MLK celebration speaker: ‘I want to live in a post-racist world’
If Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. were here today, “he would tell us to listen.” That’s what Dr. Marc Lamont Hill told a crowd of more than 700 people who packed the Duncan Theatre on the Lake Worth campus Thursday for Palm Beach State College’s 17th annual celebration of the noted civil rights leader.
“Listening is a key part of understanding our commonalities, our common histories, our common struggles. It’s also a way of recognizing the differences,’’ said Hill, host of HuffPost Live and BET News as well as a political contributor for CNN. “Difference isn’t bad. Let me be clear. The problem with the world isn’t difference. It is the different values that we assign to people who we mark as different. I don’t want to live in a world where I don’t see race. I don’t want to live in a post-racial world. I want to live in a post-racist world.
“I want live in a world where me being black or you being a woman or somebody being [transgender] or somebody being gay or bisexual or somebody being disabled…doesn’t mean they get deprived access to social goods and they be treated differently in a classroom or they get followed around in a store or they are subject to violence. I want to live in a world where that type of difference doesn’t matter,” he continued.
This year’s theme for the celebration organized by the College’s District Diversity Council was “Are We So Different?”
During the celebration, the College presented Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration Awards to four individuals and an organization. Honored were: Ashley Tripp (Alumni), co-owner of Tripp Electric Motors in Belle Glade who was instrumental in establishing the nonprofit organization Lake Okeechobee Regional Economic Alliance of Palm Beach County in response to the need for a local economic entity, Rand Hoch (Individual), a retired judge and founder of the Palm Beach County Human Rights Council, Rebecca Stremel (Student), a PBSC student who has volunteered at several high schools in the county to help and encourage students interested in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) subjects, Shona Castillo (Faculty/Staff), a PBSC employee who has worked tirelessly to address and raise awareness of community issues and to cultivate an appreciation for volunteerism among students, and CROS Ministries (Organization), which operates community food pantries and other programs to serve the hungry in Palm Beach and Martin counties.