The voices of the Gustavus Choir echoed through Christ Chapel Monday morning, setting the tone for keynote speaker Karith Foster’s lecture at Gustavus Adolphus College’s Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Celebration.
Foster, an author, entrepreneur, television personality and comedian, described her lecture as a conversation and opened by inviting audience members to share words that came to mind when they think of King.
“Dr. King has been one of those role models, figures that while we have never interacted personally, we’ve seen videos, we’ve read his speeches, we know of his legacy,” she said.
“Hopefully we really take the time to think about how much he actually did in his short time on this Earth.”
Foster told The Free Press after Monday’s event that she wanted to open this way because she wants to change the way people engage with her speeches.
“I want every message that I deliver to feel like an experience. That’s when it reaches people,” she said.
Kindness and being kind to yourself was also a theme throughout Foster’s lecture.
She said she wanted to include the message because kindness is often taken for granted.
“I think it’s one of those words that’s been used so much that we forget what it really means. That’s why I told the stories that I did about kindness and about how it can be impactful and how not being kind to ourselves shows up. I think people don’t think about it that way. They don’t reflect on it in that manner,” she said.
Students Sam Schulze and Agro Gushwa said their takeaways of Monday’s celebration of King included thinking more about respect and different people’s perspectives.
“That’s something that I think about a lot,” Schulze said, adding that Gustavus hosting the event allows students and the community to think about these topics.
“It forces them to actually engage in these practices if we’re all in this space together,” he said.
Gushwa also added that it’s an environment where people can come together.
“It makes them feel like they’re being heard,” he said.