BLACK HISTORY MONTH AT GSU

By Raven LeDay

GSU Lyceum Committee Black History Month Speaker - Feb. 21, 11am T.H. Harris AuditoriumStudents, faculty, staff and community members are invited to join Grambling State University for Black History Month activities and events as the institution reflects, recognizes and honors contributions of African Americans who have shaped the nation’s economic, political, cultural and social landscape.

Grambling State University’s Black History Month activities include thought-provoking  programs, fun history events and interactive black history opportunities.

The highlight of the month is GSU Lyceum Committee’s guest, multifaceted journalist, Roland S. Martin, host of News One Now on TV One and a syndicated national columnist with Creators Syndicate.

BLACK HISTORY MONTH ACTIVITIES AND EVENTS

Tuesday, Feb. 7 – “Brick by Brick”
Time: 7 p.m.
Location: T.L. James Building, Room 153, Grambling State University
Happenings: Brief history of behind campus building names

Wednesday, Feb. 8 – FSUB Trivia Game Night
Time: 6 p.m.
Location: Favrot Student Union, Black and Gold Room, Grambling State University
Happenings: Test your knowledge of black history

Thursday, Feb. 9 – SGA Scavenger Hunt
Time: 11 a.m.- 1 p.m.
Location: TBD

Thursday, Feb. 16 – “History of Black History”
Time: 7 p.m.
Location: Betty E. Smith Nursing Building, Room 177, Grambling State University
Happenings: Learn the history of Black History Month and its importance in today’s society

Monday, Feb. 20
Film Viewing and Discussion: “Frederick Douglass: When the Lion Wrote History”
Location: Betty E. Smith Nursing Building, Room 212
Time: 3 p.m.

Monday, Feb. 20-24
Kinesiology, Sports, and Leisure Studies History Display
Location: Fredrick C. Hobdy Assembly Center

Tuesday, Feb. 21 – Keynote Speaker Roland S. Martin
Time: 11 a.m.
Location: T.H. Harris Auditorium, Grambling State University
Happenings: Keynote address by Roland S. Martin 

Thursday, Feb. 21 – Masters of Social Work Black History Month Program
Event Date: 6 p.m.
Location: Betty E. Smith Nursing Building Auditorium, Grambling State University

Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Inc. “Black Jeopardy” Game Show
Time: 7 p.m.
Location: Betty E. Smith Nursing Building, Room 177, Grambling State University

School of Nursing: “History of Black Nurses in the 19th and 20th Century”
Location: Betty E. Smith Nursing Building, Room 240
Time: 1:30 p.m.-12:30 p.m. and 3 p.m.-4 p.m.
Happenings: Keynote Speaker Sharon Muriff

Student Presentations and the Influential Community Social Worker Award Presentation
Location: Favrot Student Union, Black and Gold Room
Time: 6 p.m.

Thursday, Feb. 23 – Black History Month March
Time: 11 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Location: Route will start at Clubhouse on R. W. E. Jones Drive and end at the Eddie the Fighting Tiger sculpture on the quad in front of Long-Jones Hall, across from the Eddie Robinson Museum and Grambling Hall

Location: Betty E. Smith Nursing Building, Auditorium
Time: 11 a.m.
Happenings: Keynote speaker Gregory Bridges

Friday, Feb. 24 – History of Jazz
Location: Performing Arts Center, Recital Hall
Time: 10 a.m.

Saturday, Feb. 25 Black History Month with Curriculum and Instruction, the Links Inc.
Happenings: Preparing Males for Manhood: The African Experience
Time: Saturday, February 25, 1 p.m.-1:45 p.m.
Location: To Be Determined

Happenings: Featured Presenters Dr. Lemmy Akoma, professor of political science and public administration, and Dr. Fabian Nabangi, professor of political science and public administration
Time: 2 p.m.-3 p.m.
Event: Preparing library books for shipment to St. Mary’s School library in Montego Bay, Jamaica, a community service project for high school males from select area high schools
Location: To Be Determined

“Preparing Males for Manhood: The African Experience”
Location: Favrot Student Union
Time: 1 p.m. – 1:45 p.m.

