by Anna Johnson, January 11, 2012
The change America needs isn’t going to be easy, cheap or comfortable, and it will not come without controversy.
Boyce Watkins, the keynote speaker at the Martin Luther King Jr. Commemorative Program, urged students, faculty, staff and community members to take action and follow through on King’s ideals and values instead of just talking about them.
"We have got to get real when we are talking about the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King," he said to a packed Whitley Auditorium. "You have got to truly understand what it means to celebrate this mans life. We have to earn the right to honor Dr. King."
Students will have to take control of diversity on campus and embrace it, Watkins said.
Many people want to like look Brad Pitt but don’t want to exercise, or want to get paid like a brain surgeon but don’t want to go to medical school, Watkins said. And the same goes for increasing diversity. There is one fundamental truth, he said, and that is you get back what you put out.
"So if we respect Dr. King we must also respect what he stood for," Watkins said. "Many of us already feel that way. I am not pointing a finger at this university. I am going to speak at other universities and I am going to say ‘Whoa, y’all are doing things differently.’ You guys are trying so hard. I am going to encourage you and help you understand that you are doing the right things. But then at the same time you have to do more of the right things. You celebrate Dr. King by pursuing the ideas and values that he left us, that is how you keep Dr. King alive."