Rachel Wong, Managing Editor
Lake Worth Campus
“On August 28, 1963, Dr. King stood at the Lincoln Memorial and etched into our collective memory the immortal words that continue to cascade down the mountains of history and to resonate with us: Five score years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand signed the Emancipation Proclamation,” so began Dr. Michael Eric Dyson’s keynote speech for the 18th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration. Named one of the 150 most powerful African Americans by Ebony magazine, Dr. Dyson is considered one of America’s most renowned intellectuals. An American Book Award recipient and two-time NAACP Image Award winner, Dr. Dyson currently teaches at the Georgetown University where he won widespread attention for his course, “Sociology of Hip-Hop: Jay-Z.”
Among his speech’s highlights, “We should receive with open arms, the possibility of good going under President Trump. But we gotta challenge him as well,” Dr. Dyson said, “Build a wall? Why not build a bridge?”
In an exclusive one-on-one interview with the Beachcomber, he elaborated, “I respect him as a president. I do not respect the temper and the tone of his comments and the refusal to acknowledge the humanity of so many people. Also as president, he will wield a tremendous bully pulpit and we have to wield an equally powerful one among the masses to be able to resist him.”
Dr. Dyson’s speech also included recognition of the LGBT community. He said that Dr. King “would challenge all bigotries even those nurtured within minority communities against gay, lesbian, transgender, bisexual and queer people.” Dr. King believed in freeing human beings from society’s restrictions and standing against prejudice in all forms. “If you wanna celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., we must celebrate the beauty and the power of individual existence and identity that is not hampered by form of prejudice or bigotry,” he said.
Dr. Dyson left us with this advice for students and readers: “Write letters, be better in your own community, speak out against him wherever you are, speak out against the kind of behavior he manifests, vote in local officials who represent your interests and continue to create sanctuaries that are safe away from the harmful beliefs that he expresses.”