE GREASE,
AND I CAME BACK AND I HAD TEARS IN MY EYES.
AND MY FATHER-- TO THIS DAY, I CAN REMEMBER HIS PAIN.
I CAN REMEMBER HIS TEARS.
I CAN REMEMBER HIM THINKING, "MY GOSH."
AND I GOT IN THAT CAR AND I THOUGHT, "MY GOD, WHAT KIND OF PEOPLE IS THIS
"AND WHAT KIND OF PLACE IS THIS?"
BUT PEOPLE OF ALL COLORS DREAMED TOGETHER.
PEOPLE OF ALL COLORS SACRIFICED TOGETHER.
PEOPLE OF ALL COLORS DIED TOGETHER.
AND THEY CHANGED THE SOUTH.
AND IF WE CHANGED THE SOUTH YESTERDAY, WE CAN CHANGE AMERICA TODAY.
AND IF WE CAN CHANGE AMERICA TODAY, THEN WE CAN TAKE THE DREAM OF DR. KING
AND MAKE IT INTO THE PROMISE OF DR. KING.
AND IF WE CAN MAKE IT INTO THE PROMISE OF DR. KING,
THEN THE FULFILLMENT OF THAT PROMISE LIES IN YOUR HANDS
AND MY HANDS AND OUR HANDS.
WE CAN MAKE THIS PROMISE COME TRUE.
AMEN. >> (all) AMEN!
(applause)
>> GOOD EVENING.
IT IS SUCH AN HONOR TO BE WITH YOU.
IN THE EARLY PART OF THE 20th CENTURY,
AN INDIAN HINDU LAWYER NAMED MOHANDAS GANDHI
CHANGED THE COURSE OF HISTORY,
BY LEADING A RESISTANCE AGAINST THE BRITISH,
WHO HAD OPPRESSED HIS PEOPLE-- THE INDIAN PEOPLE--
FOR THE BETTER PART OF TWO CENTURIES.
ALONG WITH THE INSPIRATION OF HIS OWN HINDU SCRIPTURES,
GANDHI WAS ALSO HEAVILY INFLUENCED
BY THE NON-VIOLENT TEACHINGS OF JESUS.
HE WAS ABLE TO USE THESE IDEALS AGAINST THE BRUTE FORCE
OF THOSE WHO, IRONICALLY, CLAIMED ADHERENCE TO CHRISTIANITY.
AND THUS, OUT OF ALL THIS,
GANDHI DID NOT CHANGE HIS RELIGION.
SEVERAL DECADES LATER, ONE DR. MARTIN LUTHER KING JR.
BEGAN HIS OWN CAMPAIGN PROMOTING HUMAN RIGHTS, HERE IN THIS COUNTRY.
AND HE TOOK MUCH OF HIS INSPIRATION AND TACTICAL TRAINING
FROM THE METHODS OF NONCOOPERATION
AND RESISTANCE OF MOHANDAS GANDHI...
AND, AS WITH THE MOHATMA, HE DID NOT CHANGE HIS RELIGION.
AND SO, IT GOES BACK AGAIN.
TODAY, IN INDIA, THERE ARE PEOPLE OF SEVERAL RELIGIONS
WHO CONTINUE TO RESIST THE VIOLATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS.
AND NOT ONLY DO THEY DRAW THEIR STRENGTH FROM THEIR NATIVE SON, MOHANDAS GANDHI...
THEY'VE ALSO STUDIED THE TACTICS OF DR. MARTIN LUTHER KING.
AND BY AND LARGE, THEY DO NOT CHANGE THEIR RELIGION.
ACCORDING TO DR. LEWIS BALDWIN IN HIS BOOK,
"NEVER TO LEAVE US ALONE-- THE PRAYER LIFE OF MARTIN LUTHER KING,"
THIS HERO OF HUMAN RIGHTS WAS FAR AHEAD OF HIS TIME
IN TERMS OF INTERFAITH RELATIONS.
HE TAUGHT NOT ONLY TOLERATION...
TOLERATION SIMPLY MEANS "I WON'T KILL YOU IF YOU PRACTICE YOUR RELIGION."
BUT HE GRADUATED FROM TOLERANCE TO ACCEPTANCE,
AND FINALLY, TO APPRECIATION.
HIS BELIEF ON THE LEGITIMACY
OF OTHER FAITHS OUTSIDE OF THE CHRISTIAN FOLD
WOULD HAVE BEEN CONTROVERSIAL, TO SAY THE LEAST, IF HE HAD VOICED THEM.
BUT HIS THOUGHTS ON THE SUBJECT WERE NOT VOICED IN PUBLIC,
BECAUSE IT WOULD HAVE DISTRACTED HIM FROM HIS MORE IMPORTANT WORK.
THE CITY OF GRAND RAPIDS OFFICIALLY PROCLAIMED THE NEXT 12 MONTHS
AS "THE YEAR OF INTERFAITH UNDERSTANDING."
I CAN ONLY IMAGINE THAT IF DR. KING WERE ALIVE TODAY,
NOT ONLY WOULD HE ENCOURAGE US ALL TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THIS OPPORTUNITY
TO LEARN MORE ABOUT OUR NEIGHBORS...
BUT HE WOULD HAVE COME UP WITH THE IDEA HIMSELF.
THANK YOU.
(applause)
>> THANK YOU, GENTLEMEN, FOR YOUR PERSPECTIVE.
AND NOW, THE PRESENTATION OF COLORS
BY THE MICHIGAN ARMY NATIONAL GUARD.
(drum roll)
(band playing the National Anthem)
(the National Anthem continuing)
(applause)
(music)
>> (all singing) LIFT EVERY VOICE AND SING
TILL EARTH AND HEAVEN RING
RING WITH THE HARMONIES
OF LIBERTY
LET OUR REJOICING RISE
HIGH AS THE LISTENING SKIES
LET IT RESOUND
LOUD AS THE ROLLING SEA
SING A SONG FULL OF THE FAITH
THAT THE DARK PAST HAS TAUGHT US
SING A SONG FULL OF THE HOPE
THAT THE PRESENT HAS BROUGHT US
FACING THE RISING SUN
OF OUR NEW DAY BEGUN
LET US MARCH ON
TILL VICTORY
IS WON
(applause)
>> WE'D LIKE TO THANK-- THE NATIONAL ANTHEM
WAS PERFORMED BY EAST KENTWOOD HIGH SCHOOL JAZZ ENSEMBLE,
DIRECTED BY DR. JAMES SAWYER, CONDUCTOR,
AND THE NEGRO NATIONAL ANTHEM
WAS PERFORMED BY THE GRAND RAPIDS PUBLIC SCHOOLS "HUB" CHOIR,
VANESSA ALLEN, DIRECTOR.
THANK YOU SO MUCH.
THAT WAS GREAT, GREAT MUSIC.
(applause)
FOR THE PAST 25 YEARS, THE TWO PARTNER INSTITUTIONS--
THE GRAND RAPIDS COMMUNITY COLLEGE AND GRAND VALLEY STATE UNIVERSITY--
HAVE PROVIDED THE LEADERSHIP NECESSARY TO PLAN THIS EVENT.
TONIGHT'S 26th ANNUAL DR. MARTIN LUTHER KING JR. CELEBRATION PROGRAM
WELCOMES DAVENPORT UNIVERSITY FOR THEIR SECOND YEAR OF PARTNERSHIP.
ANOTHER INDICATION OF THE DESIRE FOR THE FULL COMMUNITY TO OBSERVE,
CELEBRATE, AND FULFILL DR. KING'S HOPES FOR ALL OF US.
REPRESENTING THE RESPECTIVE INSTITUTIONS,
WE WILL NOW HAVE THE PRESIDENTS
FROM GRAND RAPIDS COMMUNITY COLLEGE, DR. STEVEN ENDER,
THE PRESIDENT OF GRAND VALLEY STATE UNIVERSITY, DR. THOMAS HAAS,
AND THE PRESIDENT OF DAVENPORT UNIVERSITY, DR. RICHARD PAPPAS.
EACH WILL PRESENT A WELCOME MESSAGE FOR TONIGHT'S PROGRAM.
GENTLEMEN?
(applause)
>> THANK YOU, EVA.
AND ALSO, THANK YOU, EVA,
FOR BEING JUST A WONDERFUL MISTRESS OF CEREMONIES.
SHE DOES THIS EVERY YEAR, AND-- (applause)
IT'S JUST-- SHE DOES A GREAT JOB.
(applause)
WELL, GOOD EVENING, AND WELCOME TO GRAND RAPIDS COMMUNITY COLLEGE...
YOUR COMMUNITY COLLEGE.
I'M PROUD TO SAY THAT THIS IS THE 26th YEAR THAT GRCC
HAS HOSTED THIS IMPORTANT COMMUNITY GATHERING.
THE 26th TIME WE HAVE GATHERED TOGETHER
TO REFLECT ON DR. KING'S WORDS AND HIS PEACEFUL YET STRONG MANNER
OF DELIVERING THOSE WORDS.
WE ARE PLEASED TO BE JOINED TONIGHT BY OUR FRIENDS
FROM GRAND VALLEY STATE UNIVERSITY AND DAVENPORT UNIVERSITY...
GREAT PARTNERS TO THIS COMMUNITY COLLEGE, I WILL TELL YOU.
AND IT'S WONDERFUL THAT WE CAN PROVIDE FOR OUR RESIDENTS
THIS PIPELINE OF HIGHER EDUCATION EXPERIENCES.
AND I'M JUST DELIGHTED THAT MY TWO PRESIDENTIAL COLLEAGUES
COULD JOIN US TONIGHT.
IT'S A GREAT OCCASION FOR US TO COME TOGETHER.
"WE MUST LEARN TO LIVE TOGETHER AS BROTHERS
"OR PERISH TOGETHER AS FOOLS."
ONE OF THE MORE POWERFUL MARTIN LUTHER KING QUOTES I'VE COME ACROSS,
AND IT REALLY SPEAKS TO EVERYTHING THAT HE STOOD FOR,
HE FOUGHT FOR, AND HE LIVED FOR.
SOCIAL JUSTICE, EQUALITY, UNITY--
WE COULD NOT HOPE TO ACCOMPLISH ANY OF THESE WITHOUT COMING TOGETHER
AND LIVING AS BROTHERS, AND YES, AS SISTERS.
AND YET, AS BUSY AS OUR LIVES TEND TO GET,
WE NEED AN OCCASION LIKE THIS TO REMIND US OF THESE THINGS...
OF MARTIN LUTHER KING JR.'S MESSAGE OF PEACE, UNIFICATION,
TOLERANCE, SOCIAL JUSTICE, AND SIMPLY A BETTER LIFE FOR ALL OF US.
MESSAGES SAID TO US AND INSTILLED IN US THE IDEA THAT,
AT THE END OF ANY GIVEN DAY, WE ARE JUST PLAIN HUMAN BEINGS.
SO, WHY NOT TREAT EACH OTHER AS HUMAN BEINGS?
I THINK WE CAN ALL AGREE THAT WE HAVE COME A LONG WAYS
SINCE THE DAYS WHEN DR. KING WAS STILL WITH US,
IMPASSIONING US WITH MESSAGES AND FEELINGS OF UNITY,
AND FOR THIS, WE SHOULD TAKE GREAT PRIDE LIVING AS BROTHERS AND SISTERS.
AND YET, HIS WORK IS NOT COMPLETE.
WE MUST ENSURE THAT HIS MESSAGE IS CONTINUALLY RENEWED.
WE AT GRAND RAPIDS COMMUNITY COLLEGE ARE VERY PROUD TO HOST THIS EVENT
AND TO CO-HOST THIS EVENT.
I MUST RECOGNIZE CHRIS ARNOLD AND OUR DIVERSITY LEARNING CENTER
FOR THE FINE WORK THAT THEY DO IN THE COORDINATION OF THE EVENT.
(applause)
I'VE BEEN IN THE GRAND RAPIDS COMMUNITY NOW FOR THREE YEARS.
I WOULD TELL YOU THAT I CONSTANTLY...
THINK ABOUT HOW, IN SOME RESPECTS,
WE'VE COME SUCH A LONG WAY AS A COMMUNITY.
AND IN SOME WAYS, IT'S SO VITALLY IMPORTANT
THAT WE HOLD THIS EVENT EVERY YEAR,
BECAUSE WE STILL HAVE A LONG WAYS TO GO.
WE CAN TALK DIVERSITY,
BUT WE MUST TALK INCLUSION AND EMPOWERMENT
AND THE RIGHT FOR ALL OF US TO BE EQUAL, AS WE LIVE, WORK, AND PLAY TOGETHER.
IT'S OUR HONOR TO HAVE YOU HERE TONIGHT.
THANK YOU.
(applause)
>> THANK YOU, STEVE, AND IT IS AN HONOR FOR GRAND VALLEY STATE UNIVERSITY
TO BE PART OF THIS CELEBRATION.
SO, SINCE IT'S A CELEBRATION, WE'LL BEGIN BY SAYING "HAPPY NEW YEAR!"
>> (all) HAPPY NEW YEAR! >> IN FACT, IT IS!
IT'S 2012 AND I'M PLEASED TO KICK OFF OUR YEAR
WITH THIS CELEBRATION
OF THE IDEALS AND IDEAS OF THE REVEREND KING.
AND I'M SO GLAD TO BE ON THE STAGE WITH MY COLLEAGUES HERE, AS WELL,
WITH RICK PAPPAS FROM DAVENPORT
AND, OF COURSE, STEVE ENDER WITH COMMUNITY COLLEGE.
BUT TRULY IT IS-- IT'S THE START OF A NEW YEAR,
AND WE CAN CREATE NOW, TOGETHER--
IN FACT, THIS IS MY SIXTH YEAR ADDRESSING THIS GROUP,
AND THE GROUP'S GOTTEN LARGER, FRANKLY!
I'M GLAD TO SEE THAT.
I'M GLAD TO SEE THAT WE HAVE BROUGHT TOGETHER
PEOPLE FROM OUR COMMUNITY.
THAT WE ARE, IN FACT, CELEBRATING DR. KING
BECAUSE WE ARE BRINGING PEOPLE TOGETHER.
AND I KNOW THAT WE STARTED OFF WITH OUR PROGRAM THIS MORNING--
WE ARE IN FOR A GREAT TREAT WITH OUR SPEAKER,
OUR KEYNOTE SPEAKER, TONIGHT.
I DO ENJOY THE MUSIC THAT COMES ALONG WITH THIS CELEBRATION AS WELL.
BUT WHEN I THINK ABOUT THE LEGACY,
I THINK ABOUT THE LEGACY OF THE REVEREND KING,
I THINK ABOUT ONE WORD, IN PARTICULAR...
AND THAT WORD IS "RESPONSIBILITY."
RESPONSIBILITY TO SELF,
TO THOSE OF US WITHIN OUR SERVICE ROLES, OUR PROFESSIONS...
AND THEN, TO THE GREATER COMMUNITY.
AND AT GRAND VALLEY STATE UNIVERSITY, THAT ALIGNS SO WELL WITH OUR MISSION.
OUR MISSION IS TO SHAPE STUDENT LIVES, PROFESSIONS, AND OUR SOCIETY.
AND WHEN WE TAKE THAT IN ITS HOLISTIC FASHION,
IT COMES DOWN TO RESPONSIBILITY.
RESPONSIBILITY FOR OUR OWN BEHAVIORS AND OUR LEARNING.
AND WE WERE CHALLENGED BY THAT, BY DR. KING.
WHEN IT COMES TO OUR PROFESSIONS
AND THOSE THAT WE ARE SERVING WITH OUR JOBS
AND WITH OUR TALENTS, AGAIN, THE CHALLENGE OF DR. KING
COMES THROUGH LOUD AND CLEAR.
AND THEN, OF COURSE, THE REAL THRUST IS TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE WITH OUR TALENT,
IN SERVICE TO OUR COMMUNITIES, TO OUR NATION, AND TO OUR WORLD,
AND IF WE CAN DO THAT TOGETHER, WE ARE FULFILLING
AND HELPING REALLY CEMENT THE LEGACY OF DR. KING.
SO, TONIGHT, IT'S A CELEBRATION.
