Amanda Paladino, Features Editor
Last Monday, Jan.18th, marked the national celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day. The civil-rights activist and Nobel Peace Prize winner left a permanent mark on our nation, ending legal segregation and creating numerous civil rights acts. Out of reverence, Utica College dedicated last week to remember and honor King for the hero that he was and celebrate his life.
The campus held daily events revolving around ideas of King’s legacy, including guest speakers, music, films and thought-provoking discussions. The events, open to all students, proved to have a populous turn out and ignited passion amongst many.
Freshman Sydney Muracca attended last Thursday’s screening of the film “King… A filmed Record”, which is newly released and uncut. The film followed King through a journey of boycotts and led to his assassination.
“To be honest, going opened my eyes in ways I didn’t expect it would,” Muracca said.
She described the film to be intense, and said it allowed her to develop a new admiration of how far our nation has come in terms of racist acts.
“It’s really amazing to see the difference one person can make when they follow their gut and do what they know is right,” Muracca said.
The theme of having courage to fight against what’s morally wrong is one that proved to be a common thread throughout all of last week’s events honoring King. Matt Herron, a professional photojournalist, joined the UC community last Wednesday to tell the story of documenting the Deep South during the early 1960s, a time when racial tensions as well as King’s activism were heightened.
Herron discussed his passion for telling stories through photographs, while acknowledging that this often meant witnessing heinous racist acts. Herron even recalled a specific instance where he watched police beat a young African American boy, noting that his job forced him to remain diligent in capturing such an atrocity as it unfolded. His photography and life’s work tell stories of America, what it once was and what it has the potential to be- for better or for worse.
“I think it’s amazing to not only experience events, but to capture the event in a moment that lives forever,” sophomore Becky Venerro said after attending Herron’s seminar.
Herron also discussed the recent release of his book, Mississippi Eyes: The Story and Photography of the Southern Documentary Project, which describes his experiences and career further.
UC held other memorable guests including director Curtis Chin who showed his film, Tested and blues band Tangled Roots, encouraging students to embrace history as well as the diverse aspects of our culture. Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”
Through the duration of last week’s campus events, UC succeeded to prove that the experiences King endured and the lessons he taught our country certainly matter.