Preparation for shipping books to Jamaica
Location: Favrot Student Union
Time: 2 p.m.-3 p.m.

Roland Martin Black History Month Speech

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GSU PRESIDENT: ‘DO THE RIGHT THING,’ STUDY

Gallot urges freshmen to stay focused on academics, stay away from illegal activity

By SARAH-RENEE GARNER
GSU Media Bureau

GSU President Rick GallotGrambling State University President Rick Gallot told a group of GSU students to focus on their studies without participating in illegal activities.

“You did not come here to sell weed,” said Gallot, an alum and longtime attorney who has represented a variety of clients in court.

Gallot, the 10th president of Grambling State, addressed 600 First Year Experience (FYE) students at the T.H. Harris Auditorium on Tuesday (Jan. 31), going into some depth about the obligations Grambling State students have to themselves and obligations GSU faculty and staff have to the students. He shared several ideas, and focused on three key points: go to class, do good work and hold Grambling to a high standard.

The president said students should focus on what it takes to graduate, and that means “begin with the end in mind.”

Students who fail to follow the president’s three basic rules will suffer consequences, he said. If a student chooses not to attend class and not to do good academic work, money will be wasted, grades will likely drop and those students will not get the best jobs in their fields, the president said. In addition, if a student chooses not to show Grambling State in a positive manner, those students will be subject to expulsion — and the value of the university’s degrees diminish.

Students and FYE instructors enjoyed Gallot’s tough love talk.

“President Gallot was very relatable,” said Lesli Woods, 18, a music education major from Columbia, Missouri. “He got very deep and real with us, especially with the drug dealing comment. He addressed real issues in our class and in the Grambling community.”

Billy Booker, 19, a marketing major from Houston, Texas, said the president “really reminded me how much I want to be one of those alumni who gets their degree and comes to give back to Grambling.”

Arlissia Giles, 19, a marketing major from LaPlace, Louisiana, appreciated Gallot’s candor, and one other thing: “He was short, sweet, simple and to the point.”

Brittany Hoskin, Coordinator of the Grambling Achievement Program and FYE instructor, said she hopes the president’s talk sticks with the students as they matriculate through college.  “I like the fact that he reinforced what we do in the FYE classroom and the expectations that we have for the students as well as the expectations that the students should have from the faculty and staff,” said Hoskins, a native of Tchula, Mississippi, who has taught FYE classes since spring 2012.

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GSU HOSTS 600 FBLA STUDENTS

Hundreds of Future Business Leaders of America middle and high school students attend daylong conference at GSU

By STEPHANIE LINDSEY
GSU Media Bureau 

Terry Walker Jr., senior at Homer High School and David Robinson, the FBLA District 1 state committee representative will lead the FBLA District 1 Conference at GSU

Terry Walker Jr., senior at Homer High School and David Robinson, the FBLA District 1 state committee representative will lead the FBLA District 1 Conference at GSU

Terry Walker Jr. seems every bit a shy teenager, quiet and composed. But the Homer, Louisiana, native is quite accomplished.

Walker, a senior at Homer High School, plays power forward for his school’s basketball team, the Pelicans. He is a member of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.  He maintains a 3.2 GPA.  He is vice president of District 1 of the Future Business Leaders of America in Louisiana (FBLA), a national student business organization that aims to equip middle and high school students with the skills necessary for careers in business.

He will lead his district conference at Grambling State University Thursday (Feb. 2) when 600 middle school and high school students converge upon Fredrick C. Hobdy Assembly Center for their annual District 1 Conference.  “As vice president of District 1 it is my job to lead, keep things in order …,” said Walker, who plans to attend Grambling State University as a business major.

Ellen Smiley, GSU’s interim provost and vice president for academic affairs, said the university is excited to have the opportunity to host hundreds of FBLA students. “Grambling State University, like other higher education institutions promote the “town and gown” relationship,” she said. “We embrace a culture that unites us with the community towards common goals. …  To host this group of energized competitive scholars is an honor within itself.”

