The MLK Dinner and Jazz event took place on Martin Luther King day in the lobby of the Shaw center. Campus minister, Matt Frizzell, said he was hoping enough people would come, and was pleasantly surprised when the event was sold out quickly. In the planning of the event only 100 spots were supposed to be available for the dinner and presentations. By the time the event started 130 people had registered, were in attendance and were ready to share in a memorable night. The guests took their seats at the circle tables, sitting with good company made up of friends, family, and friendly faces. A few students provided some entertaining jazz music to set the mood of the evening.
Matt gave a nice speech after everyone was settled about Dr. King’s vision for the world, not only in his fight against racism, but also against economic inequality. He encouraged the guests to make donations to help pay for the dinner, because all of the tickets were free. Then everyone enjoyed some delicious buffet style food provided Sodexo.
After everyone had finished eating, Matt introduced two students to come up and share some of their experiences. He asked them two questions: 1) What is your experience with race on campus? 2) What do you see as opportunities for greater understanding and reconciliation? Each student shared a wonderful testimony. The first student who talked was Davin McKinney, a football player from Syracuse, NY. He shared about how he sees the different races separated in the Commons, and how we need to have more opportunities for students to participate with each other. Then Kareemah Burns presented a beautiful poem that she wrote. It was a message of peace for the world.
The evening was a success. We all got the chance to come together and appreciate what Dr. King did in his life. Even now, years after his death, his wonderful message of peace still has a profound impact on our lives. It was the first of many annual dinners which will occur every year on Martin Luther King Day.