ROCHESTER HILLS – “Each of us can do a bite-size version of something important.”
That was part of the message delivered by Emmy & Golden Globe nominated actor Anthony Anderson. He was the keynote speaker at Oakland University’s 30th Annual Keeper of the Dream Scholarship Awards Celebration.
“Dr. King said life’s most persistent and urgent question is, what are you going to do for others?,” said Anderson.
He recounted the stand took by Dr. King and trailblazers such as Muhammad Ali, Sir Sidney Poitier, and Betty White.
Anderson also celebrated with seven OU students, recognized for their contribution to interracial understanding and good will.
“I feel like it’s an utmost honor,” said Keyara Pepper-Cameron, scholarship recipient. “It’s not something that happens everyday. It’s nice to be noticed and recognized for all the accomplishments for all the work that we’re doing.”
Pepper-Cameron had her goals set on growing the interracial community when she first arrived on campus. She has taken the opportunity to work with students and help build their confidence and given them a voice. She has exemplified this character in her role as a student assistant at the Gender and Sexuality Center on campus, helping her become an advocate and teacher supporting the LGBTQIA community.
The Keeper of the Dream Scholarship Awards Celebration was established in 1993 and honors the legacy of the late civil rights leader, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and awards scholarships to students that best demonstrate exceptional leadership qualities. The Keeper of the Dream scholarship program has hosted renowned keynote speakers in the past such as Three-time WNBA MVP Lisa Leslie, Oscar-winning director Lee Daniels, Coretta Scott King, Martin Luther King III, and others.
“This honestly changes a whole lot for me”, said Markeal Williams, scholarship recipient. “After receiving this scholarship, I no longer have to pay anything to go to school anymore and I’m really excited about it.”
Williams is a member of the Track and Field DEI team committee, curating social justice initiatives and educational conversations. Williams stared a campaign to ensure all student-athletes were registered to vote, including international students in their home countries, according to Williams’ school biography.
“The value of education and the value of social justice in our community (is important)”, said Omar Brown-El, Senior Director, Center for Multicultural Affairs, Oakland University. “When we come together to recognize seven students that have clearly deserved to be recognized as the Keeper of the Dream. We know and we say it very loudly to our campus community that we value diversity, we value education and we value inclusion.”
In this spirit of Dr. King’s message about the character in all of us moving forward, The ABC black-ish star had this advice for students and attendees.
“In all of my adventures in school, in acting, in business, and in life – every little lesson I’ve learned can be compressed in two words, be kind,” said Anderson. “On Dr. King’s birthday and everyday, go show the world that kindness counts and empathy works.”
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