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Bridgewater State University hosted its 25th annual Martin Luther King Day celebration, where members of the campus and surrounding communities gathered to celebrate the slain civil rights leader and, later in the day, give back to the community.
Each year, the day begins with a breakfast held in Flynn Dining Hall. Keynote speaker and Dr. Martin Luther King Distinguished Service Award recipient was Dr. Charles Desmond, chairman of the Massachusetts Board of Higher Education.
Dr. Desmond said the best way to honor Dr. King, who would have turned 83 yesterday, was to remember and emulate the unshakable determination he possessed despite being arrested more than 45 times and having many assassination threats leveled against him.
"Keeping King's legacy lies not in the dream he spoke about, but in the courageous actions he took," Dr. Desmond said as he used Dr. King as a jumping off point to discuss the importance of teaching the entire civil rights movement to school children not solely Dr. King's many accomplishments and the need to make higher education accessible to all.
"Education matters," he told the gathering. "And it's critically important that we recognize that."
The Distinguished Service Award is presented to those who have shown significant contributions to peace, education, race relations, justice and human rights.
BSU President Dana Mohler-Faria said we must emulate Dr. King's strive for equality and penchant for community service not only on the holiday, but every day moving forward. "This is about committing to changing the world, to stand up for the values that are important to us," he said. "Giving ourselves in any way that we can is critical."
Master of ceremonies was Sydne Martins of BSU's College of Education and Allied Studies. Musical selections were performed by local musical groups Love Divine and Living Water.
Since 2004, BSU's Community Service Center has honored the memory and legacy of Dr. King by spending the holiday volunteering at sites across Southeastern Massachusetts.
On the BSU campus, dozens of students and community members participated in several volunteer activities, including assembling care packages for local U.S. troops, creating jewelry for A New Day crisis center in Brockton, and assembling brown bag lunches for the Father Bill's and Mainspring homeless shelter in Brockton.
Additionally, a number of youth from Brockton Boys' and Girls' Club came to the campus to work on a variety of community projects under the direction of BSU students. (Rob Matheson, '07, University Advancement)
Bottom photo caption: Freshman Jennie Robinson (far right) of Dartmouth makes a beaded necklace to deliver to A New Day crisis center in Brockton. Beside her are freshmen Mia Mullaney of Willmington (far left) and Michayla O'Connor of Norton.
Watch Dr. Charles Desmond's full speech below.