Our guest columnist for this week is senior Rosalyce Broadous-Brown, current president of SPIRIT. The following is an excerpt from her speech read last Monday in commemoration of the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday. Her message reflects our philosophy and offers a standard against which we must all measure ourselves. As we look to the spring semester and to our futures, let us reflect on our many gifts and the ways in which we can make a difference by never giving up.
I feel confident in saying that, if given the opportunity, many of us would love to thank Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. for something. If Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was around today, I would be content to thank him for one single act. I would thank him simply because he kept going.
Many of us come to the conclusion that after we’ve done a great deed, we’ve earned the right to look the other way when there is another problem to be solved, making us complacent. While being a Carnegie Mellon student, I’ve learned many lessons. As my senior year comes to a close, the lesson that sticks out in my mind is that great things don’t happen because you start something. They happen because you purpose not to stop.
I believe that understanding a problem and not actively seeking opportunities to become a part of the solution is also complacency. If Martin Luther King had operated in that manner, he could easily still be waiting for civil rights to be handed out to everyone, and we might still be suffering the consequences.
Oftentimes Martin Luther King is praised as if he did a single great thing, and it changed all of our lives. In reality it was every meeting with government officials, every church gathering, every protest, and every speech that made him great.
We each miss out on opportunities when we choose to be complacent. We miss out on opportunities to help others, and we miss out on opportunities to help ourselves. I believe it isn’t wise to miss out on a chance to help someone, because you may be his or her only opportunity. You may be their only chance at a meal, their only chance at learning to read, or their only chance at knowing that their future can be better than their past.
Martin Luther King worked and fought so hard because he believed, with all of his heart, in the idea of a better future. The more we begin to believe in the idea that there is a better future for anyone who seeks it, the more Dr. King’s dream will become a tangible reality that continues to positively impact lives for generations to come.