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'I Have a Dream' speech reenactment comes to West campus


January 15, 2009
A tradition at Arizona State University’s West campus that dates back to 1991 will continue Thursday, Jan. 29, at 10 a.m. as Charles St. Clair reenacts Martin Luther King, Jr.’s most famous speech. The public is invited to attend this free event.

St. Clair, a faculty member in ASU’s New College of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences, will deliver the “I Have a Dream” speech as part of the West campus’s annual March on West event. More than 250 students from local elementary and middle schools will arrive on campus at 9:30 to reenact the 1963 March on Washington, which provided the setting for King’s speech.

“It’s an honor to share this unforgettable speech with a group of young people,” St. Clair says. “You never know who will be inspired to do great things by hearing Dr. King’s powerful message of harmony among all people.”

Arriving school children will be greeted by the drum corps from Deer Valley High School, whose members will lead the students in a march around campus to the Fletcher Library lawn. In addition to St. Clair’s speech, attendees will hear remarks from Jean Williams, the first female African American judge in Arizona. Williams served as an attorney for King in the 1960s and later received numerous awards for her legal work.

Also during the event, ASU’s 2009 MLK Servant-Leadership Award recipients will be recognized. Historian and civil rights advocate Mas Inoshita was selected to receive the community servant award. When Inoshita’s family was interned in Arizona during World War II, he enlisted in the U.S. Army and later was sent to assess the damage at Hiroshima. He has spent more than 25 years serving as a guest lecturer for civic groups and Arizona schools.

Student servant award recipient Elodie Billionniere makes the time to volunteer while working on two advanced degrees at ASU. She founded an organization to assist homeless individuals with housing, education and jobs, and she volunteers as a Big Sister and as a child care worker at a shelter. Billionniere is president of the ASU Black Graduate Students Association.

After the visiting school children listen to the “I Have a Dream” speech, they will participate in educational breakout sessions, facilitated by Susan Southard of Tempe-based Essential Theatre Company, in the campus’s La Sala ballrooms.

Call (602) 543-5306 for more information.