AND INDEED, FOR ME, IT IS A HAPPY NEW YEAR.
THANK YOU AND GOD BLESS.
(applause)
>> WELL, GOOD EVENING! >> (all) GOOD EVENING!
>> THAT WAS PRETTY GOOD.
THIS IS OUR SECOND YEAR OF SPONSORING,
AND WE'RE VERY PROUD TO BE WITH GRAND VALLEY STATE
AND GRAND RAPIDS COMMUNITY COLLEGE.
I WAS A LITTLE DISTURBED, THOUGH, WHEN I SAW THE ORDER
FOR THE SECOND STRAIGHT YEAR THAT I'M LAST.
(audience laughing)
BUT I WAS TOLD BY MOST OF THE PEOPLE IN THE FRONT ROW
THAT THEY SAVE THE BEST FOR LAST.
(audience laughing) TRUE?
WELL, WE ARE PROUD TO BE A MEMBER OF THIS,
AND I LOVE THE THEME OF "INHERIT THE DREAM."
WHEN I WAS A LITTLE BOY, I READ THE BOOK "BLACK LIKE ME."
HAVE YOU READ THAT BOOK? (scattered affirmation)
DID YOU LIKE IT?
DID IT TELL YOU SOMETHING?
IT SENT A MESSAGE TO ME ABOUT DISCRIMINATION.
AND THERE'S NOT ONE OF US-- I DON'T CARE WHAT YOUR BACKGROUND IS--
WHERE YOU HAVEN'T EXPERIENCED SOME DISCRIMINATION.
AND IT'S-- THERE'S NEVER BEEN A GREATER TIME THAN NOW
FOR PEOPLE OF ALL AGES,
FOR PEOPLE OF ALL BACKGROUNDS, TO GET TOGETHER
AND BRIDGE SOCIAL BARRIERS AND START SOLVING SOME OF THE PROBLEMS
THAT WE'VE HAD FOR SO VERY LONG.
AND I'LL GIVE YOU AN EXAMPLE.
DR. KING ONCE SAID, "OUR LIVES BEGIN TO END
"THE DAY WE BECOME SILENT ABOUT THINGS THAT MATTER."
NOW...
DR. KING WAS NOT A SHY PERSON ABOUT TALKING ABOUT THINGS THAT MATTER.
WOULD YOU AGREE? >> (all) YES.
>> WHAT HE TALKED ABOUT BACK THEN IS STILL PREVALENT TODAY.
HIS TEACHINGS TALKED ABOUT POVERTY,
ECONOMIC INSECURITY,
LOSS OF JOBS, AND LACK OF ACCESS TO EDUCATION.
AND TODAY, THOSE ARE STILL OUR MAJOR ISSUES.
AND YOU KNOW AND I KNOW THAT GENERATION
AFTER GENERATION AFTER GENERATION,
WHAT WAS THE ONE THING THAT BROUGHT PEOPLE OUT OF POVERTY?
THE ONE THING THAT RAISED THEM UP,
SO THAT THEY COULD WORK AND CONTRIBUTE TO SOCIETY?
YOU KNOW WHAT THAT ONE THING WAS?
EDUCATION.
TONY, SAY IT LOUDER, BECAUSE YOU WERE THE ONLY ONE IN THE ROOM.
(audience laughing) >> EDUCATION!
>> AND THROUGH AN EDUCATION, YOU CAN ACHIEVE,
AND HE KNEW THAT.
HE SAID THE PURPOSE OF EDUCATION
IS TO TEACH ONE TO THINK INTENSIVELY AND TO THINK CRITICALLY.
BUT HE HAD SOMETHING VERY IMPORTANT TO SAY.
HE SAID, "INTELLIGENCE PLUS CHARACTER...
"IS THE TRUE EDUCATION," THE VALUE OF TRUE EDUCATION.
AND YOU NOTICE HE DIDN'T SAY IT WAS JUST INTELLIGENCE.
HE TALKED ABOUT CHARACTER...
BECAUSE WITHOUT CHARACTER, YOU CAN'T LEAD.
AND WE NEED TO LEAD WITH CHARACTER, AND THAT HASN'T HAPPENED ALL THE TIME.
NOW, DAVENPORT UNIVERSITY...
WE'RE COMMITTING-- COMMITTED--
OR THEY'RE COMMITTING ME, ONE OF THE TWO--
(audience chuckling) THEY'RE COMMITTED
TO BEING A POSITIVE FORCE FOR CHANGE.
EVERY DAY, OUR VISION TALKS ABOUT "HOW CAN WE EMBRACE DIFFERENCES?
"HOW CAN WE EMBRACE DIFFERENT OPINIONS?
"HOW CAN WE PUT OUR ARMS AROUND WHAT'S SIMILAR AND WHAT'S NOT SIMILAR?"
AND IF YOU CAN'T DO IT AT A COLLEGE OR A UNIVERSITY, IT'S VERY DIFFICULT.
YOU SHOULD BE ABLE TO DO IT ANYWHERE,
BUT THIS IS WHERE IT'S GONNA HAPPEN-- AT DAVENPORT.
AND WE JUST HIRED, ABOUT NINE MONTHS AGO,
AN EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF DIVERSITY, EQUITY, AND INCLUSION.
I'D LIKE TO INTRODUCE DR. RHAE ANN BOOKER.
LET'S GIVE HER A ROUND OF APPLAUSE.
(applause)
WE'VE DONE SOME COOL THINGS, JUST LIKE GRAND VALLEY STATE
AND JUST LIKE GRAND RAPIDS COMMUNITY COLLEGE.
WE IMPLEMENTED DOMESTIC PARTNER BENEFITS.
WE HOSTED THE WEST MICHIGAN COLLEGE PRESIDENTS' DIVERSITY COMPACT SEMINAR.
WE'RE THE ONLY UNIVERSITY IN MICHIGAN
TO HOST A "WE DON'T WANT THEM HERE" EXHIBIT.
SO, LET ME CLOSE ON ONE OF MY FAVORITE MARTIN LUTHER KING QUOTES,
THAT I THINK MAKES A DIFFERENCE,
ESPECIALLY ON HIS PREVIOUS QUOTE ABOUT WHAT MATTERS.
HE SAID, "THE ULTIMATE MEASURE OF A PERSON
"IS NOT WHEN THEY STAND FOR SOMETHING
"IN MOMENTS OF COMFORT AND CONVENIENCE,
"BUT WHEN THEY STAND AT TIMES OF CHALLENGE AND CONTROVERSY."
WE NEED TO STAND TALL, AND STAND TALL WE WILL.
THANK YOU VERY MUCH.
(applause)
>> THANK YOU, GENTLEMEN...
FOR YOUR LEADERSHIP OVER THE YEARS
IN BRINGING THIS CELEBRATION TOGETHER.
YOU KNOW, IT'S BEEN 26 YEARS.
I THINK, RIGHT NOW, WE'RE GONNA TAKE A LOOK AT A VIDEO PRESENTATION,
WHICH CAPTURES THE HISTORY
OF THE PAST 26 YEARS IN CELEBRATION OF DR. KING'S LEGACY.
LET'S TAKE A LOOK.
>> (singing) I HAD A DREAM
OOO ABOUT A HOME
THAT WAS SO BRIGHT
>> IN THIS DREAM, WE VOICE OPPOSITION TO ALL FORMS OF BIGOTRY,
INCLUDING RACISM, SEXISM, AND CLASSISM.
ONE DAY, ALL OF OUR CHILDREN WILL NOT BE JUDGED BY THE COLOR OF THEIR SKIN,
BUT BY THE CONTENT OF THEIR CHARACTER.
>> (singing) KEEP YOUR EYES ON THE PRIZE
DON'T BE DISMAYED
>> MARTIN LUTHER KING WAS NOT ONLY A PATRIARCH IN HIS OWN FAMILY...
HE WAS A PATRIARCH FOR THE WORLD COMMUNITY.
THIS WAS A MAN WHO GOD BLESSED AND HE TOUCHED AND GAVE HIM THE VOICE,
GAVE HIM THE VOCABULARY, GAVE HIM THE CHARISMA,
GAVE HIM THE PASSION AND THE VISION TO STAND UP AND SAY,
"THIS IS WHAT I BELIEVE IN AND THIS IS WHAT I WANT TO SEE."
>> IT WAS, IN FACT, THE AFRICAN PHILOSOPHER
WHO DECLARED THAT THERE ARE TWO IMPORTANT DAYS
IN THE LIFE OF ANY HUMAN BEING.
THE FIRST DAY IS THE DAY THAT YOU ARE BORN.
THE SECOND DAY IS THE DAY THAT YOU DISCOVER WHY YOU WERE BORN.
>> SO, THERE'S A LOT OF BLOOD THAT GOT US HERE TO WHERE WE ARE NOW,
'CAUSE 30 OR 40 YEARS AGO, WHEN THIS THING GOT STARTED,
WE COULDN'T HAVE BEEN HERE SITTIN' LIKE WE SITTIN'
IN THIS TOWN TONIGHT, OKAY? (applause)
>> SO, WE ARE, AS THE GREAT POET LAUREATE OF ILLINOIS TAUGHT US--
GWENDOLYN BROOKS-- "WE ARE EACH OTHER'S KEEPER.
"WE ARE EACH OTHER'S HARVEST.
"WE ARE EACH OTHER'S MAGNITUDE AND BOND.
"WE ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR ONE ANOTHER."
>> UNDERSTAND THAT WE ALL MUST TURN THAT MIRROR AROUND...
AND DETERMINE WHAT ROLE WE PLAY
IN THIS GAME TO MAKE OURSELVES BETTER...
BECAUSE HERE'S THE REALITY--
WE ARE, FOR BETTER OR FOR WORSE, TIED TO EACH OTHER.
>> BUT IT IS SO IMPORTANT TO HAVE THAT DREAM,
TO HAVE THAT THING THAT PUSHES YOU ON.
FREQUENTLY, WHEN THE ROAD GETS TOUGH...
AND SOMETIMES, THAT'S THE ONLY THING THAT WILL PULL YOU THROUGH.
>> SO, WHEN WE TALK ABOUT THE VICTORIES OF THE CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT,
WE HAVE TO ACKNOWLEDGE THAT THESE ARE OUR VICTORIES,
AND WE CAN SHAPE OUR OWN PHILOSOPHIES,
IF WE ACT TOGETHER IN PURSUIT OF JUSTICE.
>> WE HAVE ALL THESE CHILDREN WHO DON'T KNOW WHAT HAPPENED.
HOW CAN THEY APPRECIATE THE POWER OF EDUCATION,
IF THEY THINK IT COMES WITH NO COST?
>> AND YOU KNOW THAT THERE'S SO MUCH WORK TO BE DONE IN MODERN AMERICAN.
IF TRULY ARE TO SAY THAT WE ARE A COUNTRY
WHERE WE UNDERSTAND THE HOPE--
THE HOPE THAT THE DARK PAST HAS TAUGHT US.
>> AMERICANS OF ALL COLORS-- WE HAVE MADE TREMENDOUS PROGRESS.
SO THAT IF I CLOSE MY EYES IN 1960 AND THEN OPEN THEM HERE IN 2010,
I MIGHT ACTUALLY BELIEVE THAT WHAT I SEE ARE THE SIGNS OF FULL INCLUSION,
BUT I ASK THE QUESTION, "IS IT AN ILLUSION?"
>> IF YOU DO NOTHING, NOTHING CHANGES,
FOR OURSELVES OR FOR THE GENERATIONS THAT COME AFTER US.
AND IF WE DON'T KNOW THAT WE, IN THIS ROOM, WERE THE ONES THAT DID IT,
WE WON'T KNOW THAT WE CAN DO IT AGAIN...
AND THAT'S WHEN THE OTHER SIDE WINS.
>> (singing) EVERYTHING IS GONNA BE ALL RIGHT
SOMEDAY
(music)
>> WOW, THOSE ARE SOME GREAT MEMORIES, AREN'T THEY?
JUST-- HOW MANY PEOPLE HERE HAVE PRETTY MUCH BEEN HERE FOR ALL OF THOSE YEARS?
ALL RIGHT!
AWESOME!
GIVE YOURSELVES A HAND!
(applause)
SOME AMAZING EXPERIENCES.
WELL, EACH YEAR, OUR SPONSOR, WARNER NORCROSS & JUDD,
HOLDS AN ESSAY CONTEST WITHIN THE GRAND RAPIDS PUBLIC SCHOOL SYSTEM.
I WANNA WELCOME RIGHT NOW MR. RODNEY MARTIN,
DIVERSITY PARTNER FOR WARNER NORCROSS & JUDD,
TO INTRODUCE THIS YEAR'S WINNER, MR. JAMES JAMARIUS McBRIDE
FROM RIVERSIDE MIDDLE SCHOOL.
(applause)
>> THANK YOU VERY MUCH.
IT'S A PLEASURE TO BE HERE, AGAIN, WITH YOU THIS EVENING
TO PRESENT THIS YEAR'S WINNER OF THE MARTIN LUTHER KING JR. ESSAY CONTEST.
THIS IS THE SEVENTH YEAR THAT OUR LAW FIRM HAS SPONSORED THIS ESSAY CONTEST,
AND IT'S BEEN A GREAT HONOR TO PARTNER WITH
THE GRAND RAPIDS PUBLIC SCHOOLS IN DOING SO.
WE'D LIKE TO THANK, AGAIN, CARMEN FERNANDEZ AND SHERYL DEPKER
OF THE SOUTHWEST COMMUNITY CAMPUS FOR THEIR CONTINUED HELP
IN PUTTING THIS CONTEST ON.
WE'RE HAPPY TO ANNOUNCE THAT THIS YEAR,
WE HAD OVER 200 ESSAYS SUBMITTED AS PART OF THE COMPETITION...
ABOUT A THIRD MORE THAN LAST YEAR, WHICH IS PHENOMENAL.
(applause)
OVER 40 OF OUR ATTORNEYS AND STAFF MEMBERS FROM ACROSS THE STATE
READ THE ESSAYS AND, AS A RESULT, WE SELECTED THREE WINNERS
AND 20 HONORABLE MENTIONS.
WE HAVE A NUMBER OF THE STUDENTS WHO RECEIVED HONORABLE MENTION
IN THE AUDIENCE TONIGHT, AND I'D LIKE TO HAVE THEM STAND, IF THEY WOULD.
I HAVE SOME OVER HERE-- ARE THERE OTHERS?
(applause)
AND THEN, I KNOW WE HAVE AT LEAST ONE OF THE WINNERS
BESIDES JAMARIUS HERE THIS EVENING--
ANDRUW SANDY FROM RIVERSIDE RIVER SCHOOL-- ER, RIVERSIDE MIDDLE SCHOOL,
WAS OUR SECOND PLACE RUNNER UP.
(applause)
KEVIN O'NEIL FROM THE CENTER FOR ECONOMICOLOGY
WAS OUR FIRST RUNNER UP.
KEVIN, ARE YOU HERE THIS EVENING?
(applause)
YOU KNOW, IT'S VERY FITTING THAT AN ESSAY CONTEST TO HONOR DR.--
TO HAVE AN ESSAY CONTEST TO HONOR DR. MARTIN LUTHER KING,
FOR BESIDES HIS COURAGE AND HIS FAITH,
ONE OF HIS GREATEST WEAPONS IN FIGHTING INJUSTICE
WAS HIS MASTERY OF OUR LANGUAGE AND THE TOOLS OF RHETORIC.
EVERY YEAR, ON THIS OCCASION, I RE-READ ONE OF HIS GREATEST WORKS,
"A LETTER FROM A BIRMINGHAM JAIL."
IN IT, HE ANSWERS HIS CRITICS FROM THE WHITE CHURCH,
SOME OF WHOM DISCOUNTED HIM AS AN EXTREMIST.
OF THOSE PEOPLE, HE ASKED TWO QUESTIONS IN THIS LETTER.
HE SAID-- HE WROTE, "SO THE QUESTION IS NOT WHETHER WE WILL BE EXTREMISTS,
"BUT WHAT KIND OF EXTREMISTS WE WILL BE.
"WILL WE BE EXTREMISTS FOR HATE OR FOR LOVE?