Columbia University’s Hamden L. Forkner founded the group in 1932. In 1947, the first Louisiana chapter was established at Natchitoches High School. In 1950, Louisiana established a national chapter. Today there are 150 chapters with over 4,600 members in six districts. District 1 includes Caddo, Bienville, Desoto, Bossier, Webster and Claiborne parishes.

FBLA understands that some students won’t continue in business, according to David Robinson, the District 1 state committee representative. “FBLA prepares students for careers in business, even if they aren’t necessarily going to take the business track when they go to college, but it prepares them for speaking and networking with others regardless of the major they choose,” he said.

Smiley said the conference is a great opportunity for Grambling State faculty, staff and students to interact with future college students. The conference will give them a glimpse into what life is like at a university, the interaction may help push them toward pursuing a college degree.

Meeting a university president, walking on a college campus, sitting in a college classroom, hearing the band play, and seeing real Grambling students and professors could be the deciding factor between going or not going to college. When asked why Grambling was chosen as the host Robinson replied, “We want to expose the students to college, that is the purpose of hosting the conference at a college campus.”

“The conference will allow our students to showcase the university through our many student organizations, spirit groups, and academic departments,” added Smiley, who said the World Famed Tiger Marching Band and the university cheer squad would entertain the group. “ One of these groups is Phi Beta Lambda Incorporated, which is the university equivalent of FBLA.”

The students will begin registration at 7:30 a.m. at the Hobdy Assembly Center. A general session, open to the public, will follow at 8:15. During the general session, GSU President Rick Gallot and Homer High School Principal Lee Simms will give greetings, and Walker will recognize FBLA chapters. The band and cheerleaders will provide some GSU spirit during the session.

The conference is an opportunity for these students to show their business and leadership skills in several different areas. Rather than sitting and listening to lectures much of the day, the student participants will give and listen to speeches, learn job interviewing and public speaking skills and take accounting, business calculations and securities and investments tests. In addition, they will be engaged with team activities focused on current events, entrepreneurship and parliamentary procedure.

Though most of the conference is for the students, the public is invited to the 2 p.m. closing session when award winners will be announced, and Walker’s first vice president successor will be announced.

FBLA District 1 Business Conferencehttps://www.flickr.com/photos/gramblingstateuniv/albums/72157679779975686

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GSU CONGRATULATES NEW SHREVEPORT POLICE CHIEF

Crump, a 1988 graduate of Grambling State’s criminal justice program, was named Tuesday

Alan Crump, GSU Alum and new Shreveport police cheifCongratulations are in order for Grambling State University graduate Alan Crump, the new Shreveport police chief. Crump graduated with an associate of science in criminal justice from Grambling State University in July 1988.

“The entire Grambling State University community congratulates Shreveport Police Chief Crump for this accomplishment,” said GSU President Rick Gallot. “Clearly the competition was stiff, and he won the job with strong test scores and great interviews. We know he will do well, and we’ll be supportive in any way we can.”

Crump, who was named police chief by Shreveport Mayor Ollie S. Tyler on Tuesday (Jan. 17), was appointed to serve as the city’s interim police chief following Shreveport Police Chief Willie Shaw’s departure in July 2016. Tyler screened a pool of applicants, reviewed test scores and assessed each candidate before identifying seven finalists for the position. Each of the finalists received a thorough interview before Tyler made her final decision, choosing Crump.

Crump, who has been with the Shreveport Police Department for more than 24 years, holds multiple degrees. Crump attended Inter-Baptist Theological Seminary, where he earned a doctorate of theology, a master’s in theology and a bachelor’s in theology. He also received a bachelor of criminal justice from Louisiana State University in Shreveport in December of 1997. He served in the Navy and the U.S. Army Reserves.

During his tenure with the police department, Crump has supervised the department’s neighborhood assistance team, the police pastors program, the DARE program, school resource officers, the citizens police academy, auxiliary officers and reserve officers.

