FIU Students and Staff Honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr at Commemorative Dinner

Garth D. Headley, director of FIU’s Division of Human Resources, keynote speaker | Hennessy Sepulveda, Staff Writer

Staff Writer | Hennessy Sepulveda

The Black Student Union, Office of Social Justice and Inclusion and the Martin Luther King committee partnered up for the 33rd annual Commemorative Dinner to honor the legacy of civil rights activist Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on Thursday night at the Graham Center.

Guests were encouraged to wear shades of purple in accordance with the night’s theme, with the meeting hall also adorned with table cloths, dining plates and utensils in different shades of the color as well. 

The dinner offered lemonade for beverages and a selection of salad, rice, chicken, veggies and a dessert section with chocolate brownies that were a hit with attendees. 

The program began with a video put together by the organizers which overlaid footage from the March on Washington of Dr. King’s famous “I Have A Dream” speech with footage of students from Watkins Elementary School reciting King’s speech at the Washington Memorial, where he first delivered it in 1963.

Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. the oldest historically African American Fraternity who was joined by Dr. King in 1952 was in attendance at the dinner for the first time. The chapter’s president, Michael Cazeau delivered a speech on their behalf.

“As we reflect on the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., a distinguished member of Alpha Phi Alpha, let us draw strength from his words and his actions,” said Cazeau in the speech’s opening. 

Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. was also in attendance and gave a tribute to Coretta Scott King who was also a Alpha Kappa Alpha alumna, activist, and the wife of Dr. King. The tribute reflects on her life and legacy within the civil rights movement. 

BSU President and Biological Science major in her senior year Grace Biggers, and the BSU executive board, had part in organizing the event.

While staying true to the traditions of the event that have been upheld for the last 33 iterations, they also put an emphasis on choosing a keynote speaker that played an impactful role in serving the community which landed on them reaching out to Garth D. Headley, director of FIU’s Division of Human Resources.

“A lot of names came to mind,” said Biggers when the crew was deciding on a speaker. “But I had a lot of conversations with Mr. Headley and I thought he’d be perfect for what we were trying to commemorate with Dr. King.”

Throughout Headley’s speech, he shared three important teachings: “Know yourself”, “Serve where you can and help where you can”, and “Self care, as it is hard to serve and share your talents if you are running on empty”.    

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