Chemeketa’s MLK Celebration on Jan. 29 was an event of music, history and challenges.
The music was courtesy of two local musicians. Rich McCloud is well known as a solo artist in the Salem music scene and provided several acoustic pieces. Chemeketa student Anthony Dixon also performed, doing an a cappella version of freedom song “O Freedom” and a rendition of Bob Dylan’s “The Times They Are a-Changin’”. Student Jessica Sabrowski also read a poem.
The challenge was provided by Taylor Marrow, a history instructor at the college. Specifally, Marrow challenged of, after celebrating Dr. King, to get down to doing what he strove for in life.
“We as individuals should accept the challenge of being a leader,” Marrow said.
The event’s keynote speaker, Millie Harmon, provided the history.
Harmon, an Army veteran who was the first African-American to be hired at Chemeketa as a full-time instructor, talked about the many sacrifices women made during the civil rights movement and how many of them are not as well-known as their male counterparts. A point she demonstrated by asking people to name female civil rights leaders.
“By and large, people come up with Rosa Parks and they’re done,” Harmon said.
Harmon talked about more than ten different women who served valuable roles in the civil right movement, including Dorothy Height, Mamie Till, Daisy Lampkin and Mahalia Jackson.
“I submit there are lots of women who had they not been there doing their part, we wouldn’t be where we are today,” Harmon said.
The celebration was sponsored by Chemeketa’s Multicultural Student Services.