Students celebrate MLK


Published: Thursday, January 15, 2004 at 2:23 p.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, January 15, 2004 at 2:23 p.m.

Chuck D to speak

When you say "Martin Luther King," the words "civil rights" probably come to mind first. Most likely, the image of a rap artist isn't your first thought.

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Martin Luther King in Washington, 1963, giving his 'I have a dream' speech.

Associated Press

However, Chuck D, the cofounder of the redefining rap group Public Enemy (http://www.publicenemy.com), addresses similar racial and civil rights issues as King once did. Among other issues, Chuck D also addresses the more modern problems of drugs and gun violence. He even wrote a song about the attempt of some in Congress to block the King memorial national holiday.

Most recently, Chuck D served as a national spokesperson for Rock The Vote and the National Urban League. In 1999, he launched RapStation.com, a hip-hop and rap music Web site.

"For me, Chuck D was one of those individuals that spoke out against the injustices faced by America's people," said Jeremiah Abiade, president of the Black Graduate Student Organization.

BGSO and Accent host Chuck D in the 18th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Awards Celebration. He will speak Saturday at 6 p.m. in the Reitz Union Rion Ballroom. The banquet will also honor UF black graduate students and area high school students.

For more information on Chuck, visit http://grove.ufl.edu/~bgso/ChuckD-Bio.htm. For information on the

speech and a list of activities, see the bottom of the page.

Students honor MLK

Students can remember King's legacy by finding a worthy cause and getting involved, Abiade, a UF materials science and engineering graduate student, said.

"First, look inside of yourself and measure your contribution to society as a whole," he said.

"Gainesville is a very small place. Therefore, the large student body can make a huge impression," said Abiade, who volunteers at St. Francis House and assists voter registration drives.

Samesha Barnes got creative and wrote a poem about the 2002 King march in Gainesville. Barnes said it was a rainy day and that deterred people from marching.

"I marched in the rain today

To celebrate the legacy of Dr. King

A man who gave up his life

For me to have even the right"

Barnes, a UF materials science and engineering graduate student,

thanks King for his inspiration and civil rights accomplishments.

"No dogs were unleashed sinking their teeth hungrily into my skin

No hateful comments flung or rocks hurled as we marched

I'd say we had it pretty good marching in the rain today"

She said she plans to march again this year. And you can bet she'll

march rain or shine. For her full poem, see the bottom of the page.

MLK events

Friday

  • Gospel Theater: "He say, She say. What does God Say?" directed by Carol Velasques Productions - 8 p.m., at Martin Luther King Center, 1028 NE 14th St, near corner of NE 8th Ave. and Waldo Road. Adults $5 donation, children under 12 a $3 donation. (379-8882 or 376-2442)

  • Youth Celebration: Youth Commemorate MLK with Praises, 7:30 p.m. at Victory Temple COGIC. (337-9689)

  • "Brother Outsider: The Life of Bayard Rustin," reception and screening at 6:30 p.m., Pride Community Center, 1107 NW 6th St. (377-8915)

  • Meet with elected officials: A special meeting with Alachua County's black elected officials runs from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the office of Florida Rep. Ed Jennings Jr. (955-6232)

    Saturday

  • Annual Youth Summit: 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Multipurpose Center, free lunch is provided.

  • Voter Registration Barbecue: Northgate Shopping Center, 1130 NE 16th Ave. (955-6232)

  • Martin Luther King Jr. Banquet: 6 p.m. at Reitz Union Rion Ballroom, UF campus. Sponsored by Black Graduate Student Organization and Accent. Rapper Chuck D to speak. Tickets: $15-$20. (665-0505)

  • African Naming Ceremony: 7 p.m. at Wilhelmina Johnson Center. (485-2079)

  • Gospel Theater: Second night of "He say, She say. What does God Say?" directed by Carol Velasques Productions - 8 p.m., at Martin Luther King Center, near corner of NE 8th Ave. and Waldo Road. (379-8882 or 376-2442)

    Sunday

  • Annual Hall of Fame Banquet: Paramount Resort and Conference Center, 6 p.m., Keynote speaker: Dr. Na'Im Akbar, Professor of Psychology, Florida State University. Donations: $40 in advance with no tickets to be sold at the door. This year's Hall of Fame Award recipient is Harriet Ludwig.

  • "We Have a Dream:" 4-6 p.m., TV special on WCJB TV 20. (377-2020)

  • "Speaking in the Name of Martin:" Poetry, performance and praise, 5:30-9 p.m. at Downtown Community Plaza. (392-5724)

    Monday

  • National Holiday Activities kickoff: 11 a.m., Downtown

    Community Plaza. Keynote Speaker: Adria K. Green, Senior Eastside High School, the 2004 EDNA Hart Keeper of the Dream Scholarship Award recipient.

  • Annual Commemorative March: noon at the King Memorial Gardens and proceeds to the Martin Luther King Multipurpose Center for the Birthday Celebration and Gospel Program at 1 p.m.

    Barnes' poem

    I Marched In The Rain Today

    I marched in the rain today

    To celebrate the legacy of Dr. King

    A man who gave up his life

    For me to have even the right

    I forgot my umbrella at home

    But I didn't worry about my watch, my cell phone or my hair

    I can buy a new watch or phone & my hair can be fixed

    But what could never be replaced

    Is the feeling of walking hand in hand

    With my brothers & sisters in the rain

    In honor of someone who gave so much for us

    The rain poured heavily upon us

    But could never hail in comparison

    To the water sprayed so violently on my people not very long ago

    No dogs were unleashed sinking their teeth hungrily into my skin

    No hateful comments flung or rocks hurled as we marched

    I'd say we had it pretty good marching in the rain today

    Though some may have complained

    And let the overcast weather overcast them

    I held my head up & sang "Victory Is Mine"

    As if it were a clear, beautiful summer's day

    How could I complain?

    Wearing my comfortable shoes, with nobody standing in my way

    No angry mob surrounded me, called me names, or beat me with sticks

    No shackles were on my feet

    Preventing me from walking were I chose

    So I chose to walk in the rain

    I thought the distance quite short, although "too far" for some

    But we haven't gone far enough; the road ahead is long

    So I continued to march

    And when I reached the finish line

    Soaked, yet unharmed and unscathed

    I was proud to say that I made the choice

    To march in the rain today

    -Samesha R. Barnes, 2002

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