‘Where do we go from here?’


Samantha Vaith/Iowa State Daily

The Black Campus Ministries Choir sings at the Martin Luther King Convocation. The Convocation took place in the Sun Room of Memorial Union Jan. 19.

Nik Heftman

Daniel Spikes, assistant professor of educational administration at Iowa State, and guest speaker T. Elon Dancy, II sat in the front row of an ocean of hard-surfaced burgundy chairs in the Memorial Union for Thursday’s Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Legacy Convocation: “Where Do We Go From Here?”

The convocation was part of a four-part Martin Luther King Jr. Legacy series that kicked off Jan. 11. It was organized by the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Legacy Convocation Planning Committee of the Office of Multicultural Student Affairs.

Dancy, professor and associate dean in the Jeannine Rainbolt College of Education at the University of Oklahoma, and Lori Patton Davis, renowned scholar and researcher in the area of culture centers, were invited to speak in front of the hundreds of Iowa State faculty and students.

The convocation was the vision of Pamela Anthony, former dean of students at Iowa State who brought the event to the university years ago. Anthony died Tuesday after a battle with cancer.

Spikes and Dancy, dressed in neutral-colored suits, traded papers and ideas as they rehearsed their dialogue before the event. Spikes facilitated the dialogue.

“I’m here to celebrate Dr. King’s legacy, and, in a sense, encourage people to pick up where he left off,” Spikes said. ”I’m also here to contextualize what [Dr. King’s] vision would look like in today’s society.”

Kenyatta Shamburger, assistant dean of students/director of multicultural student affairs, emceed the event until it was time for Dancy and Davis to take the stage.

Speakers of the night included Martino Harmon, senior vice president for student affairs; Cole Staudt, student body president; and Reginald Stewart, vice president for diversity and inclusion.

Harmon opened his speech by paying homage to Anthony with a moment of silence. He then urged the audience to find inspiration in the final two years of King, for they were the hardest years of his life, yet he did not fold in the face of adversity.

The 2017 MLK Jr. Advancing One Community Awards were also presented at the convocation. Recipients were Noel Gonzalez, graduate student in architecture; Javier Vela-Becerra, associate professor of chemistry; and Nicci Port, project director for diversity and inclusion in LGBTQA+ Affairs.

Spikes, Dancy and Davis took the stage midway through the event. They conducted an engaging dialogue that covered the topics of race, inclusion and identity in education and society. Their dialogue was concluded with a short Q&A session.

“The event brought people together that may or may not interact with each other,” Shamburger said after the event. “We often talk about the sanitized version of Dr. King. This event gave us an opportunity to think about the message of Dr. King, as well as [to think about] some things we can do to improve the systems we operate in.”