Students celebrate life of Malcolm X
May 7, 2009 10:53 AM
The 15th annual Malcolm X celebration continued Thursday with speakers talking about what Malcolm X stood for and how students can still relate to his ideas and to their modern, contemporary lives with a new administration in the White House.
Sponsored by the Black Student Union and held in front of the Malcolm X Plaza, the speakers included Mama Ayanna from the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement and Bakari Olatunji from the African People's Socialist Party.
They elaborated on the legacy of Malcolm X, addressing how his teachings and ideas can provide insight into the kind of "change" that they think is necessary in the current political and economic state.
"You all are the future as I myself stood here years ago, it is up to you for you all to make change," said Ayanna. "Begin now to change your lives and chance in this country, you cannot sleep through this time."
Ayanna's speech led students through her nightmare of losing her son to gang violence and how her neighborhood transformed into a dangerous environment due to drugs on the streets of Berkeley. She explained how she leads a life devoted to following the teachings of Malcolm X finding the strength to fight on in his legacy.
"I think it's important to speak about Malcolm X because the mainstream media presents a somewhat skewed version of him as a person," said business student Milan Kemp. "These speakers have a lot to say to us and I think we all as students can learn a lot from people's experiences if we just stop to listen and take it in."
Olatunji explained his reasons for continuing to teach and follow the controversial, but powerful teachings of Malcolm X.
"Essentially we want to win the minds of African people to teach them that anything short of a revolution will not serve masses worldwide," said Olatunji. "Wherever black students are, you will find me."
Following the two-hour event, the speakers were led to Jack Adams Hall for a panel discussion regarding the preservation of Malcolm X and his teachings and how they can be related to the current Obama administration.
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