Luncheon honors past, present and future


Soleil Barros

Journal Staff

The life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was celebrated Thursday through a luncheon in the main ballroom of the Holiday Inn Boston at Beacon Hill. The annual event, hosted by the Office of Diversity Services, provided a cultured experience for both Suffolk students and faculty to come together and honor the inspiration of King. To that end, the “Creating the Dream Award,” given annually at Suffolk, was presented to senior Jessica Ross as part of the occasion.

The featured keynote speaker of the luncheon was Dr. John L. Jackson, the Richard Perry University Professor of Communication and Anthropology at the University of Pennsylvania. As a filmmaker, Jackson has produced a feature-length fiction film, along with several documentaries and short films screened at international film festivals. Also an author, Jackson has published three books: “Harlemworld: Doing Race and Class in Contemporary Black America,” “Real Black: Adventures in Racial Sincerity,” and “Racial Paranoia: the Unintended Consequences of Political Correctness.” Jackson is currently working on another book and two documentary films.
Suffolk’s co-ed gospel choir, The Voices of Zion, opened the luncheon with the “Lift Every Voice and Sing” anthem. Other speakers included President Barry Brown, who shared that at the age of nineteen, he attended a speech on March 12, 1965 where King presented for the Democratic Society in Montgomery, Alabama. “He was very poised and articulate,” Brown said. “It felt like I met him.”

The mission of Brown’s speech was to “let the world know how important diversity is to Suffolk University.”
Reverend Amy Fisher also spoke during the luncheon, providing inspirational words of hope along with quotes from King’s speech, “Beyond Vietnam,” made on April 14, 1967. “I really enjoyed the Reverend the most because she put so much effort and emphasis into delivering her speech,” said freshman Morgan Brynes. “The words that she shared were really interesting and very inspiring.”

Excerpts from the “Beyond Vietnam” speech were initially presented by King with intentions of breaking the silence on the Vietnam War, along with the terrorism that was prominent in the 1960’s.

Lunch was catered with classic soul-food dishes like fried chicken, potatoes and cornbread. The vegetarian dish was a plate of rice with steamed vegetables and cornbread. The final treat served during the luncheon was a thick slice of red velvet cake accompanied by a hot cup of coffee. Guests enjoyed their meals while Dr. John L. Jackson presented a few kind words about King, and read a few excerpts of his well known “Mountain Top Speech,” which was given the day before he was assassinated.
Before Dr.Jackson’s speech, the “Creating the Dream Award” was presented.  The annual award was began in 2005 with the intention of recognizing the outstanding efforts of an individual, organization, or department within the Suffolk University network, working toward creating an inclusive, respectful, and safe climate for members of the African American, Hispanic, Asian American and Native American (AHANA) community. This year’s recipient was senior Jessica Ross.

“Prior to this year’s MLK Luncheon, I had always seen the Creating the Dream Award given to faculty or staff, so when I heard my name announced I was very surprised,” she said. “As I received the award and listened to Jacinda cite my accomplishments and support from professors and mentors, it felt good to know that I was able to substantively influence the Suffolk community and that future students will have an even more enriched experience here.”