Community Spotlight: BSU Celebrates Martin Luther King Jr. With Ceremony
For Bemidji State University, Martin Luther King Jr. Day means more than a break from school: it’s a time to honor a great man and reflect on his message.
“He was a person who was an advocate for education and loved working with young people,” says Dr. Jesse Grant, dean of students at Bemidji State University.
Dr. Grant led this year’s program and says Dr. King has had a significant influence on his life.
“Knowing Dr. King as I did and having studied him, and had a number of experiences in my life around those particular areas; as a person who grew up with parents who marched with King and tell those stories with such delight and joy,” says Dr. Grant.
During the program, there were performances from the BSU Choir, a jazz band and a few emotional speeches from members of the Bemidji Boys and Girls Club.
“I knew a few things: one, Dr. Martin Luther King loved music! Two, his favorite song was “Precious Lord.” Three, a mantra of his life was, ‘If I Could Help Somebody’, so those were the songs that we sung today in our program.”
The concert happened last Thursday, but BSU wanted to make sure that Dr. King’s message was heard which was to spread love. They spent today, the actual Dr. Martin Luther King Day holiday, by having a day of service.
“Our students will be at four sites in the community: our food bank, they’ll be here on campus working with the United Way doing bag buddies, and then they’ll also be at the Boys and Girls Club doing various service projects there. So the important piece is to look at the life that you’re living and the work that you’re doing, and being able to be of service to someone,” says Dr. Grant.
A documentary about Dr. King’s life was shown on Friday so students could understand where he came from. Dr. Grant says he hopes the entire city of Bemidji will spread the civil rights leader’s message today.
“It’s an opportunity for you to sit back and reflect on those particular pieces, and so, it’s not a situation of ‘this person has and this person doesn’t have’, but it’s how is it that we as a community can look at improving what’s here in Bemidji, Minnesota: making sure that people feel welcomed, people feel embraced and people feel supported.”
Nearly 50 BSU Students participated in the day of service today.