My name is Matthew Merritt, and I am a sophomore Music Education Major from Duncanville Texas. This past week I had the honor and privilege to sing the selection “Lift Every Voice and Sing” also known as the Negro National Anthem at SMU’s MLK Unity Circle.
This event was a part of the SMU Dream Week Programming and has become an annual Tradition here at our university. This event was put on by our Office of Social Change and Intercultural Engagement. All in attendance had the opportunity to hear from Leaders of our Administration such as our Vice President of Student Affairs Dr. Mmeje, and our University President R. Gerald Turner. We also had the privilege to hear from Student Leaders in our campus community like Tyne Dickson.
I find this event very near and dear to my heart for many reasons. One being that I am a Black Minority Student on our predominantly Caucasian campus. Being able to see students and faculty members of all colors and backgrounds gathering together in harmony for one cause is a very touching sight to see, given the state of our nation over the past year.
When Martin Luther King Jr. came to SMU back in the 1960’s to speak, the state of our nation was immensely different than it is now and gladly I can say we have evolved for the better. But it is also safe to say that there is still a lot of work yet to be done. Attending this event truly gave me and everyone there the opportunity to reflect upon everything that has happened in our communities and to evaluate ourselves to assess how we have positively or negatively impacted this movement.
As we continue to navigate through our individual journeys in life, we must remember that we are all stronger together and that “There is No I in Us”.