Members of the Lion community gathered to celebrate the life and legacy of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. at LMU’s Interfaith Prayer Breakfast in St. Robert’s Auditorium last Thursday. Keynote speaker, Rev. James Lawson, an activist and leader at the height of the Civil Rights Movement, shared his experiences of fighting the peaceful fight for change along King’s side and their everlasting bond.
“I do not pretend to be someone special,” Rev. Lawson said, crediting God and the wisdom of his parents for guiding him through his life.
Despite encountering hostility and racism at an early age, Rev. Lawson says he felt compelled to pursue justice through non-violent means, rallying alongside King and taking part in the Little Rock Nine, among other campaigns. He reflected on his journey with King to Memphis, where he delivered his “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop” speech, and the pair’s last meeting on the day King was assassinated.
“A just and fair task is still our task,” Rev. Lawson said, speaking of an on-going need to address issues of racism, sexism and violence in the present day.
Student attendees were grateful for the chance to hear the legendary activist speak, such as senior Megan Castillo:
“I came to this event to keep the legacy of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. alive,” said Castillo. “It has been an unimaginable experience to listen to Rev. Lawson, Jr. speak. His work in activism is legendary and it was a pleasure to just be in the same space with such a remarkable man.”
At the breakfast’s conclusion, LMU bestowed Rev. Law with a special award honoring his devotion to answering the call. He gazed out into the audience, a bit awestruck by its diversity and said that a gathering such as this was a direct result of the extraordinary work of Martin Luther King Jr. and Rosa Parks.
Hosted by the Office of Campus Ministry and the Department of Ethnic and Intercultural Services, this year’s theme was “All We Say to America Is Be True to What You Said on Paper,” a quote from King’s “I Have a Dream” speech and his “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop” speech.