The Center for Multicultural Education held its annual Drum Major for Justice Awards Banquet on Wednesday, Jan. 20.
Three awards were given out to individuals who have been instrumental in the fight for social justice. An award was given to a Missouri Western student, a faculty member and a St. Joseph community member.
The first award was presented to MWSU student, Roderic Byrd. Byrd is a senior studying manufacturing engineering technology.
“I am very grateful for the award, but honestly I feel like the work involved that got me the recognition for it is more important,” Byrd told the St. Joseph News Press.
The second award was given to MWSU staff member and Director of Developmental Writing and Placement Dawn Terrick.
St. Joseph citizen, Drew Brown, received the third award for his involvement in social justice within the community.
After the awards were given, guest speaker, Pastor Robert Warren, gave a speech concerning human rights for all races and the fight for social justice.
“The topic I have chosen, and since you are saying that we are trying to stay motivated through the fight, is to start strong, to stay strong and to finish strong,” Warren said.
Also present at the banquet was Student Governor Lionel Attawia, who said he enjoyed the message behind Pastor Warren’s presentation.
“I thought the message was very good about starting strong and keeping strong,” Attawia said. “I thought that his message was right in line with what Martin Luther King preached constantly.”
Latoya Fitzpatrick, Coordinator for the Center for Multicultural Education, says the night went as well as expected.
“I think the week overall was a good week,” Fitzpatrick said. “I think the banquet, which is always on that Wednesday, there is always great attendance there and people always have a great time.”
The following Thursday, the film Selma, Lord, Selma was shown in Spratt Hall. A candlelight vigil was then held on Friday night.
“I think for these two events, the attendance was a little bit lower and I attribute that to this last week being the first week that classes started back and students are just trying to get into the swing of things,” Fitzpatrick said.
Although the banquet went well, Fitzpatrick says they will look over the data from the last two events and see what changes they can make to boost attendance for the next year.
For more information on MLK week, contact the Center for Multicultural Education at 816-271-4150.