By Lucas Johnson
NASHVILLE, TN (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University joined the Interdenominational Ministers’ Fellowship and the Nashville community in celebrating the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Hundreds of people assembled in front of Jefferson Street Missionary Baptist Church on Monday, Jan. 15, to march to TSU’s Gentry Complex for its annual Convocation honoring King.
Before the march, TSU President Glenda Glover thanked the youth, in particular, for coming out on a chilly day.
“I want to particularly give a shout out to the youth,” said Glover, “because you could have been doing something else today.”
She then went on to emphasize the importance of the occasion.
“I lived in Memphis and I was there when the assassination (of Dr. King) took place,” Glover said. “We need to make sure we keep this dream alive each and every year, each and every day.”
Nashville Mayor Megan Barry also lauded the youth for their attendance, and reminded them of the jobs and internships that are available to them in the community.
“I want all the youth who are in this gathering today to hear that we’ve got over 10,000 opportunities on our portal, and I need you guys to go there to find something that you want to do,” Barry said.
“We all know that the way to get people moving toward their future, is they’ve got to graduate from high school, and they’ve got to get that first job. And we’re committed to making sure that our youth can do just that.”
Miss TSU Kayla Smith said the march and Convocation are “great opportunities for the community to come together and keep the dream going that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. had.”
“This is a great event, and it touches my heart to be able to participate in it,” she said.
Taylor Williams, a freshman who is majoring in aeronautical industrial technology at TSU, echoed Smith’s sentiment. Williams added that even though there has been positive change since King’s death, there’s still much work to be done in the case of equality.
“History can repeat itself, so it’s very important for me to be a part of this,” said Williams, of Memphis.
Davidson County Juvenile Court Judge Sheila D.J. Calloway, the Convocation’s keynote speaker, continued the message of “investing in our youth.”
“When I think about the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. … it starts with our youth,” Calloway said before the Convocation. “And so I’ll be focusing today on how we can, as a community, support our youth through all of the difficulties that they’re having.”
During her speech, Calloway said early engagement in the lives of youth can deter them from trouble.
“Don’t wait till they are in my courtroom before trying to help them,” she said. “By then, it is way too late. Help them before they get to that point.”
Other Convocation participants included Dr. Glover, Mayor Barry, U.S. Congressman Jim Cooper, State Rep. Harold Love, Jr. and Dr. Shawn Joseph, director of Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools.
During the Convocation, the Interdenominational Ministers’ Fellowship renewed $1,000 scholarships for students at TSU, Fisk University, Meharry Medical College and American Baptist College.