AACC hosts 37th MLK Jr. annual remembrance

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Photo courtesy of Maya Turnipseed

Mary Kane, Co-Editor

A health and public policy specialist urged an audience at AACC on Jan. 15 to follow Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s guidance to drive hate and racism from society.

Quoting the civil rights leader, Dr. Gail C. Christopher, who spoke at the 37th annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Breakfast, said: “Darkness cannot drive out darkness. Only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate. Only love can do that.”

In a pre-speech interview with Campus Current, Christopher said King “was an inspiration to me even as a child. I grew up during the civil rights era and so we did not have a lot of African-American heroes, so he was particularly important to me.”

She added: “What I have always loved about Dr. King is how he stood for love and how he stood for peace and how he had the courage to take a stand on an unpopular opinion when he stood against the Vietnam war.”

Christopher said she has “made my life work focused on” King’s stand on “peace and for the value of human life.”

Christopher, a former senior adviser and vice president for the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, created and oversaw the organization’s Truth, Racial Healing and Transformation program, which addresses the historic and contemporary effects of racism.

“All of my life I have designed social programs to help bring about social justice and have been privileged to have an influence on major change efforts in the country,” Christopher said. She said the program was inspired by King’s work and life values.

Christopher said her work—and the AACC breakfast—honor King’s legacy and “celebrate our interconnected nature as one human family.”

She urged the audience to “get rid of the ideas of suppressing any race or group so those ideas are not reignited in our society.”

In the interview, Christopher advised students to “step up and help to define the landscape of this new information era that we are in, making sure that it has integrity, making sure that it is heathy for our democracy. We need you to step up and have values that supersede the immediate opportunity for profit.”

Christopher added: “You are the future of our country. You have inherited one of the most challenging times.”