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3rd Annual Leadership & Legacy of MLK returns

People+take+their+seats+in+the+Parkway+Ballroom+as+Lamont+Sellers+begins+his+discussion+on+Martin+Luther+King+Jr.+on+Jan.+24%2C+2024.+%E2%80%9CThe+time+is+always+right+to+do+what+is+right%E2%80%9D+is+a+quote+said+by+King+himself.+
Hayden Wittenborn
People take their seats in the Parkway Ballroom as Lamont Sellers begins his discussion on Martin Luther King Jr. on Jan. 24, 2024. “The time is always right to do what is right” is a quote said by King himself.

The March on Washington was only expecting 100,000 attendees, but more than twice that number attended according to History.com’s website. 

“King’s ‘I Have a Dream’ speech now stands out as one of the 20th century’s most unforgettable moments,” says History.com’s website.

Intercultural Student Affairs teamed up with Community-Engaged Leadership Jan. 24 to host the third annual Leadership & Legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. workshop in Plemmons Student Union. 

“While his message has transcended generations, we are still talking about it today. He really had put his life on the line literally for what he believed in. He truly was a radical leader,” said Lamont Sellers, director of the Office of Intercultural Student Affairs. “All the great things that he was able to accomplish and do in his short time on this earth, we need to recognize that as well.”

Along with important discussions, dinner was served during the event. The staff made fried chicken, stewed greens, sweet potatoes, cornbread and pecan pie which was reportedly Martin Luther King Jr.’s favorite meal. Photos taken on Jan. 24, 2024. (Hayden Wittenborn)

According to the Engage post, “individuals will understand how MLK led and inspired the Civil Rights movement, and will be able to incorporate his leadership into their own practice.” 

Sellers was the main speaker at this event. The event had over 60 attendees of both students and staff members sitting at 10 tables with one App State community-engaged leadership staff member hosting the table.

Some of Martin Luther King Jr.’s favorite foods like pecan pie and fried chicken were available for attendees to snack on while conversing with others.

“When planning a few years ago for celebrating Dr. King’s birthday, we were trying to figure out what to do and I had sat down with some of my colleagues, and as we talked we realized we would love to do a leadership workshop,” said Sellers. “I suggested why don’t we have his favorite meal as a collaboration conjunction with that, because Dr. King loved to eat.”

Sellers opened up the event by welcoming everyone into the room and reciting the land acknowledgment at App State. 

While attendees ate, they moved into an activity with blue tabletop cards with phrases like, “If MLK Jr. were alive today, what do you think he would be most proud to see? Why?” 

This question brought up many different discussions to the tables as many participants seemed to agree while others may have disagreed. Sellers said it was encouraging to listen to the hum of the room with all the conversations happening. 

Having a beloved community was mentioned several times in this event.

“His references to the beloved community and world house, captured his vision of connection and inclusion within the human community,” Sellers said.

The attendees then picked up excerpts of King’s writings and speeches, to talk about in their table groups. They then drew on a piece of white paper placed in the middle of their tables, representing the excerpts they had read.

The groups then moved on to more topic cards with phrases on them like, “It is important to recognize that MLK Jr. was not the only leader of the Civil Rights Movement. Who else do you know of and admire for their work during this time?” 

This wrapped up the table discussions and moved back to Sellers.

Guests gather around a table to draw pictures representing quotes from MLK speeches. This group worked together to discuss ideas for this drawing. Photo taken on Jan. 24, 2024. (Hayden Wittenborn)

“The point of this is, not to just leave this here, it’s to take this with you and keep those conversations going but not just the conversations, but the action that goes with it. Continue to live our Dr. King’s legacy,” Sellers said.

Freshman sustainable development major David Bass is one student who participated.

“I did enjoy this event quite a bit. I thought it was incredibly important to recognize Martin Luther King Jr.’s work, as well as invite productive conversations from students and faculty alike,” Bass said. 

Bass said he felt as a school, App State needs to understand that what most of King did brought communities together.

Bass was not the only attendee who enjoyed this event. 

“I thought that it brought more interpersonal dynamics for this evening’s event. It allowed us to have an opportunity to learn about what we didn’t know and be able to see a different perspective from one another,” said Myesha Sellers, the Division of Student Affairs information desk manager.

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About the Contributors
Adrianna Rice
Adrianna Rice, Reporter
Adrianna Rice (she/her) is a freshman elementary education major with a concentration in exceptional learners from Wake Forest, NC. This is her first year writing for The Appalachian.
Hayden Wittenborn
Hayden Wittenborn, Photographer
Hayden Wittenborn (she/her) is a junior Advertising major, Business minor, from Cary, N.C. This is her first year with The Appalachian.
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