When his selection was announced, Crump said his goals are to enhance the development of enduring community relationships and to continue fostering those relationships as he moves into office. It’s the experience of building those connections that Crump said he plans to carry with him as he moves forward as Shreveport’s police chief.

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Go Red for Women Day Proclamation Signing

1/31/2017 – President’s Conference Room

Go Red Day for Women, sponsored by Grambling Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., Go Red Day, Friday, February 3, 2017

Go Red for Women Day Proclamation Signing

Pictured left to right:  Janis Bluford, Go Red Day for Women Committee Chair, other Committee Members:  Cathy Holmes, President of Grambling Alumnae Chapter, Patricia Hutcherson, Beverly Crawford, Johnnie Faye Williams.  Committee Members not pictured:  Hazel Hunter, Dr. Marvette Thomas, Mrs. Gloria Moore (Photos: Glen Lewis)

Photo Album/Slideshow: https://www.flickr.com/photos/gramblingstateuniv/albums/72157678303435260

Now Showing! Dunbar Art Gallery – The Work of Dr. Herbert Simmons, Jr.

BY YA’LISHA LASHAE’ GATEWOOD
GSU Media Bureau

Simmons with work from his "I'm Back" series in the Dunbar Art Gallery. Credit: GLENN LEWIS/GSU Media Bureau

Simmons with work from his “I’m Back” series in the Dunbar Art Gallery. Credit: GLENN LEWIS/GSU Media Bureau

Herbert Simmons Jr. loves creating colors of harmony on canvas. His art has been exhibited in art shows across the country, and it will be shared at Grambling State University this month and most of February.

“The Work of Dr. Herbert Simmons Jr. & Selections from the Simmons Collection of African American Art” is being shown in the Dunbar Art Gallery in the Department of Visual and Performing Arts’ Dunbar Hall. The exhibit includes some of Simmons’ work and collected pieces by prominent artist William Tolliver this week through February 23. Donna McGee, a GSU art professor, said Simmons volunteered to share his work after visiting a Black History Month art exhibit from the collection of Cheryl and Will Sutton, and she jumped at the opportunity. The gallery is open Monday-Thursday 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. and from 8 a.m.-12 noon Fridays. There will be a public reception on Feb. 16, 4:30 p.m.-6 p.m.

Simmons, an educator at Grambling State for 21 years and a professor in the school’s criminal justice department, is the university faculty-senate president. He’s also a successful businessman and entrepreneur, but many may not have realized he’s an artist. However, art has been a part of Simmons’ life since his childhood.

During a recent interview, Simmons said he has been drawing and painting since his youth when some of his teachers saw something in him that he didn’t see in himself. They liked his skill, and they would ask him to draw and paint things for them. Through the years he became more aggressive with his art, falling in love with painting.

Simmons, who classifies himself as an abstract artist influenced by the work of 20th century Spanish artist Pablo Picasso, said he always starts the same way when he settles in to paint, something he finds relaxing. He starts with prayer and meditation.

“I ask God to use my skills, my hands and my mind to create something of beauty that pleases him and pleases mankind… I look at this as a gift from him,” he said. “I like to take colors and mix them ….to make something beautiful.”

Simmons’ art is appreciated by others, and they want the public to know what a talented artist is based on the GSU campus and in his hometown of Jonesboro.

“He keeps his colors pretty pure,” said McGee, an artist and collector. “He uses primary and secondary colors, and he leaves a lot of room for interpretation but there very good compositions and designs.”

Cheryl Sutton, who curated the exhibit, said in each of the last three years she has worked with McGee to bring some African American art and beauty to share with the public around Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday and Black History Month to show the community that there is great visual beauty in this community. “When I had the opportunity to see his work I was inspired by the range of this work, both his natural talent and dedication,” she said.

Simmons, who has taught human ecology and consumer education, lived in Washington, D.C., for about 15 years, and that’s where he built some of his private art collection, including works by Tolliver, who Simmons got to know and interact with as an artist. He said he urged Tolliver to take a more abstract approach, and Tolliver became one of his favorite artists.