"WILL WE BE EXTREMISTS FOR THE PRESERVATION OF INJUSTICE
"OR FOR THE EXTENSION OF JUSTICE?"
OUR WINNING ESSAYIST TONIGHT USES THE SAME RHETORICAL TECHNIQUE
AND HAS A QUESTION FOR ALL OF US.
IT'S MY PLEASURE TO INTRODUCE TO YOU JAMARIUS McBRIDE,
A 6th GRADER AT THE RIVERSIDE MIDDLE SCHOOL.
(applause, cheering)
>> "ARE YOU WILLING?"
"DR. KING CHALLENGED US WITH ANSWERS TO AN URGENT QUESTION,
"'WHAT ARE YOU DOING FOR OTHERS?'
"DR. KING WANTS US TO HELP FROM THE KINDNESS OF OUR HEARTS.
"SO, HAVE YOU HELPED SOMEONE YET?
"I ONCE HELPED A NEW KID WHO HAD AUTISM.
"I TREATED HIM THE SAME AS I WANT TO BE TREATED.
"I PLAYED WITH HIM OUTSIDE AND I ALSO SHOWED HIM WHERE TO GO
"TO GET BACK TO HIS CLASS.
"HE ALSO HELPED ME.
"I WAS HAVING A HARD TIME ON A MATH PROBLEM,
"SO HE HELPED ME FIGURE IT OUT.
"WHAT ARE YOU DOING FOR OTHERS?
"I KNOW DR. KING WOULD BE PROUD OF ME.
"IN THE NEXT TWO MONTHS, I WILL SHOVEL THE SNOW FOR THE ELDERLY FOR FREE.
"I WILL ALSO HELP MY MOM WITHOUT HER ASKING ME.
"WHEN MY BROTHER NEEDS WATCHING, I WILL ALWAYS HELP OUT.
"I ALSO PLAN TO HELP WITH THE COOKING, CLEANING, AND WASHING.
"MAYBE I CAN HELP MY BROTHERS AND SISTERS WITH THEIR HOMEWORK.
"I WANT TO BE THE BROTHER
"MY BROTHERS AND SISTERS CAN LOOK UP TO IN A TIME OF NEED.
"DR. KING ALSO WANTED US TO WORK TOGETHER TO STOP VIOLENCE.
"IF THE WHOLE WORLD PITCHED IN AND HELPED OUT,
"WE WOULD LIVE ON A PLANET WITHOUT ENEMIES,
"AND THERE WOULD BE NO NEED FOR VIOLENCE.
"DR. KING TAUGHT ME TO ACT WITHOUT VIOLENCE.
"IF I GET HIT, I WILL NOT HIT BACK.
"I WILL JUST TELL AN ADULT.
"MAYBE IF EVERYONE HELPS OUT,
"WE ALL CAN BE FRIENDS, AND NO VIOLENCE WILL COME.
"WHY SHOULD WE GET HURT FOR DOING THE RIGHT THING THAT NEEDS TO BE DONE?
"FAIRNESS MUST BE SOMETHING THAT WE ALL GET AND GIVE.
"I WISH I COULD SEE DR. KING'S FACE.
"IF HE WAS HERE, HE WOULD NOT BE PLEASED AT THE WAY
"SOME PEOPLE STILL TREAT EACH OTHER.
"SOME PEOPLE GET INTO FIGHTS AND DON'T TELL.
"AND THEN, WHEN THERE IS A FIGHT, NO ONE TELLS AN ADULT.
"BUT WHEN SOMEONE DID TELL, THEY GOT TEASED FOR TELLING.
"IT IS NOT FAIR THAT PEOPLE GET TEASED FOR DOING THE RIGHT THING.
"WE COULD STOP THE TEASING IF WE WORKED TOGETHER AS A TEAM
"AND STAND UP FOR WHAT IS RIGHT.
"I PLAN TO HONOR DR. KING BY HELPING, DOING THE RIGHT THING,
"AND ACTING WITHOUT VIOLENCE.
"I LEARNED THAT DOING THE RIGHT THING IS GOOD.
"AND IF SOMEONE IS TEASING YOU, TELL AN ADULT.
"MAYBE DR. KING'S DREAM IS ALMOST COMING TRUE.
"WE ALL NEED TO HELP AND TREAT EACH OTHER FAIRLY.
"ARE YOU WILLING?"
(applause, cheering)
>> WAY TO GO, JAMARIUS.
ALL RIGHT, THE VOICE OF THE FUTURE!
(applause)
WOW.
WE WILL NOW BE JOINED BY CHRIS ARNOLD FROM GRCC,
RHAE ANN BOOKER FROM DAVENPORT UNIVERSITY,
AND BOBBY SPRINGER FROM GRAND VALLEY STATE UNIVERSITY,
WHO WILL PRESENT THE 2012-13 SCHOLARSHIP RECIPIENTS.
BUT FIRST, WE'LL HEAR FROM A PREVIOUS M.L.K. SCHOLARSHIP RECIPIENT--
A STUDENT FROM GRAND VALLEY STATE UNIVERSITY.
(music)
>> MY PARENTS MIGRATED FROM MEXICO ABOUT ROUGHLY 20 YEARS AGO.
LIKE ANY IMMIGRANT, THEY WERE LOOKING FOR A BETTER LIFE--
A BETTER LIFE FOR THEIR DEPENDENTS, FOR THEIR CHILDREN, ANYTHING.
SO, I'M THE SECOND ONE TO GO TO COLLEGE.
I'M STILL (indistinct).
MY SISTER WAS THE FIRST ONE TO GO.
SHE'S GOES TO UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN.
I WAS NEXT IN LINE.
THEY'RE VERY GRATEFUL THAT WE'RE GOING TO COLLEGE.
THEY-- THAT'S WHAT THEY SACRIFICED THEIR LIFE FOR,
FOR US TO ACHIEVE SOMETHING GREAT IN THE UNITED STATES,
AND THAT GREATNESS COMES IN THE UNIVERSITIES.
(speaking Spanish)
BUT WHEN I RECEIVED A PHONE CALL THAT I RECEIVED
THE MARTIN LUTHER KING SCHOLARSHIP, I WAS LIKE, "ARE YOU KIDDING ME?
"HOW CAN THIS-- HOW DID THIS HAPPEN TO ME?"
I MEAN, I'M SO GRATEFUL THAT SOMEBODY IS WILLING TO HELP ME OUT
TO PURSUE MY DREAMS OF GETTING A HIGHER EDUCATION IN THE UNITED STATES.
MY PARENTS WERE VERY GRATEFUL.
THEY WERE... THEY HAD A SIGN OF RELIEF.
'CAUSE THEY FELT LIKE THEY NEEDED TO HELP ME OUT
IN ORDER TO PAY FOR SOMETHING,
WHEN THEY WEREN'T ABLE OR CAPABLE OF HELPING ME OUT
TO COME TO THE UNIVERSITY.
IT WAS DEFINITELY A SIGN OF RELIEF.
>> HECTOR VLADIMIR GARCIA.
(cheering)
>> WHEN THEY SAW ME GRADUATE FROM HIGH SCHOOL, THEY WERE VERY PROUD.
I MEAN, JUST SEEING SOME-- THEIR CHILD SUCCEED IN HIGH SCHOOL
JUST MADE THEM VERY HAPPY.
MANY PEOPLE IN THE INNER CITY SCHOOLS--
THE PEOPLE THAT I WENT TO SCHOOL WITH BEFORE--
WERE WORRIED ABOUT FINANCIAL.
COLLEGE IS VERY EXPENSIVE.
BUT IN THE END, IT'S A VERY GOOD INVESTMENT IN MYSELF.
I'M STUDYING MECHANICAL ENGINEERING,
BUT IN THE LONG RUN, I WANNA BE A BIOMEDICAL ENGINEER...
WHAT THEY DO IS, LIKE, PROSTHETICS, ARTIFICIAL LIMBS,
PACEMAKERS, THINGS LIKE THAT.
I FELT LIKE THAT'S SOMETHING FOR ME,
THAT'S SOMETHING THAT I COULD POSSIBLY DO IN THE FUTURE.
I FEEL LIKE BEING AWARDED SUCH A GREAT AWARD
MEANS SOMETHING ABOUT ME,
THAT I POTENTIALLY COULD BE A GREAT LEADER JUST LIKE MARTIN LUTHER KING.
I WOULD LIKE TO THANK THE MARTIN LUTHER KING COMMITTEE
IN HONORING ME TO ATTAIN THE MARTIN LUTHER KING SCHOLARSHIP.
I'M VERY GRATEFUL.
THANK YOU VERY MUCH.
(applause)
>> GOOD EVENING.
DR. KING VALUED EDUCATION AS A WAY FOR EACH PERSON
TO UNDERSTAND THE CHOICES HE OR SHE HAS,
CHOICES THAT CAN LEAD TO A FULFILLING LIFE
AND THE OPPORTUNITY TO CONTRIBUTE TO A SUSTAINABLE SOCIETY.
SINCE 1990, GRAND RAPIDS COMMUNITY COLLEGE
HAS AWARDED OVER 50 SCHOLARSHIPS TO STUDENTS
THROUGHOUT THE KENT INTERMEDIATE SCHOOL DISTRICT,
BASED ON THEIR INVOLVEMENT IN COMMUNITY SERVICE
AND ACTIVITIES IN SUPPORT OF DIVERSITY AND INCLUSION.
ON BEHALF OF THE BOB AND ALEICIA WOODRICK DIVERSITY LEARNING CENTER,
WE ARE PLEASED TO AWARD THE "INHERIT THE DREAM" SCHOLARSHIP RECIPIENTS
TO THE FOLLOWING STUDENTS-- CHARLES B. SINGLETON JR.,
JOHN D. SINGLETON III, AND KESLYN SLATER.
(applause)
>> HI, MY NAME IS JOHN SINGLETON.
I GO TO EAST GRAND RAPIDS HIGH SCHOOL, AND I WANNA MAJOR IN NURSING.
(applause)
>> I'M CHARLES SINGLETON.
I ATTEND EAST GRAND RAPIDS HIGH SCHOOL, AND I PLAN ON MAJORING IN NURSING.
(applause)
>> I'M KESLYN SLATER, I ATTEND ALGOMA CHRISTIAN SCHOOL,
AND I PLAN ON MAJORING IN POLITICAL SCIENCE.
(applause)
>> AND YES, JOHN AND CHARLES ARE TWINS,
IF YOU DIDN'T NOTICE THAT.
(audience laughing)
>> GOOD EVENING.
IT IS MY PLEASURE TO PRESENT THE TWO RECIPIENTS
OF OUR DAVENPORT MARTIN LUTHER KING "INHERIT THE DREAM" SCHOLARSHIP.
AT DAVENPORT, 70 PERCENT OF OUR STUDENTS ARE OVER AGE 25,
AS WORKING ADULTS AND HOMEMAKERS GO AND RETURN TO COLLEGE
TO FURTHER THEIR EDUCATION.
TONIGHT, I AM EXCITED TO PRESENT THIS SCHOLARSHIP TO MRS. KIRBY BREMER,
WHO IS A WIFE AND A MOTHER OF TWO,
AND MAJORING IN BUSINESS MARKETING
WITH A SPECIALTY IN ADVERTISING AND PROMOTIONS.
CONGRATULATIONS, MRS. BREMER.
(applause)
>> I WOULD JUST LIKE TO THANK DAVENPORT UNIVERSITY
FOR THIS WONDERFUL OPPORTUNITY,
FOR DR. RHAE ANN BOOKER FOR ENCOURAGING ME TO APPLY,
AND TO THESE TWO LITTLE GIRLS, WHO GIVE ME THE MOTIVATION EVERY DAY
TO TRY AND BE A MOM AND WORK AND GO TO SCHOOL.
(applause)
>> OUR SECOND RECIPIENT WAS UNABLE TO BE HERE, DUE TO ILLNESS,
BUT I WANNA SHARE A LITTLE BIT ABOUT HER,
BECAUSE IT SPEAKS TO THE DIVERSE COMMUNITY WE HAVE AT DAVENPORT.
THE SECOND RECIPIENT IS MISS GINA TIRET,
AND SHE SPEAKS TO THE MUTUALITY IN TWO YEAR
AND FOUR YEAR COLLEGES AND UNIVERSITIES,
AS WE WORK TOGETHER TO SERVE ALL OF OUR DESERVING STUDENTS.
GINA IS A TRANSFER STUDENT,
SO SHE'LL BECOME A PART OF OUR TRANSFER COMMUNITY,
AND PURSUING A CAREER IN THE GROWING FIELD OF TECHNOLOGY.
THANK YOU.
(applause)
>> I HAVE THE OPPORTUNITY TO PRESENT THE TWO SCHOLARSHIP RECIPIENTS
WHO ARE ATTENDING GRAND VALLEY STATE UNIVERSITY.
AND THIS IS THE REASON WHY I REALLY LOVE MY JOB...
IS TO BE ABLE TO CALL TWO YOUNG PEOPLE
AND SHARE WITH THEM THAT THEY ARE WINNERS OF THIS SCHOLARSHIP.
AND YOU SHOULD HEAR ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE PHONE,
WHEN I MAKE THAT PHONE CALL.
THEY CAN'T BELIEVE IT.
BUT I SHARE WITH 'EM, "THIS IS JUST THE BEGINNING.
"IF YOU CONTINUE TO WORK HARD, MORE IS TO COME."
I WOULD LIKE TO SHARE WITH YOU THE TWO RECIPIENTS...
EARLYSHA ROSS AND ALIYAH WALKER.
(applause, cheering)
>> HI, I'M EARLYSHA ROSS AND I ATTEND CRESTON HIGH SCHOOL.
I PLAN TO MAJOR IN ATHLETIC TRAINING.
(applause)
>> HI, MY NAME IS ALIYAH WALKER, AND I ATTEND OTTAWA HILLS HIGH SCHOOL,
AND I PLAN TO MAJOR IN SOCIAL WORK.
(applause, cheering)
>> CONGRATULATIONS.
LET'S GIVE 'EM A ROUND OF APPLAUSE.
(applause)
YOU'RE NEVER TOO OLD TO HAVE A HAPPY CHILDHOOD,
OR TO LEARN SOME MORE, RIGHT?
HERE WE GO.
I'D LIKE TO INTRODUCE RIGHT NOW A VERY SPECIAL TREAT,
DR. MARVIN SAPP, PASTOR AT LIGHTHOUSE FULL LIFE CENTER CHURCH...
(applause, cheering) AND THE M.L.K. COMMUNITY CHOIR!
(testing instruments)
>> CHECK TWO-ONE-TWO.
I'M DEFINITELY GOING TO NEED SOME MONITOR.
DEFINITELY-- OH, YEAH, THAT'S WONDERFUL.
THAT'S MUCH BETTER.
Y'ALL BEEN SITTING DOWN FOR A LITTLE WHILE...
SO WE AIN'T GONNA SIT DOWN ALL NIGHT.
IS THAT A'IGHT? >> (all) ALL RIGHT!
>> WE CAME TO CELEBRATE, IS THAT RIGHT? >> (all) YES!
>> SO, LET'S CELEBRATE NOT ONLY THE KING,
BUT LET'S CELEBRATE THE KING OF KINGS AS WELL.
(cheering)
(music)
(singing) I FEEL THE PRESENCE OF THE LORD
MOVING IN THE ATMOSPHERE
LIKE ON THE DAY OF PENTCOST BUT ALL WE WANTED MORE
A SOUND CAME FROM HEAVEN AND LIGHT RUSHING MIGHTY FORCE
NOW, PUT YOUR HANDS TOGETHER-- SOMETHING LIKE THIS-- COME ON, EVERYBODY.
(all clapping)
(singing) I FEEL THE PRESENCE OF THE LORD
MOVING IN THE ATMOSPHERE
LIKE ON THE DAY OF PENTECOST ALL WE WANTED MORE
A SOUND CAME FROM HEAVEN AND LIGHT RUSHING MIGHTY FORCE
RUSHING RUSHING MIGHTY FORCE
>> VERSE NUMBER ONE, LET'S SING.
