On Aug. 28, 1963 an African American man’s voice bellowed from the white steps of the Lincoln Memorial. Clear and unafraid he talked about his dream, a dream for those to not be judged by the color of their skin, but of the content of their character. A man that preached equality and against the aversions of segregation and intolerance. A man that left this world too soon, and whose legacy lives on throughout our nation and at Bellevue College.
To honor his legacy, Bellevue will be host to several different celebrations in remembrance of Dr. King across the week of Jan.17. The first event, sponsored by the Associated Student Government (ASG), entails reserved transport for interested students to be taken from Bellevue College to Garfield High School to partake in the annual Martin Luther King (MLK) march. The bus left from the flagpole circle promptly at 10 a.m. Monday morning.
The MLK holiday, currently in its 37th year, began with festivities held at Seattle’s Mt. Zion church at 19th and Madison Jan. 14. The celebration will then culminate with the MLK day march and rally starting at Garfield High School on Monday.
Zawdie Terry, current President of the Black Student Union (BSU) said, “BSU in its entirety will be there, we’re having a birthday party for MLK day.” Explaining that the event is, “Really about celebrating Dr. King; it’s not all seriousness.”
Jan. 18, the Latino American Culture Club (LACC) and El Centro Latino hosted a “Latino Civil Rights: Immigration and Education Discussion” in room C130 A&B from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
At the discussion, there will be a lectures regarding relevant Latino American concerns in reference to the current issues of civil rights, as a whole, immigration, and education within the Latino American community.
Jan. 19, Bellevue’s Persian Club will be sponsoring an “MLK Persian Culture Day,” with performances by Mr. Ali Ghaemmaghami and Dr. Iraj Paydar. The event will be hosted in room C120 A&B beginning at 11:30 a.m. and continuing through 1:30 p.m.
In Carlson Theatre, guest speakers Ms. Pramila Jayapal and Dr. Lyle Quasim will be hosting a lecture entitled, “Sustaining the Dream Through Higher Education,” Jan. 20 from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
To culminate the week’s celebrations, the BSU will be having its grand showcase at the cafeteria stage (C120 A&B) with performances by ARQ, a local R&B band, and other performances by Bellevue students.
“The best way to being people together is food and music,” explains BSU President Terry. “The idea is to celebrate the man MLK, and his dream.”
In describing the BSU while nearing the upcoming days of the MLK holiday, Terry said that the overall goal of the BSU, “Is [to] focus on the progression of the African American community through education on our history, by promoting social and political awareness.”
While the BSU is greatly focused on the present and where it sits right now as a great influence within Student Programs, it also has great plans for the future.
“Creating value behind education again,” Terry explains is one of his greatest goals for the BSU, adding that Dr. King was a great educator himself and sought to have all of the African American community educated, and well informed.
In addition, the near arrival of Black History Month in February will usher in a plethora of African American and different civil rights speakers. “Not boring, old textbook African American history,” said Terry, “we’re going to explore the entire history of black people, that starts in Africa.”
In addressing what Dr. King might think of Bellevue if he were alive today, Terry explained, “There’s still work to be done, we’re not yet equal Americans.”
In a time where the definition of “civil rights” has become somewhat muddled, so does the dream of Dr. King. Terry expresses a sincere concern that this responsibility comes down to the individual in order to come to fruition.
“Unless we do anything, that’s where it’s going to stay, a dream, never to become real.”