At the 17th Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Commemoration, students had the opportunity to hear from the expertise of Ambassador Andrew Young on the subject of “The Journey Forward.”
Young talked about the journey that he took in the past with Dr. King. He spoke of the wars that the U.S. has been involved in. He mentioned that many of those wars could have been avoided through communication and understanding of the other side of the conversation.
He also talked about how the “I have a Dream” speech was really referring to the gap between the rich and poor.
Young stated that the journey that this generation must undertake is that of overcoming poverty. He mentioned that education, being the foundation of what creates a better society, should not leave graduates crippled by debt, but free to expand the wealth of the country.
“I thought his speech was very insightful and I agree that sometimes students pay way too much tuition,” said student Steven Anderson.
After his keynote address, Young answered questions from the audience among which the topics of immigration and violence against members of Congress were brought up.
In speaking of immigration, Young said that immigration cannot be stopped, but it can be reduced through the creation of jobs in the countries from which people are fleeing.
Concerning the violence against members of Congress, he said that people should talk about the issues and refer to the issues instead of labeling them with the name of the people promoting it.
To this effect, student Gwen Anderson said, “It’s so rare that you would find somebody that has gone through all the oppression, negativity and death and have him come out so spiritual, so positive, so proud to be an American, so knowledgeable about history and to look at it so objectively without dividing people.”
Nonviolence is productive and society is making progress as it goes from wars in which millions die to wars in which only thousands die, which is still hard, but better.
Following the keynote address and the book signing, Ambassador Young joined students, faculty and community members in a luncheon, where students had the opportunity to converse with him on topics ranging from family issues to addressing foreign policy issues.
“He really enlightened me on going out there and not giving up. I just enjoyed how much he opened up to us on a personal level and spoke like a regular person” said student Daniel Gray.