He traveled to Lafayette in 1982 to meet with Tolliver for the first time. At that time in Tolliver’s career, Simmons said, Tolliver was doing simple work, painting houses and doing anything to feed his family. They developed a personal and professional friendship, and Simmons started collecting Tolliver’s art to add to his growing collection.

Simmons is a businessman and a teacher, not a professional artist, though McGee and Sutton agree that his talent is at a professional level. Simmons feels good about that.

“Painting is a form of relaxation for me,” said Simmons, adding that it’s more of a “mind getaway.”

Dunbar Art Gallery - Simmons Art Show

Additional Information: Art Show Reception – Feb. 16, 4:30-6PM Dunbar Art Gallery

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HBCU National Championship Parade

HBCU Championship Parade - Jan. 28, 1pm. GSU CampusGrambling State University will celebrate its HBCU National Championship football team with a day full of fanfare and fun.

The HBCU National Championship Parade for G-Men will start at 1 p.m. Saturday (Jan. 28) on the GSU campus. Head football coach Broderick Fobbs will be the grand marshal, and the parade will feature GSU President Rick Gallot; Athletic Director Paul Bryant; the World Famed Tiger Marching Band; the GSU cheer squad; Miss Grambling State University, Astra Watts; Miss Cover Girl, Taylor Stewart; Student Government Association (SGA) President Michael Meadows and SGA representatives; Favort Student Union Board (FSUB) President Jimmitriv Roberson and FSUB representatives and the Alma J. Brown Elementary School cheerleaders.

There will be a G-Men Fan Fest held between the Tiger and Lady Tiger basketball games. Providing an opportunity for fans to mingle with Coach Fobbs and his coaching staff as well as the national championship football team. Fans can bring their own merchandise, etc. to be autographed by their favorite player/coach. GSU Army/ROTC may/will sponsor events such as rock climbing wall, pull up bar and others for fans. There will be an opportunity to take photographs with the national championship trophy, won at the December Air Force Reserve Celebration Bowl in Atlanta.

Barnes and Noble will be open from 12 noon until 3:00 p. m. on Saturday, January 28.

During half-time of the Lady Tigers basketball game there will be an introduction of the SWAC and HBCU National Champions where President Gallot will introduce the G-Men and Coaching Staff and Mr. Bryant will present the trophy.

The parade will begin at the Robinson Stadium Support building, travel down Blalock Street toward the Tiger Village Clubhouse, turn left onto R.W.E. Jones Street and make a right on to College Ave. It will make another right on Main Street to pass in front of McCall Dining Hall and Favort Student Union. Once at the Central Ave the route will make a right and end at the Fredrick C. Hobdy Assembly Center for the 3 p.m. Lady Tiger Basketball game against the University of Arkansas-Pine Bluff Lady Lions.

Tickets are available for sell at the GSU Ticket Office and via Ticketmaster. Individual Tickets are $10, group rate (10 or more) are $7 and Season Tickets are $60. Contact the ticket office at 318-274-2625 for more information regarding tickets.

HBCU PARADE ROUTE

GSU National Champions Parade Photos 01/28/17
Championship Parade Photos: https://www.flickr.com/photos/gramblingstateuniv/albums/72157678234394560

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MISS GRAMBLING WINS EBONY MAGAZINE SPOT

Watts to be featured in upcoming national magazine

By MINIYA SHABAZZ
GSU Media Bureau

One of Astra Watts’ dreams is becoming reality.

Miss Grambling State University Astra WattsThe Miss Grambling State University, Watts will be one of 10 campus queens from historically black colleges and universities to be featured in Ebony, a national magazine focused on an African American audience. Watts will represent GSU, and be a role model for young girls who want to be campus queens and princesses.

Watts is thrilled when she heard the news a few days ago (Friday). “I cannot say thank you enough to the many supporters who have voted tirelessly and encouraged others to do so throughout the entire competition,” said Watts, 21, a New Orleans native and a senior biology major at GSU. “This is a great milestone as a queen, but more importantly, a great opportunity to showcase our beloved institution.”