(singing) I BELIEVE IN THE PROMISES OH YEAH
THAT THE LORD WOULD TRULY COME OH YEAH
WITH MIRACLES SIGNS AND WONDERS OH YEAH
AND THE POWER FROM ABOVE OH YEAH
LIKE ON THE DAY OF PENTCOST BUT ALL WE WANTED MORE
A SOUND CAME FROM HEAVEN AND LIGHT RUSHING MIGHTY FORCE
RUSHING RUSHING MIGHTY FORCE
>> VERSE NUMBER TWO.
(singing) RIGHT BEFORE HE ASCENDED OH YEAH
THE APOSTLES WERE STANDING RIGHT THERE OH YEAH
MY BIBLE IS A WITNESS OH YEAH
THAT THE (indistinct) OH YEAH
SAY I BELIEVE IN THE PROMISE OH YEAH
I BELIEVE HIS WORD IS TRUE OH YEAH
I BELIEVE THERE'S A MIRACLE IN HERE OH YEAH
AND IT'S ALL FOR ME AND YOU OH YEAH
SO COME SWING IT
OH HE REALLY WILL
OH YEAH THAT IT'S REAL
(indistinct singing)
WE NEED YOUR (indistinct) OH YEAH
WE NEED TO WORD FROM YOU OH YEAH
FRESH WIND FRESH WIND OH YEAH
(indistint singing)
NOW HEAL THIS HOUSE HEAL THIS HOUSE
HEAL THIS HOUSE HEAL THIS HOUSE
HEAL THIS HOUSE HEAL THIS HOUSE
HEAL THIS HOUSE HEAL THIS HOUSE
WITH YOUR POWER HEAL THIS HOUSE
HEAL THIS HOUSE HEAL THIS HOUSE
WITH YOUR PRESENCE HEAL THIS HOUSE
HEAL THIS HOUSE HEAL THIS HOUSE
WITH YOUR GREATNESS HEAL THIS HOUSE
HEAL THIS HOUSE HEAL THIS HOUSE
WITH YOUR HEALING HEAL THIS HOUSE
HEAL THIS HOUSE HEAL THIS HOUSE
I SAID WITH ME HEAL THIS HOUSE
I SAID WITH ME HEAL THIS HOUSE
ALL I NEED IS TO HEAL THIS HOUSE
HEAL THIS HOUSE HEAL THIS HOUSE
NOW HEAL THE HOUSE HEAL THIS HOUSE
WITH YOUR PRESENCE SAY COME ON NOW
HEAL THIS HOUSE WITH YOUR PRESENCE
SO COME ON HEAL THIS HOUSE WITH YOUR PRESENCE
SO COME ON HEAL THIS HOUSE WITH YOUR PRESENCE
COME ON HEAL THIS HOUSE WITH YOUR PRESENCE
COME ON AND HEAL THIS HOUSE HEAL THIS HOUSE WITH YOUR PRESENCE
COME ON HEAL THIS HOUSE WITH YOUR PRESENCE
HEAL THIS HOUSE HEAL THIS HOUSE WITH YOUR PRESENCE
FRESH WIND FRESH WIND
OH OH YEAH
DOO DOO DOO DOH
FRESH WIND FRESH WIND
FRESH WIND FRESH WIND
NOW HEAL THE HOUSE HEAL THE HOUSE WITH YOUR PRESENCE
(applause)
>> HEAL THE HOUSE WITH YOUR PRESENCE, EVERY CHANCE WE GET.
AS THE BODY OF BELIEVERS, WE OUGHT TO MAKE A DECISION-- A CONSTANT DECISION--
TO GIVE GOD THE PRAISE THAT HE DESERVES. >> (all) AMEN.
>> ALL THE HONOR AND ALL THE GLORY.
BECAUSE HE'S DUE IT, ISN'T HE? >> (all) YES!
>> I SAID, "ISN'T GOD DESERVING OF THE PRAISE?"
>> (all) YES! (applause)
>> SO, I'VE LEARNED THAT I DON'T HAVE TO WAIT TILL AFTER HE DOES SOMETHING...
FOR ME TO GIVE HIM GLORY.
BUT THERE'S A SIMPLE SONG THAT JUST SIMPLY SAYS
THAT WE NEED TO LEARN TO SIMPLY PRAISE HIM IN ADVANCE.
>> THAT'S RIGHT! (music)
>> (singing) I'VE HAD MY SHARE OF UPS AND DOWNS
TIMES WHEN THERE WAS NO ONE AROUND
BUT GOD CAME AND SPOKE THESE WORDS TO ME
PRAISE WILL COME TO YOU (indistinct) HELP ME SING
I'VE HAD MY SHARE OF UPS AND DOWNS
TIMES WHEN THERE WAS NO ONE AROUND
GOD CAME SPOKE THESE WORDS TO ME
PRAISE WILL COME TO YOU
SO I STARTED SINGING
AND THEN I STARTED CLAPPING
AND THEN I STARTED DANCING
PEOPLE WERE LAUGHING
PRAYING THROUGH MY PROBLEMS
AND HE KNEW MY PAIN HALLELUJAH
BUT I KNEW GOD WOULD TAKE THEM AWAY
OH OH OH
CAN Y'ALL SING IT ONE MORE TIME
OOO
I'VE HAD MY SHARE OF UPS AND DOWNS
TIMES WHEN THERE WAS NO ONE AROUND
GOD CAME AND SPOKE THESE WORDS TO ME
PRAISE WILL COME TO YOU
SO I STARTED SINGING AND THEN I STARTED CLAPPING
AND THEN I STARTED DANCING
PEOPLE EVERYWHERE PEOPLE WERE LAUGHING
THEY KNEW MY PROBLEMS THEY KNOW MY PROBLEMS
AND THEY KNEW MY PAIN THEY KNEW MY PAIN
BUT I KNEW GOD WOULD TAKE THEM AWAY
THAT'S WHY I PRAISE HIM WITH MY HANDS
THAT'S WHY I PRAISE HIM WITH LEGS
FOR HE HAS GIVEN ME A SECOND CHANCE
COME ON AND PRAISE HIM
THAT'S WHY I PRAISE HIM IN THIS SONG
WHEN THINGS ARE RIGHT AND WHEN THINGS GO WRONG
FOR HE'S GIVEN ME A SECOND CHANCE
COME ON LET'S PRAISE HIM
OH PRAISE HIM PRAISE HIM
OPEN YOUR MOUTH PRAISE HIM
PRAISE THE LORD PRAISE HIM
BLESS HIS NAME PRAISE HIM
SAID HE IS WORTHY PRAISE HIM
COME ON EVERYBODY PRAISE HIM
OH PRAISE HIM PRAISE HIM
PRAISE HIM PRAISE HIM
ON THE MOUNTAINTOPS PRAISE HIM
PRAISE HIM PRAISE HIM
IN THE VALLEY LOW PRAISE HIM
OH PRAISE HIM PRAISE HIM
COME ON EVERYBODY
PRAISE HIM
OOO PRAISE HIM PRAISE HIM
WHEN THINGS ARE GOOD PRAISE HIM
PRAISE HIM PRAISE HIM
WHEN THINGS ARE BAD PRAISE HIM
PRAISE HIM PRAISE HIM
COME ON EVERYBODY PRAISE HIM
PRAISE HIM PRAISE HIM
WHEN I'M UP PRAISE HIM
PRAISE HIM PRAISE HIM
WHEN I'M DOWN PRAISE HIM
ALL MY LIFE ALL MY LIFE
I WILL PRAISE HIM
PRAISE HIM
OOO PRAISE HIM PRAISE HIM
WHEN THINGS ARE GOOD PRAISE HIM
PRAISE HIM PRAISE HIM
SOME ON EVERY SIDE PRAISE HIM
WHEN I'M LOW WHEN I'M LOW
I WILL PRAISE HIM
PRAISE HIM OOO
OH OH OH OH OH OH OH OH
OH OH OH OH OH OH OH OH
OOO
COME ON AND PRAISE HIM
SING IT FOR ME ONE MORE TIME SAY IT
OH OH OH OH OH OH OH OH
OH OH OH OH OH OH OH OH
OOO
COME ON AND PRAISE HIM
OH OH OH OH OH OH OH OH
OH OH OH OH OH OH OH OH
OOO
COME ON AND PRAISE HIM
SING IT FOR ME ONE MORE TIME SING
OH OH OH OH OH OH OH OH
OH OH OH OH OH OH OH OH
OOO
COME ON AND PRAISE HIM
(applause)
>> NOW, I TRY TO LET-- TRIED TO GET OUT OF THIS ONE,
BUT TYRESE IS KINDA MAKING ME DO THIS.
I, UM...
IT'S NO SECRET THAT...
THE LAST 16 MONTHS OF MY LIFE
HAS BEEN... FAIRLY DIFFERENT.
TRAUMATIC, IF YOU WILL.
AND, UH, I DON'T KNOW WHY IT IS (indistinct),
THAT WHENEVER I GO THROUGH THINGS,
GOD GIVES ME A SONG.
AND, UH, WELL, SIX MONTHS AGO, GOD GAVE ME A SONG
AND I ACTUALLY RECORDED IT ON MY NEW CD.
AND I HAVEN'T SUNG IT ANYWHERE YET, OTHER THAN AT MY CHURCH.
SO, SINCE Y'ALL HERE...
(cheering)
THE SONG IS SIMPLY CALLED "MY TESTIMONY."
SO, JUST LISTEN TO THE WORDS AND LET'S SEE HOW THIS GOES.
(music)
THAT'S NOT IT. (music stopping)
THAT'S NOT THE TRACK.
YOU WANT ME TO COME DOWN THERE?
WHERE'S THE TRACK AT?
(music starting) TYRESE, THAT'S NOT IT.
(music cutting out)
GOTTA TEACH TYRESE HOW TO WORK AN IPOD.
(audience laughing)
(music starting) (indistinct speaking)
THAT'S NOT IT.
WELL, YOU KNOW, I GUESS THEY WANT ME TO SING THIS SONG THEN.
Y'ALL AIN'T GONNA HEAR IT.
LET'S TRY THIS ONE.
SEE IF YOU ALL KNOW THIS ONE.
(music starting)
(singing) HE SAW THE BEST IN ME
WHEN EVERYONE ELSE AROUND
COULD ONLY SEE
THE WORST IN ME
I WISH I HAD A WITNESS IN THIS PLACE TODAY
SAID HE SAW THE BEST IN ME
EVERYONE ELSE AROUND
COULD ONLY SEE
THE WORST IN ME
OOO
HE SAW THE BEST IN ME
WHEN EVERYONE ELSE AROUND
COULD ONLY SEE THE WORST IN ME
OH I WISH I HAD A WITNESS
ALL I NEED IS ONE OF Y'ALL TO HELP ME SING
HE SAW THE BEST IN ME Y'ALL KNOW IT HELP ME SING IT
WHEN EVERYONE ELSE AROUND ME
COULD ONLY SEE THE WORST IN ME
DOES ANYBODY HAVE THAT TESTIMONY TODAY
SAID I GOT TO KNOW NO NO NO
HE SAW THE BEST IN ME OOO WHEN EVERY ELSE
WHEN EVERYONE ELSE AROUND
COULD ONLY SEE THE WORST IN ME
CAN I SING MY VERSE ONE THOUGH
CAN I SING MY VERSE ONE TIME
SAY HE IS MINE I AM HIS
IT DOESN'T MATTER WHAT I DID
BUT HE ONLY SEES ME FOR WHO I AM
OH
HE IS MINE I AM HIS
IT DOESN'T MATTER WHAT I DID
HE ONLY SEES ME FOR WHO I AM
HELP ME SING IT
SAY HE IS MINE HE IS MINE
I AM HIS I AM HIS
IT DOESN'T MATTER WHAT I DID
'CAUSE HE ONLY SEES ME FOR WHO I AM
YEAH
OH SING IT HE IS MINE HE IS MINE
I AM HIS I AM HIS
IT DOESN'T MATTER WHAT I DID
HE ONLY SEES ME FOR WHO I AM
YEAH OH OH
SING IT HE IS MINE HE IS MINE
SAY I AM HIS I AM HIS
SAY IT DOESN'T MATTER WHAT I DID
'CAUSE HE ONLY SEES ME FOR WHO I AM
OH OH OH
SAY HE IS MINE HE IS MINE
SAY I AM HIS I AM HIS
SAY IT DOESN'T MATTER WHAT I DID
'CAUSE HE ONLY SEES ME FOR WHO I AM
OOO
HE IS MINE HE IS MINE
SAID I AM HIS I AM HIS
SAID IT DOESN'T MATTER WHAT I DID
HE ONLY SEES ME
FOR WHO I AM
HE SAW THIS HE SAW THE BEST IN ME
WHEN EVERYONE ELSE WHEN EVERYONE ELSE AROUND
COULD ONLY SEE THE WORST IN ME
WHEN THEY LYING ON ME
WHEN THEY TALKED ABOUT ME
WHEN THEY MIS-- LORD HELP ME OH
HE SAW THE BEST IN ME
WHEN EVERYONE ELSE WHEN EVERYONE ELSE AROUND
COULD ONLY SEE THE WORST IN ME
>> CAN I ASK Y'ALL ONE QUESTION TONIGHT?
I SAID "CAN I ASK YOU A QUESTION?" >> (all) YEAH!
>> (singing) I SAID WHAT DID HE SEE
HE SAW THE BEST
>> WHEN PEOPLE SAID YOU WOULD NEVER MAKE IT.
WHEN THEY LIED ON YOU AND SAID YOU WERE DREAMING TOO BIG,
THAT YOUR ASPIRATIONS AND YOUR GOALS WERE FAR TOO LARGE
FOR YOU TO GO AFTER...
AREN'T YOU GLAD THAT GOD DIDN'T SEE YOU THE WAY
OTHER PEOPLE SAW YOU?
BUT HE SAW YOU DIFFERENTLY?
I SAID, "WHAT DID HE SEE?" >> (singing) HE SAW THE BEST
>> WHEN MOMMA SAID YOU WOULDN'T MAKE IT,
WHEN DADDY SAID THAT YOU WOULD NEVER BE ANYTHING,
WHEN FAMILY MEMBERS AND FRIENDS BEGIN TO SPIT VENOM ON YOUR VISIONS
AND YOUR PASSIONS AND YOUR DESIRES,
AREN'T YOU GLAD THAT GOD DID NOT SEE YOU
THE WAY OTHER PEOPLE SAW YOU?
BUT HE SAW SOMETHING SPECIAL IN YOU?
ONE QUESTION-- "WHAT DID HE SEE?"
>> (singing) HE SAW THE BEST >> CAN I TELL YOU WHY HE SAW THE BEST?
BECAUSE HE WAS WOUNDED FOR YOUR TRANSGRESSIONS,
HE WAS BRUISED FOR YOUR INIQUITIES,
THE (indistinct) WHEN OUR PEACE WAS UPON HIM,
(singing) AND BY HIS STRIPES
I SAID BY HIS STRIPES BY HIS STRIPES I'M IN
I SAID WHAT DID HE SEE
HE SAW THE BEST I SAID WHAT DID HE SEE
THE BEST I SAID WHAT DID HE SEE
THE BEST I SAID WHAT DID HE SEE
THE BEST I SAID WHAT DID HE SEE
THE BEST I SAID WHAT DID HE SEE
THE BEST I SAID WHAT DID HE SEE
THE BEST YEAH THE BEST
HE SAW THE BEST IN ME
>> THAT'S ENOUGH.
(applause)
(music)
>> DR. MARVIN SAPP IS IN THE HOUSE!
THANK YOU! (cheering, applause)
THAT KIND OF GETS YOU GOING, HUH?
GOT YOUR SPIRITUAL JUICES GOING? >> (all) YEAH!
>> LET'S DO THIS EVERY NIGHT. (laughing)
(applause)
WOW, OKAY, WE'RE GONNA KEEP IT MOVING.
HOPEFULLY, KEEP THAT SPIRIT GOING.
I'D LIKE TO INVITE RIGHT NOW MR. AZIZI JASPER TO COME FORWARD.
HE'S A COMMUNITY ACTIVIST AND SPOKEN WORK ARTIST,
WHO WILL INTRODUCE TONIGHT'S KEYNOTE SPEAKER.
(applause)
>> GOOD EVENING. >> (all) GOOD EVENING.
