MLK Jr. Center reception draws crowd

Denise Barajas

Students and faculty alike flooded the halls during the Martin Luther King Center’s grand opening on Nov. 3.

Staff members from departments and programs across the campus of all ethnic backgrounds came out in masses to show their support for the African American students at Sacramento State.

The ceremony started at 2 p.m. By 2:10 p.m. the entire center was filled with people elbow to elbow eager to be part of this Sac State milestone event.

“This is amazing, you know Sac State hasn’t had anything like this before so this is a new experience for our students,” said Tina Jordan-Brown, director of the Peer and Academic Resource Center. “We are looking at the graduation and retention rates and we are trying to figure out ‘what do [African-American students] need?’ [African-American] students need to feel included at Sac State, and that inclusion will help support their academics and that’s why we made this. So it’s really a long time coming.”

Among the many notable attendees at the grand opening was Sac State President Robert Nelsen.

“This is a game-changer for the students on our campus,” said Nelsen during his opening speech. “The students aren’t here today because of the food, they are here because of the celebration and what this space will mean for them. This is an opportunity for students to get together, help each other, mentor each other and be successful. It’s been a dream for many people and when they came and presented this dream, we came together, looked at the budget and said we’re going to make it happen.”

The crowd then laughed and cheered as Nelsen did the cutting of the center’s ribbon and yelled his trademark, “stingers up” followed by an equally enthusiastic and well-received, “Black power.”

“I think it’s just amazing, I think it shows how much of a need there is for a facility like this where the students can be together,” Nelsen said. “This is a great day for Sacramento and for Sac State.”

Following the cutting ceremony, attendees mingled as junior criminal justice pre-law major, Tipzah Hubbard sang a rendition of John Legend’s “Ordinary People.”

The ceremony concluded with workshops discussing the many resources the center will be offering. Coordinator Damariye Smith emphasized the importance of student involvement at the center.

“We need to show need for the space so please, bring a friend and come help build a community on our campus. If there is something you want to change or add on to please come talk to us,” Smith said. “This space is for students to make it their own.”

The MLK Center will be open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.