By Will Adkins
"Why Dr. King's Movement and Message Still Matter," a talk by Dr. Amena O. Anderson has now been rescheduled for Monday, February 28 at 1 p.m. in the President's Auditorium. Originally scheduled in January, the presentation was postponed because of inclement weather.
Anderson is the former Director of Multicultural Affairs at West Virginia Wesleyan and is currently the Assistant Professor of Practice. She also serves as Assistant Director of WVU ADVANCE, an organization which “works with faculty, staff, and leaders to disrupt institutional inequities and serves all WVU departments as well as outside institutions to improve climate, culture, and collaboration in working teams,” according to their website. An organization of many colleges and universities, ADVANCE initiatives have resulted in increased hiring and promotion of women faculty members.
Brian Hill, Chief Diversity Officer at Glenville, arranged the event. He said that it is always great to bring the beliefs and dreams of Dr. Martin Luther King Junior to young adults. “A lot of young kids know of Dr. King, but do not fully understand what he stood for and what he did for not only African Americans, but minorities of all kinds,” Hill stated. While searching for a speaker for the holiday, Hill heard of Anderson through an old friend. He and Anderson have been emailing regularly and she is excited about the opportunity to speak at Glenville State on such an important topic. Hill believes the college will benefit from listening to the speech by getting a better understanding of what King went through for the fight of equality in the United States.
To Hill, MLK day means one thing; “Freedom. Growing up in West Virginia, Hill has dealt with his fair share of racism. While he was dating and engaged to his now-wife who is white. the couple got dirty looks from people who saw them out and about. “It has gotten better,” Hill remarks, “but back when I was younger, people would look at me like, ‘You’re an African American man dating a white woman. That is not okay.’ What really counts is character, and after people got to know me and my then-girlfriend, they saw that nothing was wrong with it.”
Hill commented on the impact King had on him: “I get emotional because I think of what my mom went through; I think of what my dad went through. I want these younger kids to know and understand what our families and people before us went through to get to where we are today.” He emphasized, “It is important that we set aside our differences and come together and work to make a better world.”
Hill hopes to reschedule the event soon. Watch your email and The Phoenix for the new date and time.