Photo by Reede Fisher
Keynote speaker discusses growth, learning from experiences
Members of the Oregon State University community gathered the morning of Monday, Jan. 16, for the 35th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration Peace Breakfast. Following the breakfast, community members gathered in LaSells Stewart Center for this year’s keynote address, featuring Franchesca Ramsey, the host of MTV’s “Decoded”.
“Decoded,” a web video series from MTV News, uses comedy to explore the intersection of pop culture, personal identities, racism and social justice. Ramsey, also one of the writers of the show, focused her presentation on recognizing privilege, owning one’s mistakes and working towards a
more positive future.
Ramsey used her varied experiences to shed light on her rise from graphic designer to the role of activist and comedian. She emphasized the importance of growth, change and learning through experience.
“We all had to start somewhere, we’ve all made mistakes, we’ve all had to learn,” Ramsey said.
“It’s really important for us to be self-reflective, but also be really honest about where we come from.”
Ramsey went on to share her personal experiences in making up for mistakes caught in the public eye. She emphasized that making amends for those mistakes requires not only acknowledging the misstep, but an additional commitment to changing your behavior.
The Peace Breakfast featured remarks from organizers, students and campus administrators, including Chief Diversity Officer Angela Batista and President Ed Ray.
“I want to reaffirm the simplest and clearest terms that Oregon State’s mission of inclusive excellence in teaching, research, outreach and engagement has not changed and will not change,” Ray said.
Scott Vignos, Director of Strategic Initiatives in the Office of Institutional Diversity, presented this year’s Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration Legacy Awards. This year’s co-recipients of the Frances Dancy Hooks Award were Ana Gómez-Diazgranados, coordinator for the Juntos extension program in Jefferson County, and Dr. Mehra Shirazi, an assistant professor in the Women, Gender
and Sexuality Studies department.
The co-recipients of this year’s Phyllis S. Lee Award were Dr. Larry Roper, Interim Director and professor in the School of Language, Culture and Society, and the late Oscar Montemayor, who passed away last year after three decades of work dedicated to OSU.
The morning’s events concluded with a peace march ending in the Student Experience Center Plaza with closing remarks from local
Monday’s events came after Saturday’s day of service which kicked off this year’s Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. celebration; a number of events are slated for the remainder
of the week. Information can be found on the Oregon State website.
“Change happens when people like Dr. King, like you, like me, become engaged,” Batista said.