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The North Wind

The North Wind

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Amelia Kashian
Amelia Kashian
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Being passionate is one of the best parts of being human, and I am glad that writing has helped me recognize that. I have been writing stories since I was a little girl, and over...

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The North Wind is an independent student publication serving the Northern Michigan University community. It is partially funded by the Student Activity Fee. The North Wind digital paper is published daily during the fall and winter semesters except on university holidays and during exam weeks. The North Wind Board of Directors is composed of representatives of the student body, faculty, administration and area media.

Students protest against Israel-Hamas war with campus encampment
Students protest against Israel-Hamas war with campus encampment
Dallas WiertellaApril 30, 2024

Students remember MLK Jr.

Students+march+outside+of+Forest+Roberts+Theater+on+Martin+Luther+King+Jr.+day+as+part+of+a+week+of+events+dedicated+to+celebrating+and+honoring+the+work+of+MLK.+%0APhoto+by+Kelsii+Kyto
Students march outside of Forest Roberts Theater on Martin Luther King Jr. day as part of a week of events dedicated to celebrating and honoring the work of MLK. Photo by Kelsii Kyto

In honor of Martin Luther King Jr. day, NMU organizes a week chocked full of events to honor the civil rights activist and leader.

On Monday, Jan. 21, students marched to remember MLK and to bring awareness to modern racial inequalities.

And on Wednesday, students gathered in Jamrich room 1320 to listen to three motivational speakers in a talk called “Living Fearlessly.”

Each of the three speakers had different topics. Donzell Dixson opened the event by having participants join in, singing “Lift Every Voice and Sing” by James Weldon Johnson. Afterward, Dixson began the talk by speaking about leadership. Next, Elijeh Kondeh spoke to finding one’s purpose and to round out the event, Donte Curtis focused on liberation.

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“In every aspect of your [life] there’s going to be an opportunity where someone is going to see you as a leader. And that’s going to happen even if you don’t want it to,” Dixson said.

Dixson noted that everyone is a natural born leader, but that fear is very real, and it also sets in for everyone. People are afraid of confrontation and disagreement, but one doesn’t have to be aggressive to get a point across, Dixson said. In honor of MLK, Dixson wanted to teach his audience about fearlessness and having courage. Fear only exists in the mind, Dixson noted later in his speech.

“Fear can cause you to not do something you are capable of doing,” Dixson said. “It’ll paralyze you.”

It’s important to live despite of the things that scare you, he added, and identify what you’re afraid of. It’s about how you respond to the things that scare you, like MLK, Dixson noted.

MLK went to jail 29 times, and still continued to fight for the rights of all African Americans, Dixson said, and this was something he didn’t have to do, but chose to do. We all have a choice to stand up for what we believe in, Dixson said.

“MLK said there comes a time when one of us takes a position that is neither safe nor political nor popular, but you take it because you know it is the right thing to do,” Dixson said.

After Dixson’s speech, Kondeh spoke about the steps to finding your purpose.

Kondeh prefaced his speech by saying he was not telling audience members what to do, but rather giving them a new perspective to take with them into the future.

One of the most important things that must come before finding your purpose is finding yourself, Kondeh said. Without knowing your identity, it’s easy to get lost in not being true to yourself, he said.

“We end up doing things that have nothing to do with our calling. Our identity,” Kondeh said.

“It’s not all about popularity, either,” Kondeh said, adding that you have to be by yourself to find and perfect yourself, and stop focusing on what other people want from you.

“This is the season of ‘I.’ You’re taking yourself away from an environment of too much chaos and you’re focusing on yourself,”
he said.

Kondeh also focused on purging the negative and toxic feelings you have toward yourself. Another step he mentioned was healing, which takes time and should never be rushed, he added.

Kondeh also stressed that everyone needs to search themselves for the gift and talent they have inside themselves and perfect it.

“Do not sell yourself short. That’s so important, especially as college students. As soon as you put in an application someone might want to hire you, but if you know you have the gift to create something and they’re underballing you, don’t rush it. What’s meant to be yours will be yours,” Kondeh said.

The temporary happiness from accepting this kind of work is not worth it, Kondeh added.

With all of the work that comes along in life, it’s also important to relax, he said, and don’t run yourself dry. All of these steps will lead to fulfillment, Kondeh said, and you will find your purpose.

To wrap up the event, Donte Curtis talked about liberation and equity.

“I think a lot of us care about liberation,” Curtis said to begin his speech.

A key term that Curtis began his speech with was “equity.” Many people don’t fully understand the term, he noted. Curtis said equity is about liberation, opportunity, having options and most importantly, having a choice.

Success focuses a lot on choice, Curtis said. When choosing different alternatives, life experiences change.

Curtis also focused much of his speech on entrepreneurship. The perserverence and creativity coming from entrepreneurs start when they’re babies, Curtis said.

“It’s naturally instinctive,” he said.

So is hate, he noted. Hate is something that is taught. Babies will play with anybody if you have them there, he added. Everything people talk about as entrepreneurs, they were doing as toddlers, Curtis said.

“When we think about liberation, we have to think of entrepreneurship,” Curtis said.

To achieve change, we have to do things ourselves, Curtis said. It doesn’t have to be a big change, but even a personal change takes personal responsibility.

“I want to challege you to reignite that entreprenur spirit in you,” he said. “And I think it’s in every last one of us.”

Each of the speakers used the powerful traits of MLK to inspire their audience, many times referencing MLK’s personal experiences to ignite a fire in their listeners.

“You have the choice, you have the responsibility to change your life,” Curtis said.

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