Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration
Remember. Celebrate. Act.
From Intention to Impact
Sunday, January 28, 2018
Welcome to the 33rd Annual Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration at Syracuse University. This celebration
continues to be the largest university-sponsored event in the nation to honor the life and legacy of Dr. King.
Each year, a dedicated legion of volunteers creates a memorable tribute to the life and legacy of Dr. King, giving us the opportunity to find new meaning in his words and inspiration in his work.
Dr. King, through his writings and his speeches, challenged all of us to find the courage to create positive change in a troubled world. He taught us the importance of listening to and learning from others. He shared his dream, offering a glimpse of what was possible. He inspired generations to chart a course of action, to have real impact.
Our keynote speaker this year, Angela Rye, also shows us the way to move from aspiration to action. I join in welcoming her to Syracuse.
By celebrating Dr. King each year, we honor the values that he epitomized: courage, truth, justice, compassion, dignity, humility and service. These same values define each generation of unsung heroes, also honored by us tonight.
Their stories inspire us to come together, to help each other reach our full potential on this campus and around the world. That is a dream worth pursuing year after year.
Chancellor Kent Syverud
A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE MEAL
By Yubecka James ’00
Cornbread—Slaves took scraps of cornmeal and made quick cereals and breads out of them. This met physical needs with carbohydrates and added fiber.
Barbecue Pork Ribs—Barbecue originated as a result of cooking over an open fire or coals. The meat usually barbecued is pork. The ribs were considered unfit for the masters, and slaves took scraps and made it part of their diets.
Fried Chicken—Fried chicken has been a part of soul food for as long as can be remembered. Frying was a means of using high heat to cook meat quickly. The breaded coating sealed in moisture during the process. Chicken scraps—such as feet, necks, backs, wings, and organ parts—were also considered unfit for the master.
Collard Greens—Greens were often prepared by cleaning a mix of collard, mustard, and turnip greens. They were cooked with bacon drippings, ham hocks, or neck bones, with seasonings as basic as salt and pepper. Sunday dinners and meals of celebration were incomplete without this food icon.
Black-Eyed Peas—These are also known as cowpeas. Black-eyed peas were brought to America from Africa. They lasted during the dreadful Middle Passage and adapted
quickly to the southern environment. As part of the diet, they provide essential vitamins and minerals.
Baked Macaroni and Cheese—Diets began to evolve when slaves entered plantations as cooks, giving them access to a larger array of ingredients. Because each new state had its own cultural influences, African dishes began to take on the qualities from that region. Rich and saucy dishes, such as macaroni and cheese, were influenced by the French accent from Louisiana.
Banana Pudding—Banana pudding is a traditional dessert at holiday meals. It satisfies the sweet tooth that we all have. The dessert is composed of bananas, vanilla pudding, and cookies.
Sweet Potato Pie—This, too, is a traditional dessert; however, it can be used as a vegetable. The yam (main ingredient) originated from South America. As a vegetable, it is often referred to as candied yams. No matter how you cook the yam, it will satisfy your sweet tooth.
For more information on vegetarian and gluten-free items, as well as the complete menu, including all ingredients, please see the buffet table hosts.
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Formal Program for the Celebration
Dance/Step–Greensboro Sit-in: Performance arranged and performed by SU Black Reign Step Team
Black Reign will be paying homage to the Greensboro sit-ins that happened during a crucial period in the Civil Right Movement. Students were inspired by Dr. King’s practice of non-violent protest and to stand for their beliefs.
Dance/Step–To the Mountaintop: Performance arranged and performed by the Young and Talented Hip Hop
Performing Arts Kompany (YAT PAK)
Students in this group are performing to excerpts of Dr. King’s “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop” speech. The power of the speech is the power that students are putting into this dance step.
