Soledad O’Brien highlights MLK celebration

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Phylicia Gallmon

Martin Luther King Jr.’s voice rang through Hanner Fieldhouse as students, faculty and the community waited for Soledad O’Brien to take the stage.

Students who attended the event praised the CNN anchor for her speech on leadership and the late Dr. King.

“I thought Soledad O’Brien was beyond eloquent. She was exactly how she presents herself on television. She represents a great shift in American culture as we focus more on civil rights in the Spanish community and as well as the LGBT community,” Nicholas Anderson, freshman environmental engineering major, said.

Many think of diversity in terms of race, but it goes deeper than race, Darius Robinson, graduate assistant in the Multicultural Student Center, said.

As O’Brien spoke about equality and being a voice for what is right, it struck home for a lot of students.

“My biological mother—I’m adopted—has a mental illness because of something that happened to her when she was younger. Because she is not able to stick up for herself because of her mental illness, for someone to be a voice for her is really great to me, and I really appreciate it,” Alyssa Griffin, sophomore business management major, said.

With the words of O’Brien still playing back in students’ heads, they are taking her lecture to heart and thinking of ways to apply what she said to improve equality on campus.

“I think something she was talking about was diversity and giving equal rights to different communities,” Carrie West, sophomore early childhood education major and SOAR leader, said. “I think that it is our job here as SOAR leaders to show people we do have equality, and we do have different groups on campus for everyone to be involved in.”

O’Brien was a storyteller on Tuesday night for the MLK Jr. Commemoration at Georgia Southern University.

“I love telling stories,” O’Brien said to the many ears listening in Hanner Fieldhouse about how she dropped out of Harvard to pursue her dream in broadcast journalism.

Soledad O’Brien came to GSU to celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day. The Multicultural Student Center, the Office of Student Affairs and Enrollment Management and the Office of the Dean of Students worked together to bring O’Brien to campus.

“What we did as an office was submit a list of five names to other administrative offices, particularly the vice president of student affairs and the dean of students, and we collectively work together to figure out who would be the best fit for this University and this year,” Michelle Allen, graduate assistant in the Multicultural Student Center, said. “That is how we came up with Soledad O’Brien.”

Robinson said, “Having the opportunity to have Soledad O’Brien on campus was definitely a great experience for the students.”