Watts competed against more than 60 HBCU campus queens. People voted for their favorite queens up to three times each day during the contest, which ended Wednesday (Jan. 18). The 10 winners will receive an all-expenses paid trip for a photo shoot, and the winners are scheduled to be featured in the September 2017 issue of the magazine and on the Ebony campus queens website.

GSU President Rick Gallot said Watts’ win is big for her, and the university.

“We’re thrilled that Astra has made the Ebony list of the top ten HBCU campus queens,” he said. “This will be a great experience for her, and a wonderful chance to put GSU on the national map again. People need to know that young, talented people like Astra can choose Grambling State and achieve dreams. Great queen. Great student. Great student leader.”

David “Rusty” Ponton, interim vice president for student affairs, is not surprised that Watts won. “This is a wonderful exclamation point to an already storied reign for Astra,” he said. “We here at Grambling State University are extremely happy for and proud of Astra. She represents the best qualities found in our outstanding students at our great university.”

The Ebony competition showcases black excellence at HBCUs through the campus queens. Each provides a bio, a list of activities and a video. “Great role models who are conscious of their communities, resolute in their beliefs, dedicated to their goals and committed to the importance of education,” the magazine writes about the contest.

Other winners include Miss Southern University at New Orleans, Miss South Carolina State University, Miss Mississippi State Valley University, Miss Albany State University, Miss Southern and A&M College in Baton Rouge, Miss Dillard University, Miss Florida A&M University, Miss Jackson State University and Miss Xavier University of Louisiana.

Watts said she could not have won without strong support. “A special thanks to my family, friends, alumni, the Grambling State University media bureau, my Alpha Kappa Alpha sorors, KTAL news, FOX33, KNOE news, KSLA, KGRM radio, The Gramblinite, the Ruston Daily Leader and my entire Grambling family,” she said.

“It’s about Grambling State University,” added Watts. “Having our institution featured in such an illustrious magazine will create more exposure. Our goal is to share GSU with those around the world.

Watts can be a positive role model for young princesses who can’t wait to become a queen one day.

“One little girl who will pick up an Ebony Magazine can take a look into my world and see why I love Grambling State University. This will not only boost recruitment efforts, but also enrollment.”

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GALLOT CHALLENGES AUDIENCE TO SERVE IN HONOR OF KING

GSU president alludes to Trump, saying we need more presidential comments to encourage hope

By MINIYA SHABAZZ
GSU Media Bureau

GSULaTechMLKObserve17_img4

photos by Brandon LaGarde

Grambling State University President Rick Gallot used an opportunity to talk about the virtues of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to weigh in on politics and to urge taking some different approaches to be successful.

During Louisiana Tech University’s 14th annual ecumenical observance at the Ruston Civic Center Monday (Jan. 16), Gallot said he would aim to be “presidential” as he thinks all presidents, and presidents-elect, should be, realizing that anything a president might say could have consequences.

“I think a president should never intentionally say, speak…or tweet any public statement that would in any way reflect anything but positive on those being served…or soon to be served,” said the GSU president. Referencing President-elect Donald Trump without mentioning him by name, Gallot indicated that he thinks Trump has been tweeting negatively rather than encouraging the nation with positive comments. He said King was always a “beacon for hope,” for all Americans but especially African Americans as he fought against injustices and for civil rights.

“His philosophy of nonviolent direct action, and his strategies for rational and non-destructive social change, galvanized the conscience of this nation and reordered its priorities,” said Gallot, ensuring that his audience understood that King was devoted to change in this world so that it would be better than he and others found it.

Organized by Tech’s Office of Multicultural Affairs, attendees included Ruston and Grambling residents, LA Tech and GSU students and others. Tech’s Black Student Union, National Pan-Hellenic Council, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc., Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc., Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc., and other associations and groups assisted with the event, which was well received.

“As President Gallot said, we have to use our ideas, skills, and talents to go out and make a difference. I see MLK Day as a renewal every year to get people together and challenge one another,” said Jim King, 54, vice president of student advancement at Louisiana Tech.