Welcome: Bridget Yule Director of Student Centers and Programming Services Chair of 2018 MLK Celebration Committee
12TH Chancellor and President Syracuse University
Invocation: The Rev. Brian E. Konkol, Ph.D. Dean of Hendricks Chapel
Musical Selection: Lift Every Voice and Sing
Written by James Weldon Johnson and John R. Johnson Performed by the Black Celestial Choral Ensemble (BCCE), Syracuse University’s 2018 Dr. King Community Choir and Audience
Introduction of Speaker Senior Class Marshals:
Gerald Adivah Brown ’18, College of Visual and Performing Arts Anjana Pati ’18, College of Arts and Sciences
Keynote Speaker: Angela Rye
Attorney, Political Commentator and Principal and CEO of IMPACT Strategies
Expression of Gratitude: Senior Class Marshals and Brandyn Munford ’18, Alpha Phi Alpha President
Musical Selection: Honesty. Written by Ashley Dixon ’18 and performed with friends.
The performance is an original selection which honors the life and legacy of Dr. King
Dance performance: Un Morenito Coqueta. Arranged and performed by RAICES Dance Troupe
Raices will be performing a merengue to celebrate and commemorate Dr. King, and to show admiration towards his fight and wisdom that has brought light into our lives.
Musical Selection: Intentional. Written by Travis Greene
Performed by BCCE and 2018 Dr. King Community Choir
Unsung Hero Awards Presentation: Sylvia Langford, Former Celebration Committee Chairperson along with
Chancellor Kent Syverud, as well as Senior Class Marshals: Gerald Brown and Anjana Pati
Unsung Hero Recipients:
Chris Burns, Community Member
Arthur Harrison and Ed Beauford, Community Members
Dominique Donnay, High School Student
Keenan Lewis, University College Student
Robert Wilson, Syracuse University Staff Member
Musical Selection: A Medley of Gratitude
Songs written by Kirk Franklin & Richard Smallwood Performed by Black Legacy A Cappella Group.
Black Legacy’s aim is to revise the narrative of African-American men through singing as well as promoting unity and diversity.
Closing Remarks: Bridget Yule
Celebratory Song: Reach and Touch (Somebody’s Hand)
Lift Every Voice and Sing
(one verse, one chorus)
By James Weldon Johnson and John R. Johnson
Lift every voice and sing, Till earth and heaven ring,
Ring with the harmonies of Liberty, Let our rejoicing rise
High as the list’ning skies,
Let it resound loud as the rolling sea.
Sing a song full of the faith that the dark past has taught us, Sing a song full of the hope that the present has brought us; Facing the rising sun of our new day begun,
Let us march on till victory is won.
Reach Out and Touch (Somebody’s Hand)
By Nickolas Ashford and Valerie Simpson
BCCE, 2018 Dr. King Community Choir and Audience
Reach out and touch Somebody’s hand
Make this world a better place If you can
Reach out and touch Somebody’s hand
Make this world a better place If you can
MARTIN LUTHER KING JR.
2018 CELEBRATION PROGRAM NOTES
KEYNOTE SPEAKER: Angela Rye,
attorney and the principal and CEO of IMPACT Strategies
The Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration Committee is proud to have Angela Rye as our keynote speaker for this year’s event.
Rye is an attorney and the principal and CEO of IMPACT Strategies, a political advocacy and strategic consulting firm. A leading political strategist, she is committed to ensuring positive change in the political process by building relationships for corporations, unions, nonprofits, and elected officials. She has been interviewed
by, and provided commentary for, CNN, BET, HBO, MSNBC, C-SPAN, SiriusXM, The Washington Post, Fortune, The Today Show, NBC Nightly News, Real Time with Bill Maher, and TV-ONE.
“As the new dean of Hendricks Chapel, I’m thrilled with the selection of Angela Rye as the Dr. King keynote speaker for this year,” says the Rev. Brian E. Konkol. “She brings a distinctive and dynamic voice to our event, along with a critical message for our students, faculty, staff, and community members. As we continue to build upon the legacy of Dr. King here at Syracuse University and beyond, Angela Rye will inspire us to visualize a better world and motivate us to help bring it all into being.”
