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Honoring legacies at UTEP’s Martin Luther King celebration

Jesus+Fargas+Hill+performs+an+original+poem+during+the+Martin+Luther+King+Jr.%C2%A0celebration%2C+Jan.+17+at+Centennial+Plaza.
SalmaPaola Baca
Jesus Fargas Hill performs an original poem during the Martin Luther King Jr. celebration, Jan. 17 at Centennial Plaza.

The first week of school is here and with it comes a day marking the birthday of one of America’s most important historical and political figures, Martin Luther King Jr. A key individual to the civil rights movement, King was responsible, along with many other activists, for equal rights in America. In  celebration of King’s life and achievements, UTEP hosted a special event Jan. 17, from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., which included speakers, performers and more. 

 The celebration began with a touching performance by UTEP’s very own Abeni Merriweather, in which she sang the Black National Anthem, “Lift Every Voice and Sing;” a hymn themed around the struggles of African Americans in the late 1800s. After the performance, UTEP speakers were able to express their thoughts and reflections on Martin Luther King Jr., along with what the Civil Rights movement meant to them. 

Carleton Brown. Ph.D., assistant professor and school counselor coordinator for UTEP’s Educational Psychology Department and Special Services, says these events are important for the community. 

 “They’re essential for reminding individuals like myself the importance of seeking racial equity and positive social change when the marches have stopped and the speeches are done. We go into our everyday lives and (are) often reminded of the reality of racial injustices, prejudice, and biases. There can be moments that you lose hope for real change. But events like the one today reminds us all that we have never been alone in this struggle.”  

 In addition to the speeches given by UTEP faculty, performances from UTEP student Jesus Fargas Hill and an El Paso black community choir made their appearances during the celebration. As the event ended with more performances from local figures, the audience was reminded that this is one of many events that will happen in celebration of Black History Month. Organizers say there will be plenty of moments in February to celebrate civil rights and the African American community. Other members of the UTEP community have also stated the importance of celebrating black and American history. 

“I think it’s important to recognize that black history is American history, and even if you are not personally black or Latino,” said Cayleb Stives, vice president of UTEP’s Black Student Union. “It is important to celebrate black history and the civil rights movement because it was not just for the advancement of black people, but for all people, and to recognize that El Paso’s history is deeply ingrained in black history.”

The Martin Luther King Jr. Day Celebration was a day to remember the achievements of the African American community, with more to make their way onto UTEP’s campus. If you are interested in seeing what other events related to Black History Month are coming soon, check Mine Tracker for more information on all upcoming events. 

 

Elisha Nunez may be reached at [email protected] 

 

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About the Contributors
Elisha Nuñez
Elisha Nuñez, Staff Reporter
Elisha Nuñez is a multimedia journalism student with a minor in marketing at the University of Texas at El Paso.  He works as a reporter for The Prospector, and loves to write about arts, culture, and people. This semester, he wishes to do more freelance work for publications in and outside of El Paso. After graduation, he would like to experience multiple positions at different places, and even has plans for continuing his current education outside of the U.S.
SalmaPaola Baca
SalmaPaola Baca, Photographer
SalmaPaola Baca is a senior at UTEP majoring in engineering innovation and leadership with a concentration and minor in civil engineering and an emphasis in computer science. Her passion for photography enables her to be photographer at The Prospector. While a full-time student, she freelances while planning to grow her platform through travel photography. After graduating, she wants to pursue a master’s degree in architecture while working on her photography simultaneously.
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Honoring legacies at UTEP’s Martin Luther King celebration