Talent sparkles at Florida State’s MLK Night of the Arts

Florida State University students and members of the Tallahassee community took the stage of the Globe Auditorium on Tuesday for a Night of the Arts as part of the university’s 24th annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration.

Hosted by Florida State’s Center for Multicultural Affairs, the event allowed students and others from the community to demonstrate aspects of the civil rights leader’s legacy through song, dance and poetry.

About 40 spectators also came to view a video of King’s famous “I Have a Dream” speech, which he delivered from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in August 1963.

Amber Hampton, a student program specialist with the Center for Multicultural Affairs and member of the Night of the Arts planning committee, said the performances served to remind those in attendance of the importance of community.

“Being involved on campus and sharing your talents with others, whether it be through art or education, is really important,” Hampton said. “I think, just from our office, and from the life that I’ve lived, that when you’re in an inclusive community, and a community that promotes a sense of justice, a sense of equality, it’s an environment that’s more conducive to people feeling like they can be powerful being exactly who they are.”

Performances included a contemporary, lyrical dance routine performed by FSU student Richelle Collins, who said she hoped to demonstrate Dr. King’s passion for equality and justice.

The event also attracted members of the community outside of the university. Shirley Smith, a teacher at Tallahassee’s Golden Brook Preschool, who also attended Monday’s oratorical contest, performed the song “Let There be Peace on Earth” as a tribute to King.

“I like Dr. Martin Luther King because he stood up for what is right, what is good, and he didn’t just do it for himself but for others,” Smith said. “I sang ‘Let There be Peace on Earth’ because the song says, ‘Let it begin with me.’ I think it depends on each one of us to do what we can to make our mark here on the Earth like MLK as far as helping other people make life good for others.”

Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration Week will continue with a Freedom Dinner on Wednesday Jan. 11, as well as a Freedom March and Commemorative Celebration with speaker Attallah Shabazz, the eldest daughter of the late human rights activist Malcolm X, at noon on Thursday, Jan. 12, in Ruby diamond Concert Hall.

Also during the Shabazz event, Florida State will present its 2012 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Distinguished Service Award to a university employee who has rendered outstanding service in keeping with the principles and ideals of King. The award carries a $1,000 stipend.

For further MLK Week schedule information, visit http://studentaffairs.fsu.edu/mlk/calendar.shtml.