In her role as principal and CEO of IMPACT Strategies, Rye seeks to encourage young professionals in three core areas: economic empowerment, civic engagement, and political involvement.
Previously, she served as the executive director and general counsel to the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) for the 112th Congress. In this capacity, she was tasked with developing the overall legislative and political strategy for the caucus.
Previous to working for the CBC, she served as senior advisor and counsel to the House Committee on Homeland Security.
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2018 Unsung Hero Awards
Community Member Chris Burns
Burns is a teacher by day, but after school and during his spare time he volunteers his time as a boxing coach at community gyms, including the West Athletic Center. He has done this tirelessly for more than a decade, at times working with legendary boxer and mentor Ray Rinaldi. Burns himself serves as a mentor to young boxers and helps them learn important lessons inside the ring and out. His nominator writes, “Coach Chris
is one of the most dedicated mentors I have met in my life. He does all this during a regular work week, but he also makes time for national tournaments so that his kids can travel and show off their skills on the national level. He’s fostered many national boxing champions. His selflessness and his dedication to the betterment of youth and his community have inspired me to nominate him for this honor. I cannot think of anyone better than him in the Syracuse community to receive this prestigious recognition.
Coach Chris embodies the spirit of Dr. King’s ‘beloved community,’ and I truly believe that the positive difference he is making in our community should be recognized. I also believe that all his kids at the gym would be thrilled to see their admired coach receive this award as well.”
Ed Beauford and Arthur Harrison
Harrison and Beauford are co-founders of the Faith Hope Community Center. The center serves as a beacon of light for young people, offering boxing and other recreational activities. Since 2014, the Faith Hope Center has run without crucial
federal dollars. Thanks to the efforts of both Harrison and Beauford, along with a group of dedicated volunteers, Faith Hope has become a self-funded enterprise. According to their nominator, the center “still manages to serve youth who would not have a safe place to learn and to grow were it not for their steadfast mentorship. What these co- founders have accomplished since 2014 is more worthy of recognition than anything they accomplished before then. At the Faith Hope Center, young people work on anger management and character development, understanding that, as Arthur succinctly reminds them, ‘When you’re wearing gloves, you can’t hold a knife or a gun.’ Faith Hope is the only center that has a staff chef who voluntarily provides food when youngsters arrive hungry and ready to spar; they’re the only center that regularly receives informal, urgent referrals from school administrators and coaches who are concerned that a
teen may be wandering into dangerous [psychological] territory. So far, theirs is also a center that can claim that NONE of its participants have died from street violence and that ALL of their participants leave their street habits outside the door and work cooperatively with others once they enter.”
High School Student Dominique Donnay
Donnay is a sophomore at the Syracuse City School District (SCSD) Institute of Technology at Syracuse Central (ITC). His mother is responsible for the nomination, and writes “Dominique is an extremely dedicated young man. He works very hard at helping to create change for his community and to create a better educational environment for students of the Syracuse City School District.” Donnay serves on three Syracuse City School District committees, including the Strategic Plan Steering Committee, which is working to create a strategic action plan for the SCSD. He sits on the Superintendent’s Student Cabinet. He is school leader at ITC for the Food Committee of the SCSD. He serves as the lead student on the committee, and is helping to implement changes to
the district school lunch menu to include healthier and more diverse selections. Donnay is also a member of the youth council for the Alliances of Communities Transforming Syracuse (ACTS). In this role, he assists in discussions of issues pertaining to city schools. He’s also taken two levels of AVP (Alternatives to Violence) training, which teach peaceful resolution to conflict. Donnay volunteers at the Butternut Community Police Center and the Science Technology Entry Program (STEP) at Syracuse University. In summing up her nomination, his mom writes, “Dominique is an incredible young man who is a very high achiever. He is passionate about the issues that affect his community, education and his peers. Dominique’s work exemplifies the spirit, life and teachings of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.”
