Michael Brown’s mother inspires at Freedom Breakfast

Even as foreboding weather raged outside Atterbury Success Center, Wednesday’s Freedom Breakfast unfolded in triumph.

The event, held annually to celebrate the legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr., began with music and a short talk from Interim Chancellor and Provost Barbara Bichelmeyer about how diversity and equality must be emphasized on campus.

Soon after, the highly anticipated keynote speaker took the stage: Lesley McSpadden, the mother of Michael Brown. White police officer Darren Wilson shot Brown, a young African American, in Ferguson, Mo. in Aug. 2014, sparking severe riots and heated discussions about police brutality.

McSpadden focused on how ordinary people can mobilize themselves into a “movement.”

“How many movements have you experienced?” She asked her audience.

Along those lines, McSpadden also asserted that people could be an action. Referencing Dr. King’s willingness and passion for challenging social norms, she argued that one cannot be satisfied with the status quo.

Students expressed a connection with McSpadden’s impactful talk. Darrin Case, a student who shared his poetry at the event, drew a parallel between himself and Brown.

“Why am I different?” Case reflected.

Graduate student Toni Jones was delighted with how the event, sponsored by The African American Student Union (TAASU), went.

“I could tell that TAASU put a lot of time and energy into the event,” she said. “[And] I was amazed by [McSpadden’s] strength.”

Adrionne Taylor, TAASU president, agreed.

“It takes a lot of courage to come and talk about the things [McSpadden] talked about,” Taylor said.

cmme56@mail.umkc.edu

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