Siana Shepherd, 22, vice president of Tech’s Black Student Union at Louisiana Tech, said she joined her organization to give back to her community and to unite with her own people because she attends a predominately white institution. Earlier in the day, Shepherd and colleague BSU members volunteered at an event for the National Society of Black Engineers, passing out education packets to help high school students think about higher education.

“Martin Luther King means hope for me,” said Shepherd. “He means empowerment and having that one person who can speak out. We need to carry on the legacy of all the African Americans that came before us and paved the way for African Americans to (be allowed) to go to Tech. It’s my obligation to make sure that their legacy carries on.”

Devonia Love-Vaughn, coordinator of multicultural affairs at Louisiana Tech, said Monday’s event was about service and community contributions on the day that recognized King’s birthday.

“It’s a day to remember what he stood for and what he was fighting for and to let us know that you don’t have to have great celebrity or have a lot of power to serve,” she said.

She strives to remind herself, and others, about the importance of serving every day when she she sends emails. Rather than end emails with “sincerely” or “with love,” she writes “in service.” — “because each day that we are doing something for someone else we are doing a service.”

GSU/Tech MLK Observance Ceremony
https://www.flickr.com/photos/gramblingstateuniv/albums/72157677853052900
(photos by Brandon LaGarde/GSU Media Bureau)

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GSU STUDENTS REMEMBER MLK, URGED TO HAVE HOPE

By YA’LISHA GATEWOOD
GSU Media Bureau

2017 MLK Celebration PhotoA candlelight celebration at Grambling State University started with “We Shall Overcome” sung by the university’s choir as the audience solemnly added their voices. More than 250 students, faculty and observers lit white candles one by one as they stood, some hanging their heads prayerfully and others with heads raised high to exclaim their joy.

The annual Martin Luther King celebration in the Black and Gold Room of the Favrot Student Union Building was hosted by the Favrot Student Union Board Monday (Jan. 16). On a dreary night, scores joined together to observe what would have been King’s 88th birthday and to honor his legacy. After blowing out their candles, the audience bowed their heads and held hands as the Rev. Lance Wright, director of the Baptist Collegiate Ministries, led an invocation.

There was an unusual twist when it was time to introduce the keynote speaker. Jimmitriv Roberson, 20, of Arcadia, Louisiana, introduced Louisiana State Rep. Patrick O. Jefferson, her cousin. Jefferson, whose state house District 11 includes Bienville, Union and Lincoln parishes, decided to bring a message of hope, talking about the exit of President Barack Obama, King and what people can do to live out his desires and how faith can carry us through. During an interview, he said though some African Americans are saddened that Donald J. Trump as the U.S. president-elect, we have a choice. “Most of us are so filled with angst and brooding over the election, and this week as you may have seen on Facebook some are saying ‘Don’t cry because he’s leaving, smile because he had the opportunity.”

At one point during his speech, Jefferson implored the audience to be hopeful no matter what they might think about the nation’s leadership, to be hopeful and to live their lives.  Quoting from “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” Jefferson said “Sing a song full of faith that the dark past has taught us. Sing a song full of hope that the present has brought us. Grambling State University, our inspiring president, Richard J. Gallot, ladies and gentlemen, sing your song.”

He went on to say that despite so many bad things happening in the world, “The only hope we have is in Christ Jesus.”

Jefferson received a standing ovation. Jamie Wilson, xx, an early childhood education major, said “I feel that today’s event was very inspiring.”

Astra Watts, Miss Grambling State University, said she appreciated hearing Jefferson talk about how King led a life full of service. She said GSU students should do what Jefferson suggested, “to follow your purpose and to always be a leader in your community.”

GSU President Rick Gallot thanked Jefferson, his friend, for such an inspirational message. He said King made so many things possible, things that we enjoy today. “Service to humanity was a cornerstone to many things that Dr. King did. It’s not enough just to have personal achievements, but what are you doing with those gifts and talents that you have to help someone else. I think that’s something students should’ve been able to take away from the program tonight.”

Marting Luther King, Jr. Ceremony
https://www.flickr.com/photos/gramblingstateuniv/albums/72157679211153366

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