University College Student Keenan Lewis
Lewis is a student at Syracuse University through University College, and is also a deacon at The Promise Land Church. He and his wife are the creators of the “I Know I Can” radio program. The program, which airs on WVOA radio Thursday evenings at 7 p.m., aims to promote positive discussion on a variety of important topics including mental health, education, job resources, budgeting and important community events. Lewis’ mother, who nominated him, says her son “took this lead because he knew it would help the community at large to better their mind set, their way of thinking and to help push the community to a better way of life.” She also notes that “Lewis and his family have coordinated six community events, so the community could enjoy and gather together during the summer. They have donated book bags and supplies to families in need, as well as purchasing and delivering groceries to their homes. Lewis helped families with holiday gifts, sends cards to service members, and in the past three years he’s helped families in Syracuse with clothing, shoes and household item donations. Lewis is a great man, friend, child, dad, brother, husband and community supporter. He is truly an unsung hero!”
Faculty/Staff Robert Wilson
Wilson is director of Student Support Services, where he works with first-generation college students. His nominator says Wilson “works tirelessly to advocate for SSS students and create a culture in the program of ‘unconditional positive regard’ to help students feel socially, emotionally and academically supported. Bob has created an incredibly supportive ‘home base’ on campus for SSS students and helped literally hundreds of first-generation college students earn their four-year degrees.” Under Wilson’s leadership, the graduation rate of SSS students is at or is slightly higher than that of the University as whole. Additionally, Wilson volunteers his time as coach for the men’s rugby team and as the director for the Advisor Practitioners Forum (APF). APF
is an informal group of academic advisors and counselors that meets several times per semester for networking and professional development.
Martin Luther King Jr. 2018 Celebration Program Notes
We come together to celebrate the importance of Dr. King’s work to our campus and to our community through word, song, dance, and video. We also remind ourselves of Dr. King’s selfless work to eradicate all forms of racial prejudice and social injustice. The struggle continues because racism still divides America. As we celebrate Dr. King’s life
and legacy, we reflect on how far we have come and how much further there still is to go.
The Dr. King Celebration is a night to engage with generations and understand that we all must move from intention to impact.
The program committee recognizes the contributions of the following people and organizations to this event:
The Black Celestial Choral Ensemble of Syracuse University (BCCE) is a cultural organization founded in 1977 to express the Black experience through gospel music. The ensemble is comprised
of SU students, alumni, and members of the greater Syracuse community, and is sponsored by Hendricks Chapel.
Cora Thomas, radio personality (88.3 FM and Power 620), is the program committee chair and coordinator of the Syracuse University 2018 MLK Community Choir. The choir is comprised of members of the BCCE and community churches, organizations, and schools.
Keith Kobland, media manager in the Office of News Services, is editor for this year’s program, and is handling media needs for the Dr. King Celebration.
This year’s Unsung Heroes videos were created by a class under the direction of Bruce Strong, associate professor of Multimedia, Photography and Design at the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications, and with the assistance of Bob Emerson, adjunct professor at Newhouse.
Ryan Henry created the backdrop and program image for tonight’s celebration.
Vice President and Chief Facilities Officer Pete Sala
and the entire Carrier Dome staff. Syracuse University Food Services.
Ken Jackson and Urban CNY newspaper
Ashley Dixon ’18 is studying sport and human dynamics at Falk College.
Black Legacy is an all-male a cappella group founded in 2013. The group’s primary goal is to reintroduce the sounds of Motown and influential African American artists of the past around campus and in the surrounding communities.
Black Reign Step Team was founded in 2005 to showcase the art of stepping through fellowship, discipline, unity and precision.
RAICES Dance Troupe was founded in 1997 to help educate the SU community about the richness and diversity of the Latino culture through music and dance.
Young and Talented Hip Hop Performing Arts Kompany (YAT PAK) is a nonprofit urban dance and arts company in its 14th season under the direction of Akilah Cage, owner and founder.
Martin Luther King 2018 Celebration Committee
Bridget Yule, Chairperson
Gerald Adivah Brown
Robert M. Emerson
Mark H. Tewksbury