Commissioner calls for leaders

Words of wisdom, passionate speeches and a call to action were given at the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. convocation on Thursday in Gaither Gymnasium.

Keynote speaker Andrew Gillum, a city commissioner and FAMU alumnus, explained to students that they were exceptional leaders and charged them to make a difference at FAMU and in their communities, nation and world.

“Even when you think you’ve done all that you can, there’s still much more,” he urged.

Reminding students of the many civil rights battles that were fought for blacks in the 1960s, Gillum shared the story of Fannie Lou Hamer, the Mississippi freedom fighter famous for her words, “I’m sick and tired of being sick and tired.”

Gillum also expressed the need and importance of voting.

“We don’t have to battle the constant harassment, or blowing up of our homes,” he said. “By what authority do we have to give up the right to vote?”

Students were inspired by Gillum’s speech and were influenced by his message.

“I thought it was very inspiring,” said Dana Jennings.”I think his accomplishments are uplifting for the students and they give us something to look forward to as far as giving back to the community,” said Jennings, a 21-year-old senior psychology student from Montgomery, Ala.

Gillum said that King’s dream of equality is being made manifest through the growing rates of blacks entering college. He also said that students have a responsibility to demonstrate loyalty to the university and to accept personal contributions to the problems that exist.

Octavias Daniels, an 18-year-old freshman political science student from Gainesville said that attending convocation motivated him to volunteer in the Tallahassee community and to encourage his peers to do the same.

“It inspired me to do more and give back to my community. I can start volunteering and putting service hours in at the residential neighborhoods in Tallahassee,” Daniels stated.

Shelly Stephens, a 20-year-old junior biology major from Columbia, S.C., felt that Gillum’s call for students to do more was appropriate.

“I think that was good because a lot of students just come to FAMU then leave, instead of coming to make it better for the students that are here and those who are to come,” said Stephens.

Gillum closed his message by encouraging students to look beyond perceived limitations and to constantly pursue the goal of making a lasting impact.

“All you need is a brain to think with, a heart to love and care with, and a will to make a difference.

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