Ambassador Attallah Shabazz spoke Thursday at the Florida State University’s commemorative celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Robert Bryant, chair of the Martin Luther King Committee, said the university reached out to Ambassador Shabazz because it wanted to “take a step towards rallying the community to come together and having a solid message delivered.” Shabazz is the eldest daughter of activist the late El-Hajj Malik (Malcolm X).
Ambassador Shabazz began her speech asking for the spotlight to be removed from her and, to turn up the lights. Shabazz said, “I want to see the faces of my audience because I don’t want anyone thinking I’m shy or reserved.”
After having traveled on two small planes to finally make it to Tallahassee, she expresses gratitude for being in such a hospitable environment. Shabazz continued giving an anecdote of growing up in her home.
She said that her family was just like any other. Her mom woke her up in the morning, she went to school, came home and did homework repeating this daily. She knew her father was an icon but at her young age she didn’t grasp how much of an icon he was.
Throughout the ambassador’s speech, she mentioned her childhood, explaining that a strong family foundation made her into the person she is today.
She recounted the time during her late father’s movement where he went to visit Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in jail. She said her father and King embraced each other by touching foreheads through the prisons’ bars.
The gesture spoke volumes to the magnitude of their movement. It showed that both might come from different religious backgrounds but each ultimately wanted what was best for the movement. Both men understood that in order to achieve the major goal they needed to be there for one another.
Shabazz offered a challenge to the audience; to not remember the tragedy of King’s assassination but to remember his overall mission.”Achieve your best by any means necessary,” Shabazz said in her final words to the audience.
Shabazz’s speech resounded with Robert Bryant, the Assistant Director of Multicultural affairs.
“I took away from her speaking today, the idea of building a better community by not allowing our differences to separate us but to use those differences to bring us together and to uplift our community,” said Bryant, who also co-chaired the event.
In reference to Shabazz’s speech an attendee said, “I really like how she connected the past to the present and that we need to attribute the things that occurred in the past to build a better today.”
On Monday, Florida State’s Martin Luther King Committee will host a Day of Service starting at 8:30 am at various as-yet-undetermined locations around Tallahassee.