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 Change and Celebration

UMD Celebrates Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
and the Presidential Inauguration

Presidential Inauguration Celebration
January 20, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., UMD Kirby Lounge

The historic nature of Barack Obama's presidency guarantees that his inauguration on January 20, 2009, will be a "must-see" event for the UMD community. Watch the swearing-in ceremony on a big screen TV. Aretha Franklin will sing, Pastor Rick Warren will pray, and Yo-Yo Ma will play the cello during the event on the steps of the nation's capitol. As many as four million visitors are expected to flood Washington, D.C.

Curtis Austin
Curtis Austin.

"A New Birth of Freedom" with Dr. Curtis Austin
January 20, 3:30 p.m., UMD Kirby Lounge

Austin serves as the Director of the Center for Black Studies at University of Southern Mississippi. Prior to that, he was the director for the Center for Oral History and Cultural Heritage. His most recent book is Up Against the Wall: Violence in the Making and Unmaking of the Black Panther Party (2006) University of Arkansas Press. Dr. Austin has also created an interactive CD-ROM, entitled “"Ordinary People Living Extraordinary Lives: The Civil Rights Movement in Mississippi."” The CD can be accessed on-line at

UMD Students and Staff Comment about the Inauguration of President Obama

Chike Uduku, UMD senior and Electrical Engineer/Computer Science major, is encouraged about Obama's election. "What Obama's appointment tells me is that just about anything is possible," he said. "Limitations might not be necessarily a figment of our imaginations...they could be as real as the Berlin wall was..but with perseverance and a healthy amount of self-belief, they can be overcome!"

Justin Hauschild, who helped lead a get out the student vote campaign said, "I'm very hopeful for the future . . . to me the Obama presidency means a transcendence of the old type of politics and of race in the United States, allowing us to move past some of the stereotypes of the past and let us solve problems in common sensical and collective way. The student voter registration drive was one of the most meaningful civic engagement projects that I have ever witnessed and or been a part of and I am very proud of what we accomplished here in Duluth."

Jake Loesch, UMD College Republicans Co-Chair said that President-Obama's election in November and his upcoming inauguration ceremony represent monumental change in our country. "His election undoubtedly means a great deal to many Americans," he said. "Personally, I disagree with his political beliefs. That being said however, I remain positive and optimistic about the future of our nation, regardless of who occupies the Oval Office. President-elect Obama has a very long and hard struggle ahead of him, and the world is awaiting his inauguration, anxious to see what he will do. The theme of Barack Obama's historic presidential campaign was one of hope and change, and I am ready and willing to give him a chance to deliver on the variety of promises he made during the campaign. Both Republicans and Democrats alike must, at the very least, give him a chance to prove himself. I implore Americans to remain both critical and openminded.

"As for the student voter drive at UMD this fall, I was incredibly impressed by the work of MPIRG, the College Democrats and my own organization, College Republicans, as well as the myriad of other organizations that became involved. It was clear to me early on that students from all ends of the political spectrum had become engaged and involved in the 2008 Presidential election, which was both exciting and motivating. Clearly, the voter drive was a resounding success, and I am very pleased that so many students took the time to uphold their civic duty and vote on November 4th. It was an incredible thing both to be a part of and to witness, and I think everyone involved should be proud of what was accomplished. We, as students, are the next generation of policy makers, and therefore it is our job to vote for those candidates who we feel will leave the political landscape of America a little better than when they found it. My preferred candidates may not have been elected this election cycle, and that's OK. The United States of America guarantees there will always be another chance at victory. For the time being, I hope my fellow Republicans will join me in giving President-elect Obama our respect, while continuing to grow from our mistakes and strengthening our party in order to move forward."

Barack Obama (official photo)

Heron Abegaze, a member of the Black Student Association said she is hopeful for the future. "We have finally seen a change in the United States that we have never seen before. Just 50 years ago this country was facing conflicts dealing with human rights and racism issues."

Heron recalled Dr. Martin Luther King's words. “I have a dream that one day my children will live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.”

"Now half a century later we have elected a black president," Heron said. "It is a hopeful sight for our future in this country. The Obama presidency means different things to me. For the first time I am represented by a president who not only looks like I do, but also has experienced and dealt with some of the racial issues that I have."

College of Liberal Arts student Eleni Johnson said, "Obama being President elect has instilled pride in me as a black individual. I knew that a Black person could lead America, now a lot of Americans believe that as well. Perhaps the stereotypes will start to diminish as to what a Black person's potential is because the potential has broadened. I was proud to be Black before, because what else can you be when you are trying to fight self-hate, internalized oppression. Obama's election has instilled a hope that non-black people will now so the potential in me, perhaps they will see why I am proud. Obama's presidential election has instilled a hope in me for the future of Black people in the U.S. (and thus the rest of the world) to be one of personal autonomy and equality".

David Comer, director, African American Student Programs said, "The presidency doesn’t change my ideal of hope for the future. Like the slogan that President elect Barack Obama and others support, I do believe in 'yes we can' and 'we are the change we’ve been looking for'. Obama has motivated all people to empower themselves to defuse issues by being concerned of others before one self.

"For the black and any community of color; it was a dream for little children to reach for the goal to be President of the United States because there weren’t any footprints nor taught representation of multiplicity of leaders of color. Now, students can reach higher because one will see a reflection of themselves staring back at them in that professional light.

"For all communities; I believe a new era of collective cohesive partnership may formulate because of the many representations that President elect Barack Obama has. We need not to wait on something to happen in order to bring our nation along with our nations together, but formulate ideals of strategy to create a renewable sustainable bond; hence, 'Yes we can', 'Yes we will' to ultimately achieve 'Yes we did'.”



UMD alumnus Capt James H Main, ‘64 Political Science, will march in the Inaugural Parade for President Barack Obama. Main plays the trumpet in the Get A Life Marching Band from Portland, Ore. The band will serenade President Obama in front of the viewing stand with the Pacific Northwest anthem, "Louie Louie." Main is also a strong UMD supporter. He was one of the Decade of the '60s Ambassadors and is a past member of the Alumni Association Board of Directors.


January 15
A Message for Today: Dr. King on Hope, Nonviolence and Peace
Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Duluth - 835 College St - 7 PM

January 18
Community Worship Service
Christ Temple Victory Center - 33 North 59th Avenue West - TBA

January 19
Free Community Breakfast
First United Methodist Church - 230 West Skyline Parkway - 7 AM
Large screen broadcast of Gen. Colin Powell's speech from Minneapolis. (General Powell's speech will be also broadcast from 8 AM to 9 AM on Channel 8).

March (11 AM) and Rally (11:45 AM)
March starts from Washington Center at 11 AM to Rally at Duluth
Entertainment and Convention Center - 11:45 AM

The MLK Holiday Committee is working with the Duluth Public Schools to provide opportunities for teacher inservice from 2 - 3:30 PM at the DECC.


Printable posters are available at:

For further information, visit:

Download pdf poster

Written by Cheryl Reitan


UMD home page editor, Cheryl Reitan,
NEW RELEASES, UMD media contact, Susan Latto,, 218-726-8830

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