Harmony and Wisdom: LC’s Inspiring MLK Commemoration Embraces Education and Equity 

Harmony and Wisdom: LC’s Inspiring MLK Commemoration Embraces Education and Equity 

By Alex Hartmann and Jeannette Carrington 


Lewis and Clark Community College honored Martin Luther King, Jr. during its annual MLK Commemoration event on Jan. 25. The celebration was well-attended by LC students, faculty, and staff, in addition to many community members.  

The celebration began with a vocal performance by the group Blancas led by Brenda Lancaster of the LC Music Department. They started with the piece “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” which is known as the Black National Anthem. They encouraged the entire audience to join the anthem and continued to perform throughout the commemoration.  

Student speakers followed the Blancas by reading speeches, sermons, and essays originally spoken by King in his lifetime.  

The readings began with Jamese Morrissette and Kamiah Newby reading “What is Your Life’s Blueprint?” In this eloquent speech, King emphasized three essential components for creating a meaningful life: self-worth, determination, and a commitment to duty, love, and justice. 

Brandon Hayes Jr. followed by reading King’s essay, “The Purpose of Education.” In this essay, King eloquently discusses the multifaceted role of education in shaping individuals and society, arguing that education has both a utilitarian and moral function. 

The readings concluded with Madi Boullion reading from King’s sermon titled “The Drum Major Instinct.” The sermon describes the drum major’s instinct as a desire to be at the forefront, to lead the parade, and to seek recognition and prominence. In a poignant moment, Dr. King imagines his own funeral and requests that he be remembered as a “drum major for justice, a drum major for peace, and a drum major for righteousness.” 

Mya Lawrence, Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusive Excellence, shared how this year’s celebration has the theme of education and equity. She introduced Al Womack, the keynote speaker for this year’s celebration, who has been the director of the Boys & Girls Club of Alton for 26 years. Womack also serves the larger community through several roles, including Alton Community School District #11 School Board member, Alton Housing Authority Commissioner, Illinois Alliance of Boys & Girls Clubs Board of Directors and Government Relations Committee member, Birth to Three Advisory Board member, OSF – St. Anthony’s Hospital Community Assessment Team member, and Alton Community School District Wall of Fame Committee member. 

“Equality focuses on the many and equity focuses on the individuals,” Al Womack said. “From an equality standpoint, let’s say I get everyone in this room a pair of shoes. Equality would make sure everyone got a pair and equity would be you get a pair of shoes that would fit. Equity is vital to education.” 

Martin Luther King, Jr. says that education equips individuals with the necessary tools and skills to achieve their life goals efficiently. Beyond mere efficiency, education must cultivate character and moral development. It should empower critical intellect with humane purposes.” 

Education is the fusion of intelligence and character that leads future generations to reaching true enlightenment and leaving a positive impact on society. 

The MLK Commemoration is an annual event that serves as a prelude to Black History Month. To learn more about L&C’s ongoing efforts in diversity, equity, and inclusion, please contact Director Mya Lawrence at mylawrence@lc.edu. 

For information about L&C’s upcoming Black History Month events, please contact Jared Hennings, the Student Activities Coordinator, at jhenning@lc.edu. 

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