Boston College students, faculty, and staff gathered Jan. 25 in remembrance of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. as a part of an annual Memorial Gathering organized by BC Campus Ministry. Consisting of a combination of music, dance and spoken addresses, students and university administration representatives honored MLK’s life and the peaceful actions he incited in the fight for equality and freedom.
Following a march that preceded the gathering, the event highlighted the efforts that MLK and other civil rights activists dedicated their lives to while inspiring others with the hope of the continuance and revival of that dream.
Musical guest, the Voices of Freedom, included a collaboration between BC’s own acappella groups, Against the Current and BEATS, the Liturgy Arts Group, and the Voices of Imani. Under the leadership of David Freeman Coleman, the Director of Choral Music at the Dana Hall School in Wellesley as well as an active member in many other theater and gospel music throughout New England, the Voices of Freedom performed several audience inclusive songs that reflected the theme of the night’s event: Are We Still Dreaming?
The event continued with several performances by members of the Soul Type BC students, highlighting the current racial prejudice that permeates through American society. Themes of mass incarceration, police brutality, and institutional racism were just a few of the topics covered. “Listening to the spoken word performances really struck me as I had never really experienced that art form prior to attending last night’s event,” Alex Moran, MCAS ’19. said. “I think it is important that we commemorate such a powerful leader and remind ourselves of his dream. The various speakers, musicians, and other artists continuously reiterated the truth that MLK’s dream is not yet fully accomplished and we need to continue our efforts in attaining that dream.”
Chosen as the keynote speaker, Brittany Packnett, an activist, educator, and the Executive Director of Teach for America: St. Louis, spoke of her personal struggles with harnessing the courage to speak out for justice and how that affected her active involvement in protests around the country. She encouraged the audience to continue dreaming as the work that MLK set out to complete is not yet finished. When asked about the personal impact of Packnett’s speech, Moran added, “All of the words said throughout the night focused on the theme of the continuance of MLK’s dream. While I saw many individuals speak of this dream and encourage its widespread fruition, it was Brittany Packnett who fully encompassed everything that MLK’s dream stood for: justice, equality, and above all, peace.”