>> YOU KNOW, DR. SAPP, DR. KING HAD A GRAMMY AS WELL.
(audience laughing) I DON'T KNOW WHERE HE WENT,
BUT HE-- DR. KING-- HAD A GRAMMY AS WELL.
I WOULD BE REMISS IF I DIDN'T MENTION-- I BELIEVE THEY'RE STILL THERE--
THERE'S A GROUP OF WOMEN IN THE CORNER, ALL CONCERNED CITIZENS,
THAT ARE REGISTERING INDIVIDUALS TO VOTE.
SO, FOR THOSE OF YOU WHO ARE NOT REGISTERED--
(applause)
MAKE SURE YOU STOP BACK IN THAT LEFT-HAND CORNER-- YOUR RIGHT--
AND GET REGISTERED TO VOTE.
AND DON'T JUST VOTE IN THE NATIONAL ELECTION.
VOTE IN YOUR LOCAL ELECTIONS AS WELL,
BECAUSE THAT'S WHERE YOU SEE THE MOST TANGIBLE CHANGE THE QUICKEST.
(applause)
THE REVEREND DR. MARTIN LUTHER KING JR.
IS ONE OF THE MOST NOTABLE AND RECOGNIZABLE SYMBOLS
OF THE FIGHT FOR HUMAN AND CIVIL RIGHTS IN THE UNITED STATES
AND AROUND THE WORLD.
WE HEAR ABOUT THE DOGS AND THE FIRE HOSES
AND THE BRICKS THAT WERE BEING THROWN AT DR. KING,
AND ALL TO THE UNWAVERING TUNE
OF NONVIOLENCE AND PASSIVE RESISTANCE.
ON THIS WONDERFUL DAY CELEBRATING THIS REMARKABLE MAN,
IT'S IMPORTANT TO REMEMBER THAT THE STRUGGLE FOR CIVIL RIGHTS TOOK MANY.
BEFORE THERE WAS A BLACK CHICAGO GRASSROOTS ORGANIZER
THAT RAN FOR PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES AND WON,
THERE WAS A BLACK CHICAGO GRASSROOTS ORGANIZER
THAT RAN FOR PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES AND LOST.
HIS NAME WAS JESSE JACKSON.
BEFORE THERE WAS A WOMAN THAT REFUSED TO GIVE UP HER SEAT ON THE BUS,
SPARKING THE FAMOUS AND GROUNDBREAKING MONTGOMERY BUS BOYCOTT,
THERE WAS A WOMAN THAT REFUSED TO GIVE UP HER SEAT ON THE BUS
THAT GOT ARRESTED AND RECEIVED LITTLE HELP
BECAUSE OF HER STATUS AS A SINGLE MOTHER.
HER NAME WAS CLAUDETTE COLVIN.
BEFORE THERE WAS A CHAMPION OF AFRICAN-AMERICANS,
THE POOR, UNIONS, UNDERPRIVILEGED, AND UNDEREDUCATED
THAT ORGANIZED A MARCH ON WASHINGTON,
THERE WAS A CHAMPION OF AFRICAN-AMERICANS,
THE POOR, UNDERPRIVILEGED, AND UNEDUCATED THAT ORGANIZED A MARCH ON WASHINGTON.
HIS NAME WAS A. PHILIP RANDOLPH.
I SAY THIS TO SAY THAT EVEN THE GREATEST AMONG US
STAND ON THE SHOULDERS OF THOSE THAT CAME BEFORE US.
SOMETIMES...
SOMETIMES, THE TORCH GETS PASSED AND AT OTHER TIMES,
WE HAVE TO TAKE IT.
DR. KING WAS A MERE 26 YEARS OLD
WHEN HE GOT HIS START AS A CIVIL RIGHTS ORGANIZER.
YOUR OPPORTUNITY TO CHANGE THE WORLD CAN COME AT A MOMENT'S NOTICE.
I IMPLORE YOU TO BE PREPARED.
WITH US, TODAY, TO SPEAK TO THE YOUTH MOVEMENT,
DR. KING'S LEGACY, AND THE NEXT GENERATION,
WE HAVE MR. BAKARI KITWANA.
HE IS A JOURNALIST, HE IS AN ACTIVIST, POLITICAL ANALYST,
WHOSE COMMENTARY ON POLITICS AND YOUTH CULTURE
HAS BEEN SEEN ON C.N.N., FOX NEWS, "THE O'REILLY FACTOR,"
C-SPAN, P.B.S., "THE TAVIS SMILEY SHOW," AND HEARD ON N.P.R.
HE IS CURRENTLY THE SENIOR EDITOR OF "NEWS ONE,"
THE INTERNET NEWS PRESENCE OF "RADIO ONE."
HE IS ALSO THE C.E.O. OF "RAP SESSIONS,"
COMMUNITY DIALOGUES ON HIP-HOP,
WHICH CONDUCTS TOWN-HALL MEETINGS ACROSS THE COUNTRY
ON DIFFICULT DIALOGUES FACING THE HIP-HOP GENERATION.
HIS 2002 BOOK, "THE HIP-HOP GENERATION--
"YOUNG BLACKS AND THE CRISIS OF AFRICAN AMERICAN CULTURE,"
FOCUSES ON YOUNG MEN-- YOUNG MEN--
YOUNG BLACKS BORN AFTER THE CIVIL RIGHTS GENERATION.
THIS HAS BEEN ADOPTED AS A COURSE BOOK IN CLASSROOMS
AT OVER 100 COLLEGES AND UNIVERSITIES.
KITWANA PUBLISHED HIS FIRST BOOK, "THE RAP ON GANGSTA RAP"--
ONE OF MY FAVORITE BOOKS, HONESTLY-- YOU SHOULD PICK IT UP.
IT'S CERTAINLY IN STORES.
HE PUBLISHED THAT IN 1994.
SINCE THEN, HE'S BEEN AN EDITORIAL DIRECTOR OF "THIRD WORLD PRESS,"
EXECUTIVE EDITOR OF "THE SOURCE" MAGAZINE--
THE NATION'S TOP-SELLING MUSIC MAGAZINE--
AND CO-FOUNDER OF THE FIRST EVER NATIONAL HIP-HOP POLITICAL CONVENTION,
WHICH BROUGHT OVER 4,000 YOUNG PEOPLE TO NEWARK IN 2004
TO CREATE AND ENDORSE A POLITICAL AGENDA FOR THE HIP-HOP GENERATION.
KITWANA HAS BEEN A CONSULTANT ON HIP-HOP FOR THE ROCK AND ROLL HALL OF FAME,
ARTISTS IN RESIDENCE AT THE CENTER FOR STUDY ON RACE, POLITICS, AND CULTURE
AT THE UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO,
AND HE IS CURRENTLY A FELLOW AND VISITING SCHOLAR
AT THE INSTITUTE FOR STUDY OF WOMEN AND GENDER IN THE ARTS IN MEDIA
AT COLOMBIA COLLEGE.
AN ACTIVE WRITER, HIS ESSAYS HAVE APPEARED IN "NEW YORK TIMES,"
"THE VILLAGE VOICE," "THE LOS ANGELES TIMES," "NEWSDAY,"
"SAVOY," AND "THE PROGRESSIVE."
FOR THE LAST DECADE, HE HAS LECTURED AND GIVEN KEYNOTE PRESENTATIONS
IN THE NATIONS LEADING AND MOST PRESTIGIOUS COLLEGES AND UNIVERSITIES,
INCLUDING PRINCETON, HARVARD, SAMFORD,
GRCC-- (audience laughing)
BERKELEY, COLOMBIA, AND COUNTLESS OTHERS ACROSS THE COUNTRY.
LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, PLEASE JOIN ME IN WELCOMING MR. BAKARI KITWANA.
(applause)
>> GOOD EVENING. >> (all) GOOD EVENING.
>> ALL RIGHT, IT'S GOOD TO BE HERE.
IT'S BEEN AN INCREDIBLE PROGRAM.
I HOPE I CAN ADD A LITTLE DEPTH TO WHAT HAS ALREADY BEEN SAID, DONE,
AND THE SPIRIT'S ALREADY MOVED.
UM...
I WANNA TALK TODAY SOME ABOUT DR. KING,
BUT ALSO, I WANNA TALK ABOUT YOUNG PEOPLE
AND I WANNA TALK ABOUT THE FUTURE OF THIS COUNTRY...
AND THE ROLE THAT YOUNG PEOPLE ARE GONNA PLAY IN THAT...
AND OUR RESPONSIBILITY TO YOUNG PEOPLE.
I HAVE A 13 YEAR OLD SON, AND, UM...
AND A LOT OF TIMES WHEN I THINK ABOUT THIS WORK,
I THINK ABOUT, "WHAT ARE WE DOING TO LEAVE THIS WORLD A BETTER PLACE--
"THIS COUNTRY A BETTER PLACE FOR THAT NEXT GENERATION?"
AS YOUNG-- THE YOUNG 6th GRADER WHO DID HIS THING--
YOU KNOW, WE STILL HAVE TO GET A LOT OF OBSTACLES OUT OF HIS WAY,
TO GET HIM TO WHERE HE NEEDS TO GO.
AND THAT'S OUR RESPONSIBILITY.
AND I THINK THAT, UM...
I TAKE THAT VERY SERIOUSLY.
I'MA START WITH A QUOTE FROM MARY McLEOD BETHUNE,
THE FOUNDER OF BETHUNE-COOKMAN COLLEGE,
WHICH SHE FOUNDED WITH A $2 DOWN-PAYMENT
ON A FORMER GARBAGE DUMP SITE.
SHE SAID, "WE ARE HEIRS AND CUSTODIANS OF A GREAT LEGACY,
"AND WE MUST BEAR THE BURDENS AND THE GLORY OF THAT LEGACY
"WITH STRENGTH, DIGNITY, AND DETERMINATION."
I WANNA ALSO FOLLOW THAT WITH A QUOTE FROM MAULANA KARENGA,
THE FOUNDER OF KWANZAA.
I INTERVIEWED HIM FOR "THE SOURCE,"
AND IT MUST HAVE BEEN, LIKE, 1994 OR '5.
AND WE WERE TALKING ABOUT HIP-HOP.
AND HIP-HOP ALREADY HAD A BAD RAP--
(laughing) EVEN THEN.
UM, AND, UH...
SO-- BUT HE WAS ONE OF THE FEW PEOPLE IN THOSE DAYS
THAT STILL COULD SEE THE VALUE,
BECAUSE HE UNDERSTOOD THE VALUE OF YOUNG PEOPLE
TO POLITICAL MOVEMENT AND SOCIAL CHANGE.
HIP-HOP, FOR ME,
HAS SPOKEN TO ME LIKE NO OTHER INFLUENCE IN MY LIFE.
AND SO, UM...
I'VE ALWAYS BEEN VERY MOVED BY THE MUSIC OF THE CHURCH--
AND I KNOW IT'S HARD FOR FOLKS WHO ARE OF A DIFFERENT GENERATION,
JUST AS IT IS HARD FOR ME
TO UNDERSTAND HOW YOUNGER PEOPLE THAN ME
CAN WRITE PAPERS WHILE THEY'RE LISTENING TO MUSIC ON THEIR HEAD.
(laughing) IT'S HARD FOR OLDER PEOPLE
TO UNDERSTAND HOW THIS MUSIC AND HOW THIS CULTURE
CAN BE SO IMPORTANT TO OUR LIVES
AND SO INSTRUMENTAL AND CENTRAL TO OUR MOVEMENT...
BUT IT IS.
AND THAT'S WHAT I WANT TO TALK ABOUT TODAY.
BUT IT'S A DOUBLE-EDGED SWORD.
AND THAT'S WHAT DR. MAULANA KARENGA WAS SAYING WHEN I INTERVIEWED HIM.
SO, HE SAID, "OUR YOUTH CAN BE OUR FATE OR OUR FUTURE.
"IF THEY STUDY THEIR HISTORY AND THEY GROUND THEMSELVES
"IN THEIR CULTURES AND IN THEIR TRADITIONS
AND DO THE BEST THAT THEY CAN,
"THEN THEY ARE OUR FUTURE.
"BUT IF THEY DO NOTHING ELSE BUT ENGAGE
"IN SELF-CONGRATULATORY NARRATIVES
"ABOUT THEMSELVES AND IMAGINE THAT, SOMEHOW,
"THEY ARE ACTUALLY A THREAT TO THEIR SOCIETY
"OR THAT THEY HAVE SOME FUTURE IN IT, THEN THEY ARE NOT OUR FUTURE.
"THEY ARE OUR FATE."
AND I THINK ABOUT THAT, AS I THINK ABOUT HIP-HOP
AND THIS HIP-HOP MOVEMENT,
BECAUSE I THINK THAT, A LOT OF TIMES, WE'RE SEEING BOTH AT PLAY.
AND A LOT OF TIMES, BECAUSE OF THE MAINSTREAM MEDIA NARRATIVE,
WE DON'T SEE THE VALUE AND THE STRENGTH OF THIS MOVEMENT.
AND THAT'S WHAT I WANT TO TALK ABOUT TODAY.
I WANT TO TALK ABOUT THE HIP-HOP POLITICAL MOVEMENT,
AND I WANT TO CONNECT THAT TO A DISCUSSION ABOUT DR. KING,
AND WHAT WE, AS A GENERATION OF YOUNG PEOPLE,
INHERITED FROM THOSE PREVIOUS MOVEMENTS.
WE'RE NOT THE FIRST GENERATION OF YOUNG PEOPLE
TO INHERIT A LEGACY OF MOVEMENT.
EVERY GENERATION INHERITS A LEGACY OF MOVEMENT.
WE HAVE THE FORTUNE AND, SOMETIMES, ALSO THE MISFORTUNE OF COMING OF AGE
AFTER A MOVEMENT THAT TRANSFORMED THE FACE THE WORLD
AND TRANSFORMED THE IMAGINATIONS OF THE WORLD.
IT'S A GREAT, GREAT, GREAT RESPONSIBILITY, AND IT'S ALSO A GREAT WEIGHT,
BECAUSE A LOT OF TIMES, EVEN AS WE BEGIN TO ENGAGE IN SERIOUS EFFORTS
TO TRANSFORM OUR REALITY,
BECAUSE THE MOVEMENT IS NOT TAKING FORM
IN THE SAME PLACE AS PREVIOUS MOVEMENTS,
THAT MOVEMENT IS DISMISSED AS IRRELEVANT.
SO, I WANNA TALK ABOUT THIS HIP-HOP MOVEMENT,
AND I WANT TO TALK ABOUT DR. KING AND THAT LEGACY
AND WHAT WE INHERIT FROM THAT MOVEMENT.
I'M GONNA DO THIS IN ABOUT 25 MINUTES, IF Y'ALL CAN BEAR WITH ME.
IS THAT ALL RIGHT? >> (all) YES.
>> I KNOW Y'ALL BEEN TAXED ALREADY, SO I'M NOT--
I LIKE TO LET PEOPLE KNOW HOW LONG I'M GONNA BE, SO THEY DON'T--
'CAUSE ONCE I GET KINDA WOUND UP,
IT MIGHT SOUND LIKE I'M NOT GONNA STOP, BUT...
(audience laughing) UM...
LET ME BEGIN HERE WITH A QUOTE FROM A COUPLE OF FOLKS...
UH, A COUPLE OF POINTS OF REFERENCE,
THAT I HOPE WILL GUIDE MY COMMENTS.
I GREW UP IN LONG ISLAND.
I'VE LECTURED AROUND THE COUNTRY FOR MUCH OF THE LAST 15 YEARS.
MY WORK HAS BEEN HIP-HOP POLITICAL ACTIVISM.
I HAVE BEEN A JOURNALIST AND A WRITER
AT THE HIP-HOP MAGAZINE "THE SOURCE" IN ITS HAYDAY.
PRIOR TO THAT, I WORKED AT "THIRD WORLD PRESS" IN CHICAGO,
WHICH CAME OUT OF THE BLACK ARTS' MOVEMENT OF THE 1960s,
AND HEAVILY INFLUENCED BY ACTIVISTS OF THE BLACK POWER MOVEMENT.
