Last Thursday in Love Auditorium, Colgate welcomed William S. Tod Professor of Religion and African American Studies at Princeton University Eddie S. Glaude Jr. as the Martin Luther King, Jr. (MLK) Keynote Address speaker. Glaude is the chair of the Center for African American Studies at Princeton University, as well as a senior fellow at The Jamestown Project at Harvard University, which is a “think tank of new leaders who reach across boundaries and generations to make democracy real” according to the organization’s website. He has also written several award-winning books.
Professor Glaude’s lecture was centered on “the power of young folk.” Glaude explained how he believes young people in America no longer have the message that Martin Luther King Jr. preached ingrained in their actions. The event brought out a large group of students and faculty, filling the auditorium almost to capacity.
Glaude shared his ideas on how passive the new generation has been and how he believes that because of our own self-interests and distractions, such as material possessions, we no longer possess much of Dr. King’s influence and message.
“We must orient ourselves to the greatness of our past,” Glaude said. “We, right now, Americans of all colors, must discover our mission.”
Professor Glaude addressed his feelings on young people in America, stressing that they need to not only come together as a collective, but also to use their skills in a positive way moving forward.
“Young people must take their ability to multitask, their technology, their swag, etc., to create the movement of now,” he said. “Today is our day to make history and to transform the world.”
Assistant Dean of Multicultural Affairs and the Director of African, Latin, Asian & Native American (ALANA) Cultural Center and International Services Thomas A. Cruz- Soto was instrumental in bringing Professor Glaude to campus.
“I’ve been working on getting him here for two years now,” Cruz- Soto said. “We’re really lucky to have him.”
MLK week has served as a kind of kickoff for Black History Month in the past at Colgate.
“Every year, the Cultural Center takes charge of the events,” Cruz- Soto said. “I believe that this year’s MLK week has been one of the best years so far at Colgate.”
In an effort to make the festivities more integrated into life on campus, Cruz-Soto and others involved in organizing the MLK week events also reached out to other departments, including Women’s Studies, and other key faculty members.
“They’ve been fantastic and have brought their students and research into MLK week,” Cruz-Soto said.
He also explained what those who helped put on the festivities surrounding MLK hoped to accomplish.
“The goal has been to expose students to diversity, gender, religion and race diversity. It’s mainly to expose students to all walks of life, acceptance over tolerance,” Cruz-Soto said.
Cruz-Soto expressed his concerns with Colgate’s openness to diversity dialogues.
“Race is always an issue,” he said. “Colgate students are so bright, but as far as complete tolerance, I don’t know if we’re there yet. I think this can be a great breeding ground to expose ignorance so people can talk, so they aren’t stigmatized for a certain belief.”
Contact Amanda Golden at [email protected]