Uplifting music, gospel songs, and a stirring speech filled Gaither Gymnasium on January 13 during the Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University (FAMU) Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Convocation.
Social Justice Advocate and Entrepreneur Jonathan L. Jackson, son of the Rev. Jesse Jackson and business professor at Chicago State University delivered the keynote address during the event. While speaking, Jackson challenged students and others in attendance to continue FAMU’s tradition of standing up to injustices everywhere.
“You’re going to have to stand up repeatedly over and over. You’re going to have to continue as Rattlers to strike back again. Racism has not been eradicated,” Jackson said.
While presenting the occasion during the program, Jessika Ward, a senior journalism major spoke of the importance of defending Dr. King’s dream.
“Today we gather to remind one another that we’ve got work to do,” Ward said. “We’ve got more steps to take and more stairs to climb, because in one way or another, we are all defenders of Dr. King’s dream,” she added.
Jackson also supports his father’s work as a national spokesman for the Rainbow PUSH Coalition. During his speech, Jackson shared how he overcame challenges with the help of speech therapy through ninth grade and eventually became a public speaker. He encouraged FAMU students to not allow obstacles they encounter prevent them from reaching their fullest potential in life.
“I want to see you have a vision of being right here one day. You don’t know where God is going to move you to,” he said.
A highlight of the convocation was a surprise presentation to Interim President Larry Robinson, in honor of Robinson’s 20th Anniversary of service to FAMU. Interim Provost Rodner Wright presented an orange tree to Robinson. The tree will be planted on campus in his honor as a legacy to his commitment to FAMU and ongoing service to America’s youth.
Prior to making the presentation, Wright described Robinson as a tireless leader who has played a key role in FAMU’s current status as a premiere historically black university in America.
“Dr. Robinson is a servant leader for which there is no comparison. As Rattlers and members of the local community, we can all take pride in having such a talented and visionary leader in our midst,” Wright said.