Keeping the dream alive

CNJ staff photo: Liliana Castillo Dr. Marsha K. Hardeman reminded the attendees of the 2008 Martin Luther King Scholarship Breakfast that Dr. King’s message has to be passed on to new generations in order to be effective.

By Liliana Castillo: CNJ staff writer

Red, white and blue balloons hung in the air above the tables that filled the Clovis High School cafeteria from wall to wall, creating the mood of a celebration. A banner was draped across the back wall with large letters wishing “Happy Birthday” to Martin Luther King Jr.
Attendees of the 2008 Martin Luther King Scholarship Breakfast were regaled with bilingual gospel songs and a play entitled, “The Beast of Discrimination,” by students of the Arts Academy at Bella Vista.

The play depicted discrimination based on race, economics, disability and gender as four masked monsters wreaking havoc in common school settings.

And that was just the beginning.

Marsha K. Hardeman, who serves as the campus college chair of graduate business and management at the University of Phoenix, took the podium to speak to the attendees on the theme of the event: Remember, celebrate and act.

Hardeman began her speech by sharing what she remembered of civil rights movement, which was watching, on black and white TV, a police force beat to a pulp blacks and people of other races in front of the nation’s eyes. She remembers, but many have forgotten, she said.

“We have forgotten more in the last few years than people have lived over the past 100 years,” Hardeman said. “We need to remember to appreciate how far we’ve come.”

Hardeman’s speech revolved around a simple notion. Everyone must remember how things were to recognize how good it is now.

“The beast of discrimination has been with us for ages,” Hardeman said. “Without remembrance, we could fall back into the trap. If we forget about the atrocities of those before us, we ourselves, could perpetrate those atrocities.”

Hardeman emphasized the idea that King, and the thousands who sacrificed with him, would have sacrificed in vain, if future generations do not remember his actions, celebrate them and act upon them.

“Dr. King was a reverend before he was a doctor. And on that foundation his actions were based,” said Hardeman. “Remember, celebrate and have the courage to act on your faith and convictions. We shall overcome.”

Joyce Pollard, who works with the event’s sponsors, the MLK Jr. Commission in Clovis, said she was pleased with the turnout at the event.

“(This event is important) for our unity that we need to have as a community. We are striving for the peace and the dream of Dr. King, to keep them alive,” she said.