So often in the black community, we find ourselves so focused on faults and shortcomings, that… So often in the black community, we find ourselves so focused on faults and shortcomings, that we forget to praise our people for their willingness to sacrifice for the success of our community. I believe that any individual who comes to a university and devotes a large amount of his or her time to bridging the gap that the institution has left between cultures and communities – while maintaining their class work – should be commended. People like Adolph Sims, Brian Kelly, Charis Jones, Dulani McLaurin, Jesse Horstmann, Lauren Williams, Liz Culliton, Vanessa Gerideau and so many others sacrifice that which they came to this institution for, to guarantee that those who come after them have a better chance for social and academic success. So I believe that these few are among those paving the way toward accomplishing the dream. Each of these individuals had something to do with making this one of Pitt’s most newsworthy Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Days. We have been featured on KDKA and WPXI; articles have been written in The Pitt News and the New Pittsburgh Courier. We are laying the golden bricks on the road toward accomplishing King’s dream. On Jan. 19, Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity and the Black Action Society successfully mobilized more than fifty people, of different colors, of different backgrounds, and of different beliefs. This, to me, seemed like the dream of, “black men and white men, Jews and gentiles, Protestants and Catholics,” was coming true. Not one of them sang the song “we have overcome,” but instead “we shall overcome,” understanding that we are still in a struggle to accomplish Dr. King’s dream. Many of them understand and are willing to cope with the reality that this utopian dream may never come true, but, as long as we continue to fight and struggle toward change, we will be productive. So when they proclaimed, “we’re living King’s dream,” they were right, because King’s goal was to motivate people toward making these corrective changes, and we are. So we were not lying when we said, “we are living the dream,” because there were so many facets to the hopes and desires of this great man, if one is accomplished, then change has been made. On Saturday, the Black Action Society hosted an entire day dedicated to the legacy of King. On Sunday, the brothers of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity hosted a cocktail and lecture event, and, BAS and the brothers of APA closed out a weekend full of events with the candlelight vigil. This is corrective change. For so much of my life, I have followed the teachings of King, and have realized that I never stop learning from him. Leaders on campus and in the community are only as strong as those who support them. We must begin to support our black leadership here at Pitt, in the community; we must join hands. If there are people reading this column who believe they can be catalysts for change in issues of interracial dating, then program a forum. If you believe you can encourage people to participate with groups that are comprised largely of another race, then do so. If you want black and white fraternities to host joint events, then join one. To all of those people standing on the outskirts of change, I say, live the dream and step up.
E-mail K. Chase Patterson with about living the dream at [email protected]