PEOPLE LIKE HAKI MADHUBUTI AND SONIA SANCHEZ, AMIRI BARAKA, UM...
AND OTHERS, IN THAT GENERATION AND BEFORE.
PEOPLE LIKE JOHN HENRIK CLARKE--
AND I HAD THE HONOR OF BEING AN EDITOR OF A WORK BY CHANCELLOR WILLIAMS,
WHO WROTE THE GREAT BOOK "THE DESTRUCTION OF BLACK CIVILIZATION."
I HAD AN OPPORTUNITY TO WORK WITH GWENDOLYN BROOKS.
AND ALL OF THAT WORK HELPED ME TO START TO THINK ABOUT HOW TO DO WE,
AS A GENERATION, MANIFEST OUR OWN MOVEMENT AND IN OUR OWN TIME.
BUT IT ALSO TOOK ME INTO A LOT OF DIFFERENT PLACES,
BOTH THE WORK AT "THIRD WORLD PRESS"
AND THE FOLLOWING WORK AT "THE SOURCE" MAGAZINE,
BECAUSE IT GAVE ME AN OPPORTUNITY TO SPEAK WITH MANY ACTIVISTS
WHO HAD INFLUENCED THESE MOVEMENTS, AND TO LEARN FROM THEM.
AND I WANTED TO JUST KIND OF SHARE SOME OF THOSE
FROM A COUPLE OF THE FOLKS FROM THE CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT,
BECAUSE A LOT OF TIMES, WE TALK ABOUT DR. KING
AND WE OVERLOOK MANY OF THE OTHER FOLKS WHO WERE ALSO PRESENT.
IT'S A GREAT OCCASION-- AND I THINK IT'S IMPORTANT
THAT WE REMEMBER DR. KING, BUT I THINK IT'S IMPORTANT, ALSO,
THAT WE REMEMBER THESE MOVEMENTS.
AND THAT, FOR YOUNG PEOPLE,
IT'S VERY IMPORTANT TO STUDY THAT HISTORY,
BUT NOT BECOME TRAPPED IN IT,
AND I THINK, A LOT OF TIMES, THAT'S WHAT HAPPENIN'.
WE HAVE TO GIVE THEM ROOM TO GROW INTO THEIR OWN,
AND A LOT OF TIMES, WE ALMOST BEATIN' 'EM DOWN A LITTLE BIT...
(laughing) WITH THE HISTORY.
BUT IT'S IMPORTANT TO DO BOTH.
IT'S IMPORTANT TO STUDY THE HISTORY AND LEARN FROM IT,
BUT THEY HAVE THE CHALLENGE OF MOVING IT ON INTO A FUTURE
THAT IS GREATER AND GRANDER THAN ANYTHING THAT WE HAVE IMAGINED,
AND WE HAVE TO PROVIDE 'EM THE TOOLS TO DO THAT.
UH, DIANE NASH...
WHO WAS ONE OF THE FOUNDERS
OF THE STUDENT NONVIOLENT COORDINATING COMMITTEE...
WHEN I TALKED WITH HER ABOUT THESE MOVEMENTS
AND WHERE WE'RE GOING AND THIS NEW GENERATION,
SHE SAID TO ME, "EVERY GENERATION HAS TO UNLEARN RACISM."
THAT "AMERICAN RACISM IS SO ENGRAINED IN THE CULTURE,
"THAT EVERY GENERATION HAS TO UNLEARN IT."
AND SO, A LOT OF TIMES, WE'RE SEEING AROUND US--
WE ALMOST FEEL LIKE WE'RE FIGHTIN' THE SAME BATTLES.
AND PARTICULARLY, IN THE AFTERMATH OF THE OBAMA ELECTION,
I FELT LIKE SO OFTEN WE WERE ALMOST RELIVING THE '80s.
AND I THINK THAT THAT MADE ME THINK OF THAT.
SHE ALSO SAID THAT EVERY GENERATION HAS TO FIGHT FOR FREEDOM ALL OVER AGAIN.
THAT WE CANNOT THINK BECAUSE THESE BATTLES HAVE BEEN FOUGHT,
THAT WE CAN SOMEHOW SIT BACK AND JUST COAST ON THROUGH.
THAT IS A FANTASY.
BERNICE JOHNSON REAGON,
WHO'S ONE OF THE FOUNDERS OF "SWEET HONEY IN THE ROCK"--
THEY SANG MANY OF THE FREEDOM SONGS DURING THE MOVEMENT.
FUNNY THING-- FUNNY STORY-- WHEN I WAS WITH DIANE NASH LAST YEAR,
IT WAS THE FIRST TIME-- AND GROWING UP AS A YOUNG MAN
REALLY HEAVILY INFLUENCED BY THE BLACK POWER MOVEMENT--
YOU KNOW, WE REALLY WASN'T REALLY CHECKIN' THAT HARD
FOR THE CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT.
(laughing) AND SO, BERNICE--
WHEN I WAS WITH DIANE NASH, YOU KNOW, SHE--
YOU KNOW, SHE WANTED TO HOLD HANDS AND SING "WE SHALL OVERCOME,"
AND I JUST NEVER IMAGINED THAT I WOULD BE DOING THAT.
BUT I DID. (laughing)
AND WHEN I WAS WITH BERNICE REAGON LAST YEAR,
SHE TALKED ABOUT BEING AFRAID...
AND THESE YOUNG PEOPLE
GOING UP AGAINST THESE FIERCE, RACIST SEGREGATIONISTS...
AND THEY WERE AFRAID.
THEY WERE YOUNG PEOPLE AND THEY WERE AFRAID.
AND SHE THINKS-- SHE THOUGHT IT WAS IMPORTANT THAT YOUNG PEOPLE KNOW
THAT THEY WERE NOT AS FEARLESS-- AS WE RE-TELL THIS HISTORY--
THEY WEREN'T JUST THESE FEARLESS PEOPLE, WHO WERE JUST OUT THERE,
WHO JUST, YOU KNOW, WASN'T WORRIED ABOUT ANYTHING.
SHE SAID THAT MOST DAYS, SHE THOUGHT THAT DAY WASN'T--
THAT DAY COULD BE HER LAST.
UM...
AND SO, THE FEAR--
YOU KNOW, THEY WERE ABLE TO SHROUD THEMSELVES IN THEIR MUSIC.
AND FOR ME, HIP-HOP IS THE SAME WAY,
AND THAT WAS OUR CONVERSATION, WAS ABOUT--
WE TALKED ABOUT THE CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT AND THE HIP-HOP MOVEMENT,
AND THE SIMILARITIES AND DIFFERENCES.
LAST PERSON I WANNA MENTION-- YOU GUYS HAD UP ON THE SCREEN EARLIER--
MINNIJEAN BROWN TRICKEY-- ONE OF THE "LITTLE ROCK NINE."
AND WHEN I WAS IN CONVERSATION WITH HER,
PROBABLY ALMOST TEN YEARS AGO NOW,
WE WERE TALKING ABOUT THIS HIP-HOP MOVEMENT.
UM, LONG BEFORE WE SAW THESE POLITICAL VICTORIES
THAT WE'VE SEEN RECENTLY, AND HER--
WHAT SHE SAID TO ME THEN WAS, "WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?"
AND SO, THAT'S WHAT I WANNA CHALLENGE THE YOUNG PEOPLE TODAY--
NOT TO WAIT FOR ANYONE.
UH, TO ACT ON WHAT YOU FEEL NEEDS TO BE DONE,
AND DO NOT WAIT FOR ANYONE.
YOU DON'T NEED AN ARMY OF PEOPLE.
YOU NEED YOURSELF AND YOU NEED A FEW OTHERS,
AND YOU'LL BE SURPRISED HOW MUCH CHANGE YOU CAN MAKE WITH A HANDFUL OF PEOPLE.
(applause)
SO, I START THERE.
AND THEN, I'M GONNA BACK INTO SOME OF THE-- UH, SOME OF THIS, UH--
I WANT TO TALK SOME ABOUT DR. KING AND HIS MESSAGE
AND HIS MESSAGES THAT ARE STILL WITH US.
BUT I WANNA ALSO-- A COUPLE OF TERMS--
I WANNA JUST KINDA SHAKE THIS HIP-HOP DISCUSSION.
SO, WHEN I'M TALKING ABOUT HIP-HOP, I'M NOT JUST TALKING ABOUT THE MUSIC.
SO, WHATEVER YOU HEARD ON THE RADIO THAT MADE YOU MAD,
THAT YOU TURNED IT OFF 'CAUSE YOU DIDN'T LIKE THIS--
THAT'S NOT WHAT I'M TALKING ABOUT...
(laughing) WHEN I'M TALKING ABOUT HIP-HOP.
IT IS A PART OF HIP-HOP.
BUT I'M TALKING ABOUT HIP-HOP AS A GENERATIONAL THRUST,
AS A GENERATIONAL IDENTITY, AS A GENERATIONAL WORLDVIEW
OF YOUNG PEOPLE BORN AFTER THE CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT...
YOUNG PEOPLE WHO CAME OF AGE AS THE WORLD MOVED INTO A GLOBAL ECONOMY...
YOUNG PEOPLE WHO CAME OF AGE
WITH THE RISE OF INCARCERATION THAT WE SEE TODAY--
OVER 2 MILLION PEOPLE CURRENTLY LOCKED UP IN THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM,
16 MILLION WHEN YOU START TO FACTOR IN PEOPLE ON PROBATION
AND PAROLE CAUGHT UP IN THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM AT ANY ONE TIME.
THIS IS A PHENOMENON THAT CAME ABOUT IN OUR LIFETIME.
THIS GENERATION'S INFLUENCED
BY THE EMERGENCE OF THE CRACK COCAINE EXPLOSION,
THE RISE OF PARAMILITARY POLICING IN BLACK COMMUNITIES
THAT LED TO THIS HIGH INCARCERATION.
THIS IS THE GENERATION OF YOUNG PEOPLE WHO EXPERIENCED THESE THINGS.
THE FIRST POST-SEGREGATION GENERATION IN THE UNITED STATES,
WHO LIVED THEIR ENTIRE LIVES IN A POST-SEGREGATION ERA,
EVEN THOUGH WE KNOW THAT THAT DOESN'T MEAN
THAT WE WERE LIVING, UH, FREE OF SEGREGATED COMMUN--
IN SEGREGATED SOCIETY.
(scattered applause)
SO, WHEN I TALK ABOUT THE HIP-HOP GENERATION,
THAT'S WHAT I'M TALKING ABOUT.
I THINK THE MUSIC IS ONE MANIFESTATION OF THAT, AND NOT THE ONLY ONE.
UM, SO, WE HAVE THIS HIP-HOP GENERATION.
YOUNG PEOPLE BORN BETWEEN 1965 AND 1984...
AND THEN, WE HAVE THE POST-HIP-HOP GENERATION,
YOUNG PEOPLE BORN BETWEEN 1985 AND 2004.
AND THESE TWO GENERATIONS ARE THE FIRST TWO GENERATIONS
TO EXPERIENCE THESE AILS THAT I DESCRIBED.
THE FIRST TWO GENERATIONS TO EXPERIENCE THESE HIGH INCARCERATION RATES.
UH, THE FIRST TWO GENERATIONS TO EXPERIENCE THIS GLOBAL ECONOMY.
THE FIRST TWO GENERATIONS TO EXPERIENCE AN AMERICA
WHERE THEY ARE EXPECTED THAT THEY WILL, FINANCIALLY,
BE WORSE OFF THAN THEIR PARENTS.
THE FIRST TWO GENERATIONS TO GROW UP...
AND NOT BE ABLE, IF THEY WERE NOT COLLEGE GRADUATES,
TO FIND JOBS THAT PAY A LIVING WAGE.
THIS IS THE REALITY OF THE GENERATION THAT WE'RE TALKING ABOUT.
AND YOU HAVE TO UNDERSTAND AND EXPECT THAT THIS REALITY
IS GONNA BE CHANNELED INTO THEIR MOVEMENT
AND INTO THEIR OUTLOOK AND INTO THEIR WORLDVIEW.
AND SO...
FROM THERE, LET ME TALK ABOUT DR. KING AND HIS LEGACY
AND HOW I SEE IT MANIFESTING ITSELF IN THE HIP-HOP GENERATION.
THERE'S SO MUCH ABOUT DR. KING THAT HE TAUGHT US,
AND THAT THE CIVIL RIGHTS AND THE BLACK POWER MOVEMENTS TAUGHT US
THAT WE CAN STILL LEARN FROM.
I OFTEN READ HIS BOOK--
UH, THE COLLECTION OF HIS SPEECHES, "A TESTAMENT OF HOPE."
IT'S LIKE THE SIZE OF THE BIBLE.
(laughing) AND IT'S A GREAT BOOK,
WHERE A LOT OF HIS INFORMATION IS COMPILED.
I ALSO LIKE TO READ THE BOOK BY TAYLOR BRANCH, "PARTING THE WATERS,"
A BRILLIANT HISTORY
OF THE CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT DURING THE KING YEARS,
IS THE SUBTITLE.
BUT I WANNA CALL YOUR ATTENTION TO THREE POINTS, IN PARTICULAR,
'CAUSE THERE'S SO MUCH THAT CAN BE SAID ABOUT DR. KING AND HIS LEGACY...
AS A POLITICAL PHILOSOPHER AND AS A THINKER.
BUT THREE ISSUES-- ONE, I THINK THAT HE--
AND SOMEONE SAID THIS EARLIER-- ONE OF THE PRESIDENTS--
ONE OF THE UNIVERSITY PRESIDENTS.
I THINK IT WAS-- WAS IT THE THIRD ONE?
WHO SAID THAT HE DON'T KNOW WHY HE GOTTA BE THIRD ALL THE TIME?
(audience laughing)
HE TOUCHED ON THESE ISSUES, SO YOU KINDA--
YOU DID SOME OF MY WORK FOR ME, SO I'M HAPPY FOR THAT.
UM, THAT THERE ARE PLACES WHERE AMERICA STILL HASN'T MOVED FORWARD,
THAT DR. KING HAD TALKED ABOUT.
THE SECOND POINT I WANNA POINT TO IS THAT THE MOVEMENT
IS BIGGER THAN ONE PERSON.
AND I THINK I'VE KINDA TALKED ABOUT THIS SOME EARLIER.
A LOT OF TIMES, WHEN I THINK ABOUT THE CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT,
I THINK OF FANNIE LOU HAMER.
AND IF YOU EVER GET A CHANCE TO READ A BIOGRAPHY ON ANYONE...
(coughing) READ ABOUT FANNIE LOU HAMER.
'CAUSE HER STORY'S A BRILLIANT STORY OF RESISTANCE.
AND WHEN I TALKED WITH DIANE NASH,
SHE SAID IT WOULD HAVE BEEN IMPOSSIBLE FOR THEM TO ORGANIZE
IN SOME OF THOSE COMMUNITIES WITHOUT PEOPLE LIKE FANNIE LOU HAMER.
SO, THE MOVEMENT IS ALWAYS BIGGER THAN THESE ONE-- THAN ONE PERSON.
AND THEN-- (clearing throat)
THE MOVEMENT IS MORE EXTENSIVE THAN ONE TIME PERIOD.
AND I'D REFERENCE YOU TO...
THE WORK BY THE HISTORIAN VINCENT HARDING.
AND VINCENT HARDING WROTE THIS VERY BRILLIANT BOOK CALLED "THERE IS A RIVER."
AND IN THE BOOK, HE TRACES WHAT HE CALLS "THE RIVER AND THE HISTORY
"OF THE BLACK POLITICAL FREEDOM STRUGGLE."
AND THIS BOOK BEGINS ON THE SHORES OF AFRICA.
TRACES THE HISTORY THROUGH THE MIDDLE PASSAGE,
THROUGH THE SLAVERY EXPERIENCE, THROUGH RECONSTRUCTION,
THROUGH THE, UH-- THROUGH THE GARVEY YEARS,
THE HARLEM RENAISSANCE,
UP THROUGH THE CIVIL RIGHTS AND THE BLACK POWER MOVEMENTS,
AND THEN, IT ENDS THERE.
