50 years later, the dream con­tin­ues

The Times Herald (Norristown, PA) - - FRONT PAGE - By Sara Wilk­er­son For Dig­i­tal First Me­dia

WHITPAIN » On April 4th, 1968, the world said farewell to one of the most out­spo­ken and coura­geous civil rights lead­ers of the 20th cen­tury, Dr. Mar­tin Luther King Jr. Dr. King’s legacy of stand­ing up for jus­tice and equal­ity still stands to in­spire the gen­er­a­tions who have fol­lowed his ex­am­ple. This could be no more ev­i­dent than in the 50th an­niver­sary com­mem­o­ra­tion event spon­sored by the African Amer­i­can Stu­dent League at Mont­gomery County Com­mu­nity Col­lege (MCCC) on April 4th.

The com­mem­o­ra­tion fea­tured pre­sen­ta­tions of speeches, po­etry and songs from young stu­dents from schools in the county.

El­iz­a­beth Smith, a sixth grader from Reiffton Mid­dle School (Ex-

Out­law vape mar­ket­ing to young peo­ple

Young peo­ple who have never smoked are a pri­mary tar­get for va­p­ing de­vices, and their nico­tine ad­dic­tion. Bob Bloss; Mary Gib­son; Chris­tine Gro­ma­l­ski; Michael Ha­ma­day; Richard Martein; Richard Whee­lan; Peter Wolff.

she felt a duty to an­swer Cosby’s in­quiries since he was a pow­er­ful alum­nus and trustee.

Pick­ing up where he left off Fri­day, Me­sereau ques­tioned Con­stand about in­con­sis­ten­cies in her po­lice state­ments and prior tes­ti­mony.

Me­sereau said Con­stand told po­lice in 2005 that she called Cosby from her univer­sity-is­sued cell­phone just be­fore she ar­rived at his house on the night of the al­leged as­sault to en­sure the gate would be open. But Con­stand’s phone records show she did not make any calls to Cosby’s man­sion that month.

Con­stand ex­plained that she may have been mis­taken, that there were times Cosby told her in ad­vance that the gate would be open and that she of­ten reached him at an­other num­ber.

Me­sereau opened the re­trial last week with a blis­ter­ing at­tack on Con­stand, telling jurors that she is a “con artist” who framed the co­me­dian and cashed in with a $3.4 mil­lion set­tle­ment.

On Mon­day, the de­fense lawyer sug­gested Con­stand broke her 2006 con­fi­den­tial set­tle­ment agree­ment with Cosby by agree­ing to co­op­er­ate with law en­force­ment in the re­opened crim­i­nal case.

“Didn’t you think when Mr. Cosby paid you this large sum of money he was hop­ing it was all go away?” Me­sereau asked, won­der­ing in front of jurors if she’d ever of­fered to give back the money.

Pros­e­cu­tors have called five other women to the stand who said Cosby drugged and as­saulted them too. The de­fense has eter Town­ship School District), ex­pressed Dr. King’s de­ci­sion to speak his mind by say­ing, “He chose not to lis­ten to the peo­ple who stood in his way and told him what he could and couldn’t do. That was his choice… If he hadn’t cho­sen to do all of the won­der­ful things that he had done, we wouldn’t be stand­ing here right here, right now to­day. He was known for his de­ci­sions that made such an im­pact on our civ­i­liza­tion.”

Fol­low­ing Smith’s speech, Abi­gail Brand, a home schooled sev­enth grader, spoke about how Dr. King’s ac­tions im­pacted fu­ture lead­ers. “He didn’t sit back and say ‘Change hap­pens. Some­day peo­ple will be equal.’ In­stead, he forced move­ment to­ward equal­ity. It’s be­cause of peo­ple like him [Dr. King] that change hap­pens. Barack Obama didn’t just be­come pres­i­dent, many, many peo­ple, called the other ac­cusers ir­rel­e­vant to the case.

If con­victed, he could get up to 10 years in prison on each of three charges of ag­gra­vated in­de­cent as­sault.

The As­so­ci­ated Press does not typ­i­cally iden­tify peo­ple who say they are vic­tims of sex­ual as­sault un­less they grant per­mis­sion, which Con­stand has done.

Fol­low Mike Sisak at www.twit­ter.com/mike­sisak.

For more cov­er­age visit www.ap­news.com/tag/Cos­by­onTrial. in­clud­ing Dr. King him­self, helped him get there.”

The stu­dent speeches were not just the main high­light of the com­mem­o­ra­tion. To­ward the end of the com­mem­o­ra­tion, an open mic fo­rum was avail­able for au­di­ence mem­bers to ex­press their thoughts on the im­pact and legacy of Dr. King.

Eve­lyn Warner, 93 years old and a MCCC Class of 2002 grad­u­ate, said that Dr. King un­der­stood that racism doesn’t de­fine hu­man be­ings, rather that ev­ery­one is equal, “There is noth­ing new under the sun.”

When asked of her opin­ion about what her fa­vorite mo­ments were dur­ing the com­mem­o­ra­tion, Brigette Bar­row, Pres­i­dent of the MCCC African Amer­i­can Stu­dent League, said that the open mic was among her fa­vorite mo­ments since she, “loved hear­ing the wis­dom that ev­ery­one of­fered.”

Ezinne Ot­tih, the in­com­ing MCCC Stu­dent Gov­ern­ment As­so­ci­a­tion Pres­i­dent next fall, re­flected on the event by stat­ing, “I loved how they [the African Amer­i­can Stu­dent League] started tes­ti­mo­ni­als off first with the youngest chil­dren be­cause it made me re­al­ize that MLK and his mes­sage is still trick­ling down to the younger gen­er­a­tions that he never got to meet, which makes me re­ally happy.”

The legacy and im­pact Dr. King left on so­ci­ety is still felt even to­day. El­iz­a­beth Smith said it best at the end of her speech by say­ing, “Peo­ple who were alive dur­ing his time re­mem­ber him now. Fu­ture gen­er­a­tions will learn about him too. And even kids who are grow­ing up now 50 years af­ter he died, will learn about him.” Sara Wilk­er­son is a stu­dent and hon­ors scholar at Mont­gomery County Com­mu­nity Col­lege. She’s co-edi­tor of “The Montgazette,” Writer’s Club Pres­i­dent, PTK Pub­lic Re­la­tions Of­fi­cer, Lit­er­a­ture Edi­tor on the col­lege’s Art and Lit­er­a­ture Mag­a­zine.


Abi­gail Brand, a 7th grade home schooled stu­dent, spoke about how Dr. King’s ac­tions im­pacted fu­ture lead­ers.


El­iz­a­beth Smith, a 6th grader from Reiffton Mid­dle School, shares her thoughts on Dr. Mar­tin Luther King Jr.


Bill Cosby, right, ar­rives for his sex­ual as­sault trial, Mon­day at the Mont­gomery County Court­house in Norristown, Pa.


An­drea Con­stand, cen­ter, chief ac­cuser in the Bill Cosby trial, re­turns from lunch dur­ing the Bill Cosby sex­ual as­sault trial at the Mont­gomery County Court­house, Fri­day in Norristown, Pa.

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