Jan. 15—In this weekly feature, we put five questions before someone in the community. Today, we chat with Lori Musser, of Missouri Southern State University.
1. Why is Martin Luther King Jr. Day an important celebration for Missouri Southern State University to host every year?
MSSU values diversity, equity and inclusion. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. worked tirelessly to promote equity and social justice for all. MSSU strongly believes in what Dr. King stood for, and we are proud to honor him by opening our campus to the community and providing this celebration event.
This year's event will occur on Monday, Jan. 16, in the North End Zone facility and is free and open to the public. A social hour will take place from 6 to 7 p.m. with hors d'oeuvres being served. Kufara marimba band will be providing entertainment during this time. The program to honor Dr. King will begin at 7 p.m. and will include our guest speaker, Atiba Bradley.
2. How long has MSSU been celebrating Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day?
This is the 23rd annual MLK celebration event at MSSU. A virtual event was offered during 2021 due to COVID-19. Then in 2022, the event was planned to be in person but had to be canceled due to a rise in local COVID-19 infections. We are excited to be able to provide an in-person event this year and are very much looking forward to it.
3. Where would America be without King?
Dr. King shared a strong message with America and the world. He brought the civil rights movement to the forefront with his leadership, speeches and example. We still have a ways to go with regards to equality and social justice for all people, but we would be a lot farther behind if Dr. King had never existed.
4. In what ways is King's legacy still relevant today?
Dr. King's legacy is still relevant today because we all need to strive for a better world for all of our brothers and sisters. The hope that Dr. King instilled, his expressions of coming together as one society and his service to others continues to be an inspiration and example to many.
5. What do you hope MSSU students take away from the MLK Day celebration?
That equality and respect is extremely important and should be something we all promote. I hope they realize that they can make a difference and to make a commitment to do something to make our community a better place for all.
Lori Musser is a member of Missouri Southern State University's Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Advisory Committee and the chair of the MLK subcommittee. She also serves as an academic success coach and coordinator of student disability services at MSSU.