January 24th, 2013, had to be one of the most exciting events I have ever been a part of and participated in. There were so many people waiting to come inside and observe what was going to be taking place. As a MPA for the Multicultural Center, I hadn’t seen an event this hectic since the Salsa Night for Hispanic Heritage Month last semester. Salsa Night was the first event that I worked on campus as a Multicultural Peer Advocate and, preparing for the breakfast brought me flashbacks. I mean, who knew that I would be so nervous to see how the event I worked on was going to turnout.
There had been plenty of events that that my co-workers had lead the planning on. For the most part they turned out pretty well, but the MLK breakfast would actually be the first African American program event this year. I couldn’t tell you how much sweat was in my palms or the thoughts that were racing around in my brain. All I could think about was that our team, nor I, didn’t mess up. We put so much work into it, especially my supervisor. If one of us messed up would have been terrible. The pressure was on and it was time to perform!
All of the MPA’s, the MC full time staff, and the people who were participating in the skit had to be at the Multicultural Center by 7:45 am to make sure everything went as planned. There were two groups, one that would portray the civil rights leaders who lead the March on Washington and the latter portrayed the Americans who marched with them. You could sense the urgency in everyone’s eyes as we were serious about getting our parts down.
Shortly thereafter, it was time for the show to start and we marched in with our posters singing “This little light of mine…I’m going to let it shine” and the crowd was engaged in the re-enactment as well. It’s like we went back to 1963 for a moment to the civil rights era, where we sat and listened to the great speakers express their thoughts about freedom. The crowd was definitely moved, and began to clap as if they had never heard the speeches before.
The crowd was especially electrified as Martin Luther King Jr. (played by political science sophomore, Colin Phillips) recited Dr. King’s famous “I Have a Dream” speech. The room was full of energy and joy when he spoke the words “I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.” At that moment, reality hit me and I realized that as we were reliving these moments, I truly appreciated everything my past ancestors did for me and I appreciate all the African-American heroes who not only made a difference for their own race but for every other minority. It’s always important to pay homage to the past.
Author: Chidi Echebiri
Chidi is a Multicultural Peer Advocate in the Multicultural Center. He is responsible for assisting in the planning and execution of cultural programming and events in the center. He is working on his Bachelors of Science in Business Administration in the JSOM at UT Dallas. He likes to have fun and serves as the Parliamentarian for the Black Student Alliance at UTD. Look for more blog posts from him in the future.