AND HE SAYS THAT THE-- HE USES THE RIVER AS A METAPHOR--
AND HE SAYS THE RIVER IS A METAPHOR
FOR BLACK POLITICAL STRUGGLE,
AND EVERY GENERATION CREATES NEW LEADERS.
EVERY NEW GENERATION CREATES--
EVERY GENERATION CREATES NEW ORGANIZATIONS
THAT JUMP INTO THIS RIVER OF STRUGGLE
TO KEEP THE STRUGGLE MOVING FORWARD.
SO, IN ESSENCE, WE ARE A CONTINUUM,
AND EACH GENERATION GROWING OUT OF THE EFFECTS
AND THE IMPACT OF THE GENERATION BEFORE IT.
AND AT THE SAME TIME, EACH GENERATION INHERITING A RESPONSIBILITY
TO CONTINUE TO ADVANCE THAT STRUGGLE IN THE WAYS IN WHICH THEIR VISION
AND THEIR WORLDVIEW IMAGINES IT.
UM...
AND THEN, LASTLY, MY THIRD POINT FOR THE PURPOSE OF THIS DISCUSSION,
IS WHEN I READ AND THINK ABOUT THE IMPACT OF DR. KING,
I THINK ABOUT THE QUESTION OF MORALITY...
AND THE WAYS IN WHICH DR. KING AND THE CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT
DEFINED MORALITY AS SOMETHING THAT, AS A NATION--
IN TERMS OF MORE POLITICAL LEADERSHIP--
PEOPLE SEEMED TO HAVE MOVED AWAY FROM.
SO, NOW, WHEN PEOPLE ARE TALKING ABOUT MORALITY,
THEY'RE TALKING ABOUT POLITICAL LEADERSHIP,
MOSTLY CERTAINLY, INSIDE OF THE D.C. MUMBO JUMBO,
WHO BASICALLY, HAVE DEMONSTRATED THEY NO LONGER REALLY HAVE THE PASSION
NOR THE WILL TO LEAD THE COUNTRY, BUT THAT'S ANOTHER LECTURE.
(laughing) UM...
DR. KING AND HIS CONTEMPORARIES DEFINE MORALITY AS...
WENT FAR BEYOND THE WAY WE DEFINE IT TODAY.
LIKE TODAY, PEOPLE SAY, "OH, LET'S TALK ABOUT SAME-SEX MARRIAGE"
OR "LET'S TALK ABOUT ABORTION,"
AND THESE BECOME THE QUOTE-UNQUOTE "MORAL ISSUES" OF THE TIME.
FOR DR. KING AND HIS CONTEMPORARIES, THEY COUNTED AMONG THE IMMORAL,
REALITIES LIKE POVERTY, NEGLECTING CHILDREN,
DENYING HEALTHCARE, AN EDUCATION,
WHEN IT IS IN THEIR POWER TO PROVIDE THEM,
WHEN IT IS IN THE POWER OF THE COUNTRY TO STOP WAR--
NOT ONLY IN IRAQ BUT IN AFGHANISTAN AND IN LIBYA--
WHEN IT IS IN THE POWER OF THE COUNTRY TO END ECONOMIC EMBARGOES
IN CUBA AND GAZA...
AND TO SOME EXTENT,
THEY SAW THESE MANIFESTATIONS AS INHUMANE...
THAT THESE WERE THE QUESTIONS OF MORALITY OF THE TIME.
I THINK THAT THE HIP-HOP GENERATION, IN MANY RESPECTS,
HAS GRASPED ONTO THIS IDEA,
AND THIS IS WHY THIS GENERATION BECOMES VERY IMPORTANT IN THE TIME
THAT WE'RE IN, BECAUSE HOW DO WE MOVE OUT OF THIS QUAGMIRE
THAT WE'RE IN WITH THIS COUNTRY?
IT'S CLEAR THAT NEITHER THE DEMOCRATS NOR THE REPUBLICANS
HAVE ANY REAL ANSWERS.
IT'S CLEAR THAT THERE'S--
THAT THEY GONNA SIT AROUND AND BICKER UNTIL THE COWS COME HOME.
AND SO, WHAT IS IT GONNA TAKE?
IT'S GONNA TAKE ANOTHER GENERATION.
IT'S GONNA TAKE ANOTHER GENERATION, IT'S GONNA TAKE A NEW VISION,
THAT'S READY TO MOVE THE COUNTRY IN A DIFFERENT DIRECTION,
AND I THINK IF WE LOOK AT YOUNG PEOPLE
AND WHAT THEY HAVE DONE AND WHAT THEY HAVE BEEN DOING
IN THE WAYS IN WHICH THEY ORGANIZE
AND IN THE WAYS IN WHICH THEY'RE THINKING ABOUT THESE PROBLEMS,
AND IF WE GIVE THEM THE TOOLS TO SOLVE THESE PROBLEMS,
MANY OF THEM ALREADY HAVE CREATED ORGANIZATIONS
AT THE GRASSROOTS LEVEL THAT ARE SOLVING SOME OF THESE PROBLEMS--
AND THESE GROUPS AREN'T FINANCED.
THESE GROUPS AREN'T BACKED.
IF WE WOULD TAKE THE RESOURCES THAT WE'RE DUMPING INTO THESE OTHER PLACES,
AND SIMPLY JUST FUND ORGANIZATIONS THAT ALREADY EXIST,
I THINK WE WOULD SEE THE TIDE BEGIN TO TURN IN EDUCATION.
I THINK WE WOULD BEGIN TO SEE THE TIDE BEGIN TO TURN
IN THE INCARCERATION OF THESE MEN.
I THINK WE COULD CHANGE THE REALITY OF POLICING IN THESE COMMUNITIES.
THIS IS THE DIRECTION THAT WE NEED TO GO IN.
BUT YOUNG PEOPLE, WE CAN'T WAIT.
(applause)
SO, ON THESE ISSUES,
I THINK THAT DR. KING AND HIS ANALYSIS ARE STILL RELEVANT.
HIS COMMENTARY ON WAR AND THE WAR AGAINST VIETNAM--
HE SAID THAT AMERICA WAS THE REAL CRIMINAL,
COMMITTING WAR CRIMES.
BY SEPTEMBER 2010-- REALLY BY THE END OF THE WAR--
THEY SAY IT'S OVER NOW-- (chuckling)
THE U.S. WILL HAVE BEEN-- SENT-- WILL HAVE S--
HAS ALREADY SPENT $747 BILLION IN THE WAR IN IRAQ,
AND BY THE END OF SEPTEMBER OF 2010, ANOTHER $300 BILLION IN AFGHANISTAN.
WHO IS THE CRIMINAL?
AND HOW MANY INNOCENT LIVES HAVE BEEN LOST IN IRAQ?
SOME ESTIMATES, ON THE LOW END, OF CIVILIAN DEATHS WERE 650,000
AND, ON THE HIGH END, 1 MILLION IRAQI CIVILIANS KILLED DURING THIS WAR.
DR. KING SPOKE OUT ABOUT THE WAR IN VIETNAM...
AND WHEN HE DID SO, HE TALKED VERY CLEARLY AND CAREFULLY
ABOUT THE INNOCENT PEOPLE THAT WERE BEING KILLED IN THOSE CONFLICTS.
HE TALKED CLEARLY AND CAREFULLY ABOUT YOUNG BLACK SOLDIERS
BEING ASKED TO GO AND DO THIS DIRTY WORK,
WHILE THEY COULDN'T EVEN ENJOY ANY FREEDOM RIGHT HERE IN THEIR OWN COUNTRY.
AND I DON'T THINK-- IN SOME CASES, I THINK WE CAN ARGUE
THAT THAT HASN'T CHANGED THAT MUCH.
DR. KING, 40 YEARS AGO, LIKENED OUR FOREIGN POLICY TO THAT OF AN EMPIRE...
EVEN IF WE DON'T LIKE TO CALL OURSELVES THAT.
HIS COMMENTARY ON IMPERIALISM IS STILL RELEVANT.
HIS COMMENTARY ON ECONOMICS, STILL RELEVANT.
HE SAID, "THERE'S NOTHING NEW ABOUT POVERTY.
"WE NOW HAVE THE RESOURCES AND TECHNIQUES TO GET RID OF POVERTY.
"THE REAL QUESTION IS WHETHER OR NOT WE HAVE THE WILL."
IF WE LOOK AT THE DISPARITIES BETWEEN RICH AND POOR IN THIS COUNTRY,
IT IS AN INTERNATIONAL EMBARRASSMENT.
AND I THINK THAT THE REAL TRAGEDY THAT ESCAPES MOST PEOPLE
IS THAT IT'S NOT SIMPLY THE DIVIDE ITSELF.
IT'S THAT THE DIVIDE CONTINUES TO ESCALATE...
AND IT HAS CONTINUED TO ESCALATE IN THE LAST 30 YEARS.
IT HAS CONTINUED TO ESCALATE EVEN MORE
IN THE AFTERMATH OF THIS MOST RECENT RECESSION.
THE DIVIDE BETWEEN RICH AND POOR IN THIS COUNTRY.
ACCORDING TO THE I.R.S.
AND THE CENTER ON BUDGET POLICY PRIORITIES, TODAY'S--
THE TOP THREE PERCENT OF AMERICAN HOUSEHOLDS HAD A--
ARE SAID TO MAKE ABOUT $250,000 A YEAR.
WE REFER TO THESE PEOPLE AS "RICH..."
UM, WHEN WE TALK ABOUT TAXES.
MEANWHILE, THERE ARE THE "SUPER RICH."
(laughing) THESE ARE THE REAL RICH PEOPLE, RIGHT?
THE REAL RICH PEOPLE-- THE TOP ONE-TENTH OF THE TOP ONE PERCENT...
WHO EARN A COMBINED INCOME
MORE THAN THE BOTTOM 120 MILLION AMERICANS.
AND NOT ONLY IS THIS DISPARITY EXIST, BUT IT'S CONTINUING TO ESCALATE.
AND WHAT IS GONNA BE THE OUTCOME OF IT?
A PART OF THE OUTCOME OF IT IS A CONTINUED DECLINE IN DEMOCRACY.
HOW CAN YOU HAVE DEMOCRACY WHEN YOU HAVE A HANDFUL OF PEOPLE
WHO CAN FUND CAMPAIGNS AND CAN INFLUENCE POLITICIANS?
IT DOESN'T MATTER WHO YOU ARE VOTING FOR, WHEN YOU LOOK AT IT THAT WAY.
AND THIS HAS BEEN DOCUMENTED BY OTHERS.
YOU CAN MAKE CORRELATIONS
BETWEEN WHO'S GETTING THE MOST HEAVILY FUNDED
AND WHO'S GONNA WIN.
THIS HAS BEEN LONG DOCUMENTED,
BUT WHAT WE'RE SEEING IS A TREND WHERE, INCREASINGLY,
IT'S GOTTEN EVEN WORSE.
AND SO, WE SEE THE ABILITY OF...
THIS CONCENTRATION OF WEALTH
TO BE ABLE TO INFLUENCE THEIR INTERESTS OVER EVERYONE ELSE'S.
AND SO, EVERYONE IS TAXED, AND THEN, THE TAXES ARE CONTRIBUTING
TO THAT CONTINUED CONCENTRATION OF WEALTH,
AND THIS IS WHY THE "OCCUPY WALL STREET" MOVEMENT WAS SO REFRESHING.
WE HAVE 40 MILLION AMERICANS IN POVERTY,
FOLLOWING THIS GREAT RECESSION.
BETWEEN 2007 AND 2009, AN ESCALATION IN--
2008, 13 PERCENT OF AMERICANS LIVING IN POVERTY.
ESCALATION OF FOOD STAMPS AS A RESULT OF THIS--
ABOUT $60 BILLION SPENT IN 2010 ALONE.
IN TERMS OF THE BLACK COMMUNITY,
WE'VE SEEN, WITH THIS SUB-PRIME MORTGAGE CRISIS,
A DECLINE IN WEALTH, UNPRECEDENTED,
BECAUSE SO MANY FOLKS HAD THEIR--
THEIR-- THEIR WEALTH TIED UP IN THEIR HOME.
SO, THE LOSING OF THOSE HOMES HAVING A MUCH BIGGER IMPACT
THAN IT WOULD HAVE OTHERWISE.
THE JOB LOSSES AROUND 7 MILLION,
BETWEEN NOVEMBER 2007 AND THE PRESENT.
AND WE TALK ABOUT UNEMPLOYMENT FOR MOST OF 2011,
UNTIL DECEMBER, BEING OVER NINE PERCENT.
AND SO, THESE ARE THE DISPARITIES THAT WE'RE DEALING WITH.
AND LASTLY, IN TERMS OF DR. KING'S COMMENTARY ON RACE AND CLASS,
HE ALSO TALKED ABOUT THE SIMILARITIES
THAT PEOPLE ACROSS RACE WHO ARE POOR,
WHO ARE NOT IN THIS TOP ONE PERCENT SHARE,
WE SHARE A SIMILAR REALITY.
AND THIS IS SOMETHING THAT YOUNG PEOPLE IN THE HIP-HOP MOVEMENT,
I THINK, CAUGHT ON TO VERY QUICKLY.
AND WHEN YOU START TO LOOK AT THE WAYS IN WHICH YOUNG PEOPLE ARE ORGANIZING,
USING THE POWER AND INFLUENCE OF HIP-HOP,
YOU START TO SEE SOME OF THESE RACIAL LINES BREAK DOWN.
I HAVE AN ORGANIZATION.
WE DO SURVEYS OF YOUNG VOTERS.
AND IN 2008, BEFORE THE ELECTION,
WE TOOK A SURVEY OF YOUNG PEOPLE, 18 TO 29,
AND WE LOOKED AT DIFFERENT AGE GROUPS...
GOING UP TO PEOPLE IN THEIR 50s,
AND WHAT WE SAW WAS A PATTERN WHERE YOUNG PEOPLE, ACROSS RACE,
FELT THAT RACE AND GENDER
DID NOT MATTER IN THEIR CHOICE FOR PRESIDENT--
SOMETHING LIKE 90 TO 95 PERCENT.
BUT AS YOU GOT OLDER, IT MATTERED MORE.
AND THAT'S JUST ONE EXAMPLE.
SO, THIS HIP-HOP POLITICAL MOVEMENT-- I WANNA JUST COME THROUGH--
GO THROUGH A BRIEF HISTORY OF THIS MOVEMENT,
AS IT OVERLAPS WITH THE ELECTORAL PROCESS.
IN THE '70s, WITH THE EMERGENCE OF HIP-HOP,
WE SAW SOME POLITICAL MESSAGES IN THE MUSIC...
AND WE SAW THE REALITY THAT I DESCRIBED IN THE BEGINNING
WITH THIS RISE OF GLOBALIZATION
AND THESE VARIOUS ASPECTS OF THIS WORLDVIEW
THAT INFLUENCES THIS GENERATION.
THIS WAS THE BEGINNING OF HIP-HOP.
IT WAS THE INFLUENCE THAT HIP-HOP GREW OUT OF.
BY THE TIME WE COME INTO THE '80s,
WE START TO GET THE EMERGENCE OF GRASSROOTS HIP-HOP ACTIVISTS,
WHO WERE NOT YET CALLING THEMSELVES "HIP-HOP ACTIVISTS,"
BUT THEY WERE ACTIVISTS WHO UNDERSTAND THE POWER AND INFLUENCE OF HIP-HOP,
AND THEY'RE TRYING TO INCORPORATE THAT INTO THEIR ACTIVISM,
STILL AT THE LOCAL LEVEL.
IN MY BOOK, "THE HIP HOP GENERATION,"
I DOCUMENT MANY OF THESE ORGANIZATIONS AROUND THE COUNTRY.
THEY WERE, REALLY, THE VANGUARD OF WHAT WE, LATER ON, SAW POPULARLY--
UH, RUSSELL SIMMONS' "HIP HOP SUMMIT ACTION NETWORK."
P. DIDDY, "CITIZEN CHANGE."
A LOT OF STUFF THAT THEY WERE DOING AT A NATIONAL LEVEL IN 2003 AND 2004,
THESE GRASSROOTS ORGANIZATIONS WERE DOING AT A LOCAL LEVEL,
GOING BACK INTO THE LATE '80s AND THE EARLY '90s.
