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MLK Day offers opportunity for NMSU students to reflect on King’s impact

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MLK Day offers opportunity for NMSU students to reflect on King’s impact

Dr. Martin Luther King  Jr. acknowledges crowd after his famous

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. acknowledges crowd after his famous "I Have a Dream" speech at Washington D.C.'s Lincoln Memorial.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. acknowledges crowd after his famous "I Have a Dream" speech at Washington D.C.'s Lincoln Memorial.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. acknowledges crowd after his famous "I Have a Dream" speech at Washington D.C.'s Lincoln Memorial.

Thirty-six years ago, the Martin Luther King holiday was signed into law by then-President Ronald Reagan. This holiday is celebrated each year on the third Monday of January in remembrance of the once great leader that was Martin Luther King.

King was a nonviolent activist during the civil rights movement who gave the famous “I Have a Dream” speech in attempt to end racism in the United States of America. This speech was a pivotal moment, as he called for civil and economic rights.

Festus Addo-Yobo, the director of Black Programs at New Mexico State University said that King brought peace to America at a time where it was much needed.

“Without the voice of Martin Luther King, I think America would’ve been torn up by now because there is so much racism, there are so many inequalities, so this is something so unique to our development, industrialization, socialization, and bringing communication between all groups of people,” Addo-Yobo said.

Addo-Yobo continued to explain how he believes King’s principles of nonviolence is so powerful.

“For me, [Martin Luther King] is somebody that I think God gives a gift to … that sort of courageous leadership bringing ethics, bringing structure, bringing organization, and appealing to common sense and wisdom is beyond,” Addo-Yobo said. “I think we are lucky, and we need to be reflective and honor the achievement.”

On Martin Luther King Day, the leaders of the Black Student Association of New Mexico State University will attend a Martin Luther King breakfast put on by the local chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. The NMSU president and provost will also be in attendance with this group.

The BSA of NMSU promotes cultural awareness across campus and in the Las Cruces community. The BSA is composed many different clubs and organizations throughout campus such as the National Society of Black Engineers, Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Unity Club, and Zeta Phi Beta Sorority.

Meligha Garfield, a second-year graduate student and senior advisor of the BSA, said that being a part of this organization gives him a healthy environment and makes him more comfortable on campus.

“For myself, being a part of the Black Student Association is taking a stand as an African-American student on campus to organize and find ways to be innovative in making black students more comfortable and at home on campus,” Garfield said. “Black Student Association and Black Programs as a whole provide a safe space for me to celebrate, explore, elevate, and share black culture amongst friends, allies, and inquiring minds alike.”

Addo-Yobo said that creating a home away from home while recruiting and retaining African-American students is extremely important.

“We have a welcome back reception, other things like game nights, movies and things like that. You know, just to make them feel comfortable and bring a sense of belonging on campus,” Addo-Yobo said. “We try to have partnerships on campus with all the colleges, departments, and other units who like to do or work with on various projects and events.”

Despite the strides the country has made to create equality across the board, Addo-Yobo explained that there is still injustice and huge improvements need to be made in order for there to ever truly be equality.

“All these things are going on, so for me it’s a dynamic phenomenon that challenges the status quo and it has to keep on going. Human rights is not yet fulfilled in terms of child labor, sexuality, rape, and you know all these things that go on. So, I think it’s important that we realize that the job of equality is not yet finished,” Addo-Yobo said.Mar

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About the Writer
Ariana Parra, Staff Writer

Ariana Parra is an incoming freshman at NMSU and a first year staff writer for The Round Up. Ariana was born and raised in Las Cruces, NM and recently...

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MLK Day offers opportunity for NMSU students to reflect on King’s impact