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Inspiring speech begins Black History Celebration

Houston Memorial Chapel was packed Wednesday night as Randolph College students, faculty, staff, and community members gathered to celebrate the legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr.


Khaliah L. Brown-Dean gives the keynote address at Randolph’s 2015 Martin Luther King, Jr., celebration.

“This occasion gives us an opportunity to pause and reflect on the fight to make life better and equal for all of us, not only decades ago, but today and in this moment,” said Hermina Hendricks, Randolph’s director of multicultural services. “Therefore, all of us today, this evening are a result of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s, vision for the black community.”

The service kicked off Randolph’s 2015 Black History Celebration with an inspiring keynote address titled “When Dreaming is not Enough: reclaiming the fierce urgency of now” by Khaliah L. Brown-Dean, a nationally-known and respected expert on the American criminal justice system.

In light of recent events in Ferguson, Missouri, and New York, Brown-Dean reminded the audience that Dr. King’s dream has not been realized. “Too many of us have become comfortable and complacent,” said Brown-Dean. “We sit by and allow Dr. King’s words to be taken out of practice and even abused for narrow political agendas.”

Giving several examples of racism that are still prevalent in today’s society, Brown-Dean expressed the urgent need for collective political action. “We now have to face the fact that tomorrow is today,” she said. “Dream requires voices and actions.”

The Service ended with a standing ovation for Brown-Dean’s lecture that lasted for almost a minute. “While her message is for all of us, it is especially beneficial for our students,” said Hendricks. “It is their world. It is their time.”

Cale Holmes ’16, a global studies major and co-organizer of a recent Black Lives Matter demonstration in Lynchburg, was greatly moved by the message. “Dr. Khalilah Brown-Dean gave a profound and intellectually impactful commentary on what the legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr.,  really means,” said Holmes. “The points on Ferguson were well spoken and much needed at a time when public consciousness about violence in communities of color has been aroused.”


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