Celebration honors King's dream

January 17, 2011|By HEATHER KEELS |
  • The Rev. Darin Mency of Greater Campher Temple in Hagerstown wipes his brow during a dramatic rendition of Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech Monday afternoon during the Martin Luther King Jr. Diversity Celebration at Hagerstown Community College's Athletic, Recreation and Community Center.
By Joe Crocetta/Staff Photographer

HAGERSTOWN — Looking out into the audience gathered for Hagerstown Community College’s Martin Luther King Jr. Diversity Celebration, keynote speaker Chad Adero said Monday he was encouraged to see many children and young people in attendance.

“Many in this generation ... do not understand the dream,” he said. “They don’t understand the struggle. They don’t remember the sacrifice that people made to give them the opportunity that they have today.”

Adero, director of multicultural student services at Frederick (Md.) Community College, was one of several speakers and performers at HCC’s annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day event, which was held this year in the Athletic, Recreation and Community Center.

Adero titled his speech “Making a Commitment Like King” and structured it around the word “dream,” highlighting characteristics modeled by King that began with each letter of the word.

“You should have determination, strive for righteousness, enlighten yourself, be all-inclusive and be motivated to keep King’s dream alive,” he said.

To illustrate King’s determination, Adero described a video clip he saw of King leading a march in a suburban Chicago neighborhood as people yelled racial slurs, spat and threw objects at the marchers.

“At one point, King got hit in the head with a rock,” Adero said. “He fell to his knees, he got back up with his bloody head and he kept marching.”

Discussing enlightenment, Adero said that one of the “phenomenal” things King did was share the struggle of black people and poor people with the world.

“He knew if he could help other people understand what it felt like to be discriminated against, to be persecuted, to live in a nation full of opportunity but lack hope due to racism, he could get people to empathize and sympathize with the struggle,” Adero said.

He challenged the audience to do the same.

“Be willing to enlighten yourself about the plight of other people,” he said. “This will help all of us be less judgmental toward other people and help us embrace and appreciate the experiences that other people may have.”

HCC President Guy Altieri made a similar challenge during his opening remarks, calling for students to “embrace diversity with a passion.”

“If you do so, the personal rewards are immense, the richness it adds to your life and the success of our community is absolutely amazing,” Altieri said.

Musical performers at the event included the Greater Campher Temple singing group Jewell’s N Christ, singer and guitarist Natalie Stephenson, and keyboardist Zachary Worthy.

In addition, HCC freshman Nickolette Lockett read an original poem called “Remember the Past, Celebrate the Future,” and alumna Leticia West read a poem about King called “Remembering a Life” by Nordette Adams.

The program concluded with a dramatic rendition of King’s “I Have a Dream” speech by the Rev. Darin Mency of Greater Campher Temple.

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