Western held their annual MLK Drum Major for Justice Awards banquet on Wednesday, Jan. 21. It was held in Enright Community Room located in Leah Spratt Hall.
With each passing year, the diversity that goes along with MLK Week grows with various events that take place.
Latoya Fitzpatrick, coordinator for the Center for Multicultural Education, feels passionately about the banquet.
“We’ve had such great people do great things in the community and at the university,” Fitzpatrick said.
The MLK Drum Major not only stands for participating in marches and speaking up when injustice is taking place, but also for being a leader in your community.
“You can be behind the scenes and you can still fight for equal rights,” Fitzpatrick said, before announcing the winners for this year’s MLK Drum Major Awards.
Student Breauna Watkins, faculty member Pam Clary and community member Jeannette James were all winners of the 2015 MLK Drum Major for Justice Awards.
The award was given to these three individuals who not only were looked at as leaders by their peers, but also as human beings who strive for equal opportunities. The winners are picked by the Black History Month and MLK Week committee.
Upon receiving her award, student Watkins was overjoyed and appreciative that her peers had taken notice of her continuous fight for justice and equality.
“I am very excited and humbled to know that people recognize me for things that I am doing,” Watkins said. “I am excited to do more work. I tell people all the time, I really want to save the world and I really feel like an incremental change is still a change. Even if it’s small, things are still being done.”
Former recipient of this award Dr. William Hedge was one of the speakers present. He spoke of the sacrifices made by Martin Luther King, Jr.
“I was not three-fifths of a man in 1965, and I’m not three-fifths of a man in 2015. We have the right to cast a vote for individuals we feel are doing the job for us,” Hedge said, quoting the late King.
Clary and James are both deeply humbled and honored to be recognized.
“There are so many great people that this award represents,” Clary said, after receiving her award.
Hedge spoke on to acknowledge the three recipients to encourage them to always fight for injustice.
“I hope that we use that sphere of influence that we have as individuals, when we see injustice we stand up and say not here, not now, not ever,” Hedge said.