Expressions of MLK’s Legacy – with Tavis Smiley

[piano music]
Destler>>President of RIT is it my distinct pleasure to welcome you all as we commemorate
our 32nd annual celebration in honor of Doctor Martin Luther King Jr.
[applause] Poets>>Simon… Simon… Simon says… give
up! We are women – cast into this world with a predisposition… condemning our bodies
to be objects. You have heard this all before! There is nothing new in this struggle!
[applause] Cutris>>I have a dream for the future that
is too beautiful to keep balled up in my heart. When I look at the present situation I realize
that my dream is possibly the light needed to dispel the dark degradation.
[applause] Smiley>>While I could debate you on Abraham
Lincoln… I could debate you on FDR…. there are a lot of great Americans… no doubt about
it. [It is] Because of the service and the sacrifice and the struggle of many, that we
are here today. But to my mind, Dr. Martin Luther King is the greatest American this
country has ever produced. All these years later, how seriously we take his legacy determines
the very fate and future of our very democracy. King’s life ultimately was about : Justice
for all, Service to others, and a Love that liberates people. That’s his life in a nutshell.
Now, in his lifetime there were three specific things that Dr. King was trying to get us
to focus on… so that we could in fact save our democracy. Those three issues are the
very issues that we are wrestling with today. King called these three issues the “Triple
Threat”… The Triple Threat. Racism, Poverty and Militarism. If we don’t understand that
all of us – all of our lives – are worthy… all of our lives have equal value… If we
can’t figure that out now… then when? If not now then when? If not here then where?
If not us… then who? McDonald>>Thank-you for challenging us Tavis.
Thank-you for all of the performers today. You left us enriched! Definitely.
Darko>>It tells us that, we have to make that change. And it is not… We don’t do
it so that we look good. We don’t do it so that we feel good. We do it so that we DO
good. And that is what stood out to me. Johnson>>Little did we know – or shall I
say: little did I know – that Dr. King was looked upon or spoken of with negativity.
And I am glad that Tavis Smiley had an opportunity to enlighten us today. So I will take what
I learned today so that I can teach my children, and so that they can tell their friends. And
each one can teach one. [Singing]

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