THIS IS THE FOUNDATION OF, REALLY, THE CURRENT HIP-HOP MOVEMENT--
THE YOUTH MOVEMENT-- USING THE POWER AND INFLUENCE OF HIP-HOP.
AND THEN, THE OUTWARD MANIFESTATION OF THAT WERE POLITICAL ARTISTS
LIKE PUBLIC ENEMY AND (indistinct),
QUEEN LATIFAH, POOR RIGHTEOUS TEACHERS, X-CLAN--
THESE ARTISTS WHO, FOR THE MOST PART,
WERE ARTICULATING A BLACK POWER MESSAGE
IN THE '80s,
AND THEN, LATER ON, GOING INTO THE '90s.
BY THE TIME WE COME INTO THE '90s,
WE GET MORE ARTISTS
LIKE BLACK STAR, DEAD PREZ, UM, AND OTHERS,
AND THEY ARE BEGINNING TO ARTICULATE
A HIP-HOP GENERATION-SPECIFIC POLITICS IN THE MUSIC.
AND SO, NOW, YOU'RE STARTING TO SEE THE WORLDVIEW
OF THE HIP-HIP GENERATION
DESCRIBING ITS OWN GENERATIONAL PROBLEMS AND ISSUES.
I LIKE TO POINT TO THE ALBUM BY DEAD PREZ, "REVOLUTIONARY BUT GANGSTA,"
'CAUSE THE TITLE SAYS IT ALL.
UM...
AT THE SAME TIME...
IN THE '90s...
WE START TO SEE THESE GRASSROOTS ORGANIZATIONS.
IN SELMA, ALABAMA, THERE WAS A GROUP CALLED
"21st CENTURY YOUTH LEADERSHIP MOVEMENT."
OUT ON THE WEST COAST, YOU HAD AN ORGANIZATION
CALLED "ELLA BAKER CENTER FOR HUMAN RIGHTS,"
AND THE ELLA BAKER CENTER FOR HUMAN RIGHTS
TAKING ITS NAME FROM ELLA BAKER,
WHO WAS THE S.C.L.C. ACTIVIST WHO HAD THE VISION
FOR CREATING THE STUDENT NONVIOLENT COORDINATING COMMITTEE,
UNDER THE IDEA THAT YOUNG PEOPLE THEMSELVES
NEEDED TO RUN THEIR OWN ORGANIZATIONS AND BE ENGAGED IN THE MOVEMENT,
AND THAT THERE WAS A RESPONSIBILITY TO PASS THAT HISTORY OF STRUGGLE
ON TO THE NEXT GENERATION.
THAT ORGANIZATION WAS ACTUALLY FOUNDED BY VAN JONES,
WHO LATER ON HEARD ABOUT--
UM, WHEN HE TOPPED THE HEADLINES WHEN THE CRAZY PEOPLE--
'CAUSE THE CRAZY PEOPLE ARE STILL WITH US.
OUR ENEMIES ARE STILL WITH US.
WHEN WE TALK ABOUT THE CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT,
SOME OF THOSE PEOPLE HAVEN'T GONE AWAY.
THEY ARE INCREASINGLY A MINORITY,
BUT THEY'RE A MINORITY WITH A LOUD VOICE.
AND THEY'RE A MINORITY THAT SHOUTS OVER EVERYBODY, RIGHT?
AND THEY WANT THEIR VOICES ARE GONNA BE HEARD.
AND THEY HAVE A VISION OF THE COUNTRY THAT HAS, BASICALLY,
IS IN LEAGUE WITH THE NEANDERTHALS,
BUT THEY THINK THAT THAT'S THE FUTURE OF THE COUNTRY AND NOT ITS PAST.
SO, VAN JONES WAS BASICALLY FORCED TO RESIGN.
HE WAS THE WHITE HOUSE ADVISOR ON GREEN JOBS--
JUST ANOTHER GREAT EXAMPLE--
A YOUNG MAN WHO HAD A VISION FOR HOW THE COUNTRY
CAN MOVE FORWARD OUT OF THE MESS THAT WE'RE IN.
BUT, UM...
HIS-- AND HIS-- IN TERMS OF HIS ORIGINS,
HE WAS A GRASSROOTS HIP-HOP ACTIVIST IN OAKLAND,
AND THEY HAD STUDENT WALK-OUTS, THEY DEALT WITH THE ISSUE OF EDUCATION--
"WHY WAS CALIFORNIA SPENDING MORE MONEY ON PRISONS
"THAN THEY WERE SENDING YOUNG PEOPLE TO SCHOOL?"
THEY DOCUMENTED POLICE BRUTALITY.
THEY FOLLOWED POLICE WHO WERE ABUSING YOUNG PEOPLE,
AND MADE DOCUMENTED RECORDS,
SO THAT THE NEXT TIME THESE OFFICERS SHOWED UP IN AN ABUSE SITUATION,
THAT THEY HAD FILES ON THEM,
AND SAID, "HEY, WE GOTTA TAKE THIS PERSON OFF THE POLICE FORCE,
"'CAUSE WE HAVE A HISTORY OF HIM DOING THIS TYPE OF ABUSE."
SO, THIS IS THE TYPE OF WORK
THAT GRASSROOTS HIP-HOP ACTIVISTS WERE DOING IN THE '90s.
AND BY THE TIME
WE COME INTO THE YEAR 2003 AND '4,
ARE BEGINNING TO SAY, "WE NEED TO TAKE THESE ORGANIZATIONS
"AND WE NEED TO TAKE THIS ACTIVISM TO A NATIONAL LEVEL,
"BECAUSE AT THE LOCAL LEVEL, WE'RE NOT HAVING AS MUCH OF AN IMPACT."
WE SAW THAT WE COULD HAVE AN ORGANIZATION LIKE VAN JONES IN BOSTON, LET'S SAY,
AND ANOTHER ONE LIKE VAN JONES--
THERE WAS A GROUP IN D.C. CALLED "LISTEN INC."
MANY OF THEM ARE DOING THE SAME WORK, BUT THEY DIDN'T EVEN KNOW EACH OTHER.
THEY DIDN'T EVEN KNOW EACH OTHER EXISTED.
SO, WE STARTED TO CREATE THESE NETWORKS
AND TO FORMALIZE THIS COMMUNITY OF ACTIVISTS,
AND TO BEGIN TO TAKE THIS ACTIVISM TO A NATIONAL LEVEL.
NOW, WHERE AM I GOING WITH THIS?
BY THE TIME WE GET TO THE YEAR 2004,
WE GET THE EMERGENCE OF THESE NATIONAL ORGANIZATIONS.
BY THE TIME WE GET TO 2004, WE SEE A SURGE IN YOUTH VOTER PARTICIPATION...
FROM THE YEAR 2000.
THE HIGHEST SURGE THAT WE HAD SEEN SINCE THE '70s.
UM, 11 PERCENT INCREASE OF YOUNG PEOPLE, 18 TO 29, PARTICIPATING IN ELECTIONS.
BY THE TIME WE GET TO 2008,
DURING THE YEAR THAT OBAMA WAS ELECTED,
YOU HAVE AN INCREASE OF ANOTHER FIVE PERCENT.
SO, WHAT WE SEE IS THAT THE INCREASE--
I MEAN, A LOT OF TIMES, PEOPLE LIKE TO ATTRIBUTE THE ELECTION OF--
THE INTEREST OF YOUTH IN POLITICS TO BARACK OBAMA.
I THINK THAT WE'RE SEEING A DIFFERENT TREND.
WE'RE SEEING A TREND OF YOUNG PEOPLE INCREASINGLY BEING ENGAGED
IN "WHAT IS THE FUTURE OF THE COUNTRY GONNA LOOK LIKE?"
AND AT THAT FIRST LEVEL, WE SAW IT GOING INTO ELECTORAL POLITICS.
FIRST, WE SAW IT INTO GRASSROOTS ACTIVISM,
BUT LATER ON, ELECTORAL POLITICS,
AND TRYING TO INFLUENCE THESE NATIONAL ELECTIONS IN 2004 AND IN 2008.
AND IN 2008, WE SAW THE REAL FIRST POLITICAL VICTORY
FOR THE HIP-HOP GENERATION IN THE ELECTION OF BARACK OBAMA.
YOU HAD TWO-THIRDS-- ER, YOU HAD 23 MILLION YOUNG PEOPLE
VOTE FOR PRESIDENT IN 2008.
TWO-THIRDS OF THEM VOTED FOR BARACK OBAMA.
UM, AND SO, WHAT BECOMES BARACK OBAMA'S RESPONSIBILITY TO THEM?
AND WHAT BECOMES THEIR RESPONSIBILITY...
TO THEMSELVES TO NOT STOP THE WORK THEY WERE ALREADY DOING?
WELL, I THINK, FIRST, PEOPLE WERE SO EXCITED
THAT THEY HAD A POLITICAL VICTORY AT ALL,
THAT THEY JUST STOPPED DOING ANYTHING.
UM, AND THEY JUST KINDA SAT BACK AND SAID, "WELL, WE GOT THIS DUDE ELECTED.
"WE VOTED FOR HIM.
"HE SAID HE WAS GONNA MAKE CHANGE, RIGHT?
"SAID HE WAS GONNA MAKE CHANGE ON THE ISSUES THAT MATTER TO US,
"IN TERMS OF EDUCATION,
"IN TERMS OF ENDING A WAR, AND OTHER AREAS,"
AND PEOPLE, THEN, WERE NOT SATISFIED WITH WHAT THEY WERE GETTING.
IN THE AFTERMATH OF, UH...
I'M SORRY, IN THE DAYS LEADING UP TO THE, UH...
KING MONUMENT THAT WAS BEING UNVEILED
IN WASHINGTON D.C. OVER THE SUMMER,
CLAYBORNE CARSON, THE HISTORIAN AT STANFORD
WHO HEADS "THE KING PAPERS PROJECT"
AND THE "MARTIN LUTHER KING JR. RESEARCH AND EDUCATION INSTITUTE"--
UM, MICHAEL ERIC DYSON INTERVIEWED HIM ON HIS SHOW,
ASKING HIM "WHAT WILL BE THE--
"UH, HOW WOULD KING REMEMBER--
"HOW WOULD KING FEEL ABOUT THIS?"
AND SO, DR. CARSON SAID,
"WELL, IF KING HAD LIVED TO SEE THIS,
"WE WOULDN'T BE DOING THIS."
BUT HE ALSO ASKED HIM,
"WHAT WOULD KING WANT US TO DO?"
AND HE SAID, "KING WOULD SAY WE SHOULD GO TO THE MOUNTAINTOP"-- NO, NO, I'M SORRY.
HE SAID, "WHAT SHOULD WE SAY KING SHOULD DO IN THE AFTERMATH
"OF THE ELECTION OF BARACK OBAMA?"
AND HE SAID THAT KING WOULD SAY, "WE SHOULD GO TO THE MOUNTAINTOP
"AND CELEBRATE TODAY.
"BUT TOMORROW, WE GOTTA GO BACK DOWN IN THE VALLEY
"AND GET BACK TO THAT GRASSROOTS ORGANIZING
"AND TO THAT AGITATION AND TO THAT STRUGGLE."
(applause)
SO, THERE IS A LOT OF NATIONAL SENTIMENT FLOATING AROUND NOW
THAT'S SAYING TO YOUNG PEOPLE, "YOU GUYS DID A GREAT JOB.
"IN 2008, YOU WENT OUT THERE, YOU VOTED, AND YOU BASICALLY WASTED YOUR TIME,
"'CAUSE YOU DIDN'T GET WHAT YOU VOTED FOR," RIGHT?
ISN'T THAT WHAT PEOPLE SAY?
"DON'T WASTE YOUR TIME.
"POLITICS IS"-- THAT'S THE NEW RAP.
UM...
BUT I THINK THAT WE NEED TO LOOK AT OURSELVES,
AND WHAT WE DIDN'T DO, THAT WE WERE SUPPOSED TO DO--
WE NEED TO LOOK AT OUR ELDERS, WHO HAD A BETTER--
WHO HAD EXPERIENCE...
AND WHO HAD EXPERIENCES BEFORE,
AND SHOULD HAVE BEEN TELLING US THAT WE NEEDED TO KEEP ON WORKING AT THIS
AND NOT FALLING BACK.
BUT I THINK THAT THE UPSIDE IS WE'RE STARTING TO SEE
A CONTINUATION OF THAT MOVEMENT MANIFEST ITSELF
IN THE "OCCUPY WALL STREET" MOVEMENT, LED BY YOUNG PEOPLE AROUND THE COUNTRY.
AND AS THE REVOLUTION IS NOT TELEVISED,
MANY OF THESE FOLKS ARE YOUNG GRASSROOTS HIP-HOP ACTIVISTS,
BUT IT'S CERTAINLY OUR YOUNG PEOPLE.
IT'S A HUGE MOVEMENT AROUND THE COUNTRY,
AND I THINK THAT NOW WHAT WE NEED TO DO
IS TO SEE BOTH OF THESE VISIONS COME TOGETHER.
THIS IS THE MOVEMENT THAT WE ARE ENGAGED IN
AND THIS IS THE FUTURE THAT I THINK YOUNG PEOPLE WILL BE AT THE START OF.
I'M GONNA END WITH A QUOTE FROM GRACE LEE BOGGS,
THE 96 YEAR OLD CHINESE-AMERICAN PHILOSOPHER
AND DETROIT-BASED ACTIVIST,
WHO STARTED THE ORGANIZATION "DETROIT SUMMER."
SHE'S THE AUTHOR OF A BOOK CALLED, "THE NEXT AMERICAN REVOLUTION."
SHE SAID, IN RESPONSE
TO THE "OCCUPY WALL STREET" PROTESTERS,
"YOU BEGIN WITH THE PROTEST, BUT YOU HAVE TO MOVE ON FROM THERE.
"OUT OF PROTEST, YOU HAVE TO MOVE ON TO ANOTHER STAGE.
"YOU HAVE TO BEGIN BECOMING THE SOLUTION YOURSELF,
"RATHER THAN PROTESTING AND CHALLENGING YOUR ENEMY.
"WE NEED PEOPLE TO BE RE-INVENTING THE INSTITUTIONS OF ART AND SOCIETY...
"RE-INVENTING WORK, SO THAT WE DON'T THINK THAT HAVING A JOB
"AND BEING ABLE TO PAY BILLS IS WHAT BEING A HUMAN BEING IS ALL ABOUT...
"RE-INVENTING EDUCATION, SO THAT OUR YOUNG PEOPLE
"CAN SEE THEMSELVES AS A PART OF BUILDING THIS COUNTRY.
"SO MANY INSTITUTIONS OF OUR SOCIETY NEED RE-INVENTING, NEED RE-THINKING,
"AND YOU NEED TO DO THAT.
"YOU MAY NOT BE SATISFIED WITH SIMPLY REBELLING.
"WE ARE AT ONE OF THOSE TURNING POINTS IN HISTORY, WHERE WE NEED REVOLUTION.
"AND REVOLUTION MEANS RE-INVENTING OUR CULTURE."
THANK YOU ALL VERY MUCH.
(applause)
SO, DO I TURN IT BACK TO YOU NOW?
(laughing) ALL RIGHT.
THANK YOU. >> THANK YOU.
(music)
THANK YOU SO MUCH, MR. KITWANA.
WHAT A MESSAGE.
I KNOW I-- (applause)
TOOK AWAY FROM IT THAT--
I LOVE THAT YOU NEVER STOP THE REVOLUTION,
AND I GUESS IT CONTINUES WITH ME.
THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR YOUR MESSAGE THIS EVENING
AND SHARING IT HERE WITH US IN GRAND RAPIDS.
JUST WANT TO REMIND YOU ALL NOT TO FORGET
THAT THERE IS VOTER REGISTRATION IN THE CORNER.
WE HAVE ANOTHER MUSICAL SELECTION TO LISTEN TO.
DRIVE HOME SAFELY.
THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR COMING TONIGHT.
HAVE A GOOD EVENING.
(applause)
(general chatter)
(music)
>> (indistinct singing)
(indistinct singing)
(indistinct singing)
(indistinct singing)
(indistinct singing)
(indistinct singing)
(applause)
(music)