The cold, rainy day did not stop students, faculty and staff of Florida A&M University and the surrounding community from attending the annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Convocation in Jake Gaither Gymnasium.
The convocation was scheduled to honor the life and legacy of King’s victory in civil rights while also giving recognition to community and campus leaders for exemplifying his dreams.
The ceremony featured nationally renown attorney Benjamin Crump as keynote speaker.
Imani Cooper, a third-year biological systems engineering student from Charlotte, NC, started the program by offering a warm welcome to say how significant King is to the community and FAMU.
“It is not only that our peers attend an institute located right here on Martin Luther King Boulevard — for this is a place where we continue his legacy and create leaders in honor of him,” Cooper said.
Crump, a familiar attorney and advocate for civil rights and social justice expressed his message on King’s well known “Letter from Birmingham City Jail” to motivate students and people of all ages to use “what they have” to stand up for justice.
As Crump approached the lectern, he expressed the feeling of being at home.
“It feels good to be home, there is nothing like a Rattler family. It is your FAMU friends that will be there in the end,” Crump said.
Crump began his speech by taking a moment of silence to honor the fallen Rattlers: students Alfred Motlow III and Anya Brown second year engineering students who recently died from a car accident.
He said FAMU students are today’s leaders and titled his speech “where do you stand?”
“If you don’t stand for something, then you stand for nothing. You have to stand up and speak up for injustice. We need the spirit of MLK.” Crump said.
After the powerful word of encouragement, there was an uplifting performance by James Moran, who recited King’s famous speech “I Have A Dream.” Soon after, the audience stood together in unison to sing the Civil Rights Anthem “We Shall Overcome.”
As the ceremony came to an end, FAMU President Larry Robinson gave closing remarks with assurance that FAMU will be the example of King’s legacy.
“I believe this institution laid a foundation to success,” Robinson said. “For this is the place where we create leaders.”