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Leavitt Center lets students broadcast their dreams, wishes

Jeff Hertig, the SUUSA president, signs the Dream Wall. The members of the Michael O. Leavitt Center for Politics & Public Service hosted the event to honor Martin Luther King Jr. day.

Jeff Hertig, the SUUSA president, signs the Dream Wall. The members of the Michael O. Leavitt Center for Politics & Public Service hosted the event to honor Martin Luther King Jr. day. Photo by Gina Fossile.

In honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, the Michael O. Leavitt Center for Politics & Public Service displayed a Martin Luther King memorial wall, featuring pictures of King and other civil rights activists, along with a “Dream Wall” where students could write their dreams of the future.

Eric Kirby, executive director for the Leavitt Center, said the student response to the walls has been so positive the Center has decided to leave both walls up for the remainder of the week.

“The goal of (the) walls is to get people to think,” Kirby said. “I witnessed one student … who got so emotionally choked up over the images because he had forgotten how much these people went through.”

Kirby said Martin Luther King Jr. Day honors what past generations have done to gain freedom, overcome odds and turn the voice of few into the voice of many. He also said everyone needs to recognize discrimination and try to become a better person each day.

Jamila Pullum, a junior physical education & human performance major from Las Vegas, spoke to visitors at the wall and said she hopes students will walk away from the walls with a newfound understanding of the movement and a passion to learn more about the struggle.

“If people don’t seek out and find their own history in this struggle, then it will end up being lost,” Pullum said. “They need to not forget what people like Martin Luther King Jr. and Rosa Parks have done for them and their rights.”

Pullum said people interested in learning more about the civil rights movement can often find information through entertaining venues like Hollywood movies. Pullum said movies such as Twelve Years a Slave and The Butler have positive messages about the civil rights struggle.

“If people don’t seek out and find their own history in this struggle then it will end up being lost,” Pullum said. “They need to not forget what people like Martin Luther King Jr. and Rosa Parks have done for them and their rights.”

Pullum said people interested in learning more about the civil rights movement can often find information in entertaining places like Hollywood movies. Pullum said movies such as Twelve Years a Slave and The Butler have positive messages about the civil rights struggle.

“Because of the people in history who have worked behind the scenes and haven’t been widely known … (African-Americans) have been given so much that wouldn’t have happened without their help,” Pullum said.

Meskerem Wellebo, a graduate student in public administration from Ethiopia, said she thinks the exposure and celebration of King’s works should not be limited to just one day.

“It should be (celebrated) every single day, because this is the person (who) changed so many things with race,” Wellebo said. “He did so many different things and eventually made it able for us to walk into a school with white students.”

With racial prejudice and civil rights being such a hot topic this month, Kirby said he hopes student will take advantage of the opportunity to learn the history of civil rights from their fellow students and try to find new ways to continue the fight for equality.

“It’s important to remember that we’re not all the same and we all have different goals or aspirations in life,” Kirby said. “But we should protect all views, even if they are a minority view or not the most popular.”

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