Honoring Dr. King’s “Message for Every Generation”
"Martin Luther King is my hero."
When Curtis Strange Elementary School fifth grader Angela Ruehle spoke these words at Friday's UW-Parkside program honoring Dr. King, it reinforced the event's theme: "A Message for Every Generation." Born more than 30 years after Dr. King's death, Ruehle and other young award recipients said his message of freedom and dignity for everyone, regardless of the color of their skin, still resonates today.
The evening opened with a video titled "Stand Up for Martin Luther King" by the second grade class at Racine's Janes Elementary School. University of Wisconsin-Parkside Chancellor Debbie Ford then welcomed the audience and spoke about values like academic excellence that are shared by the university and the community.
"All of these values are evident tonight," Ford said.
Serving as hosts for this year's event, UW-Parkside students Shar'mane Martin and Victor Bridgeman then introduced community award winners. Mrs. Blakeman's and Mrs. Kallay's second graders at Janes Elementary won the Spoken Word Award for their video. Other awards were given for art projects and essays about Dr. King.
The UW-Parkside College Essay Award was earned by Jasmine Minett, a junior Criminal Justice major. The university's chapter of the Sigma Lambda Beta fraternity received the UW-Parkside Community Service Award.
"Martin Luther King's dream is not just for African Americans, it's for all people," said the fraternity's Nelson Senda in accepted the award for the group.
Immigrant rights activist Maria Morales was the recipient of the university's Racine/Kenosha Community Service Award.
The evening also featured an African dance by members of the Upward Bound dance troupe, a performance of Psalm 121 by UW-Parkside student Halima Phelps, and a spoken word performance of "We all hold the key" by Nico Moore and Aaron Turner.
UW-Parkside Director of Multicultural Student Opportunity Services Damian Evans expressed the university's appreciation to the local school districts involved in the MLK contests and celebration. They included Brighton, Bristol, Burlington, Dover, Kenosha, North Cape, Norway, Paris, Randall, Racine, Raymond, Riverview, Salem, Trevor-Wilmot, Union Grove, Washington-Caldwell, Waterford, Westosha, Wheatland, Wilmot, and Yorkville.The program was held Friday, Jan. 20, in the Main Stage Theatre of the Rita Tallent Picken Regional Center for Arts and Humanities.