Iowa State Dean of Students gives keynote at community MLK celebration

Katrina Williams reads to Lucy (left) and Georgia (right) during the Ames Community Celebration in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. at Ames Middle School on Jan. 20. Williams is originally from Atlanta and has previously worked with King’s sister Christine King Ferris. She comes to the community celebration each year to share King’s story and message.

Greg Zwiers

Pamela Anthony, ISU dean of students, gave the keynote address at the annual Martin Luther King Jr. Community Celebration at 6:00 p.m. Jan. 20 at Ames Middle School.

“I was very honored to be asked,” Anthony said. Anthony became the dean of students on Aug. 1, 2012, and said she was surprised to be asked to present at the event.

The Ames community celebration started in the commons area of Ames Middle School, where cake was served and the Ames High School jazz band performed. People then moved to the auditorium where kids from Meeker and Edwards elementary schools sang Martin Luther King Jr. songs.

“It’s neat because the kids are participating,” said Randi Peters. The event is run by a planning committee that changes from year to year. Peters said The Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebration is a great community event.  

Tom Hill, senior vice president for student affairs, said it means a lot to have an annual event that celebrates Martin Luther King Jr. and it shows that the community honors and respects the contributions from King.

“This has been probably one of the best venues,” Hill said. 

Anthony said the event is great because children learn about the civil rights movement in school and grow up in a community where diversity is valued.

“I was really impressed by the attendance,” Anthony said. She said she was impressed at the commitment shown by the people who could have stayed home on their day off but instead attended the event.

Anthony said in her keynote if we commit to be vigilant, vocal and nonviolent we can achieve King’s dream. She said our true strength lies in diversity.

“We must learn to have civil discourse,” Anthony said. She said King’s work started with not being satisfied and taking verbal and nonviolent action.

Anthony said it is acceptable to be frustrated and unsatisfied and that in order to change things, we need to speak up. She said our voices give us power. We have the ability to speak up for change.

She said it is our responsibility to be concerned with those less fortunate than ourselves. Anthony said King fought to reduce poverty as well as to gain civil rights.

After Anthony finished her speech, Hannah Dankbar from the Volunteer Center of Story County spoke about the different volunteer events from the day of service that the volunteer center organized.

Anthony participated in volunteering for the day of service before coming to speak at the community celebration. Anthony called the event a celebration of different people coming together.

She said we can have dreams and hope for the day King dreamed of, but if we aren’t vigilant and don’t speak up for injustice, that day will not come.

Edna Clinton, president of the Ames chapter of the NAACP, said we should live out Martin Luther King Jr. Day not just on the holiday, but every day throughout the year.