“A Night of Reflection” promotes diversity during MLK week

When the Multi-Cultural Academic Student Services (MASS) were planning “A Night of Reflection” they were not expecting the outcome of the event. Only anticipating around 50 people, there were over 150 students and faculty in attendance.

On Thursday, January 19, at 6 p.m., there was a full house in the Center of Inclusion and Diversity to listen to some original poetry as a part of Central Michigan University’s Martin Luther King Jr. weeklong celebration. With 12 students and faculty members performing, they conveyed messages ranging from love to racial tension.

“(MLK) was the gateway to the civil rights, black people getting their rights, being heard, and being treated equally,” said Makaia Smith, a sophomore from Kankakee, Illinois. “(Attending this event) allowed me to hear other people’s opinions on (MLK) and civil rights. We all have our own opinions but we must hear what other people think to have an open mind.”

Jonathan B. Glenn, the Assistant Director of MASS, organized and ran the event. He invited two freshmen Multi-Cultural Advancement (MAC) Scholars, freshman Tre’Von Rucker from Grand Rapids and freshman Sammy Cole from Chicago, to help him organize the event. Glenn said they were able to recruit students and faculty to perform through email, word of mouth, and flyers. Glenn, Rucker, and Cole were among the 12 performers during the event, reading original poems they wrote.

“(In my poem) ‘More Like MLK’ that poem was to speak upon the different struggles that African Americans or any minority deals with on a daily basis,” said Rucker. “It’s not just African Americans who are struggling. I also wanted to point out in (my second poem) ‘My Hands are Up’ to my African American community that we cannot just simply blame other races for our downfall when they contribute to it. When they hear that from other people who are not of our color they don’t really comprehend it by the way it’s as expressed but as an African American man I feel like it is my place to tell them if we want a change, we have to start with ourselves.”

Among the performers, Marceil Davis, the Academic Advisor for the Pathway to Student Success Program, was also able to share his thoughts and poetry during the event. He was also able to perform at the MLK march earlier this week but said that he was nervous because of the anticipation and the amount of people.

“I was glad to see everyone (at the Night of Reflection),” Davis said. It’s always energizing to hear people share their poetry, share their thoughts, and share their feelings. This is why I do the work that I do and love to be around students because they are full of their dreams and passions. They want to change the world and they do.”