Bellevue College celebrates Martin Luther King Jr.

The weekend of Monday, Jan. 15, kicked off Martin Luther King, Jr. Week at Bellevue College. While Bellevue College students did not have class on Monday due to the celebration of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday, several students still showed up to a march held that day.
“Being part of the MLK march in Seattle was a very powerful and inspiring experience. Our team was part of thousands of people, and I could feel the passion and the weight that is still present in our society today,” said Erika Lamothe, Marketing and Public Relations representative for the Associated Student Government at Bellevue College. “We still are witnesses to racism and hate. It is important to stay educated and to try to stop all hateful acts as we witness them. No more watching and hoping someone does something; we will be the people that does something.”
The week capped on Thursday, Jan. 18, at the Carlson Theater on campus with a performance called “Living Voices: The Right to Dream.” Actor Bob Williams was put on display as he told the story of an African American named Raymond Hollis in the Civil Rights Movement. “Living Voices” shows several people’s true stories and experiences during the trying time that African Americans were put through during the Civil Rights Movement and how they looked up to role models like Martin Luther King, Jr. or Malcolm X and followed them.
Williams’ story as Raymond Hollis touched on several different aspects of what the discrimination they faced was all about. He was the child of an African American World War II veteran, who, while heralded as a hero on his return from defeating Nazi Germany, was still discriminated against and allowed very few rights as a person of color in America. As a child, Hollis made friends with a white boy named Jack, but they were caught at a movie theater together where people of color were not allowed. As a result, Hollis was banned from seeing his friend. This was Hollis’ first real experience with discrimination, as he had never viewed his relationship with Jack as a black person and a white person, but rather as just two people.
Hollis went on to have a successful life. He got a full scholarship to an all-black college where he started involving himself with activism. One of the earlier incidents he was involved in was when he was part of a sit in at a diner where eventually white people came in and tried to make them leave and threw things at them. Jack from Hollis’ childhood was there and threw acid, which wound up blinding his friend Michael. The rest of the story followed the same progression, with Hollis continuing to do what he could to help advance the rights of African Americans through threats which culminated in his father’s dying at the hands of the Ku Klux Klan.
The Civil Rights Movement was crucial to the advancement of the country and step by step, Bellevue College and its students in it are trying to do what they can to eradicate racism from society.