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Home Arts & Culture MLK Day Speaker Urges Concordia Students to Focus on Service

Photo description: Dr. Jackson speaks in the Thom auditorium Tuesday night. 

Photo credit: Esther Molina

Josiah Horvath

Sower Staff


Everyone can do what is right, and the time to do what is right is right now, Dr. Patricia Jackson, principal at St. Paul Lutheran School in Chicago, said during appearances on campus that focused on our obligations to serve and were premised on recognizing the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

“Martin Luther King Day was supposed to be a day on, not a day off,” she said, quoting the late Rep. John Lewis. She said we should help the needy, partner with corporations and seek ways to give back to the community.

“Frankly, if Dr. King was here today, would he be pleased with the progress we have made or just dismayed by how little progress we have made since his death?” Jackson asked. “Have we truly accomplished all of the goals that he set forth for us, as Americans, to live in a fair society?”

Jackson said people must go beyond the holiday to do what God’s people are supposed to do.

“We must accept finite disappointments, but we must never lose infinite hope,” she quoted King once again.

Audience members clap at the conclusion of Dr. Jackson’s speech. Credit: Esther Molina

Jackson pointed out that the success of the “I have a Dream” speech is credited not only to King, but also to Mahalia Jackson, who supported him during, before and after the speech, and to Prathia Hall, who, praying aloud to God, inspired the motif “I have a dream.”

Jackson said King believed everyone can be great and everyone can serve if they have a heart full of grace, generated by love.

She said it is our job and our duty to serve.

“We have been given the opportunity to live in the greatest country in this world and you have been given our lives, and to whom much is given, must is expected,” she said.

Jackson said she doesn’t want Concordia to have a guest speaker give a lecture for Martin Luther King Day next year.

“Don’t have a guest speaker,” she said. “I want next year for you guys to have a report out session; report out what you have done as a team, as an athlete, as a [gamer], as a speech and debate person, as a cheerleader – whatever activity you engage in. Report out what have you done to make this place a better place – how you have served.”

Jackson said that sometimes it isn’t perfection that makes perfection.

“It’s the fall that makes it perfect,” she said. She compared perfection to a diamond that forms by pressure.

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