Superintendent Adell key speaker for MLK Day!

Superintendent Adell key speaker for MLK Day!
Posted on 01/16/2018
Adell speaking at MLK

This article was written by Kevin Griffin, Hickory Daily Record and photo is by Robert C. Reed, Hickory Daily Record. The article is featured on the front page of the HDR, 1.16.18.

Role of education stressed in MLK address

HICKORY — The Hickory NAACP celebrated Martin Luther King Jr. Day with a ceremony filled with music and dance at Ridgeview Recreation Center.

Marchers leaving the ceremony at Lenoir-Rhyne University came to see a series of songs and dance routines performed by groups from local churches, as well as a video on the history of the NAACP.

Hickory Public Schools Superintendent Robbie Adell delivered remarks on King’s legacy that emphasized young people and the importance of education.

Adell recalled how his father would have to go to the backs of restaurants to be served, adding that there was still work to be done.

Some historians believe that “minorities have lost momentum in their quest for equality,” with African-American students often falling behind in education, Adell said.

“We need a new a mindset, a new set of attitudes, because one of the most destructive legacies of discrimination is the way that we have internalized a sense of limitation,” Adell said.

“We have to say to our children, yes, if you’re African-American, the odds of growing up around crime are higher. Yes, if you live in a poor neighborhood, you will face challenges that someone in a wealthy neighborhood will not face, but that’s not a reason to get poor grades in school.”

Adell went on to emphasize the importance of support from both parents and other communities in guiding children in the right direction.

“We need to return to the time when our neighbors were watching our children, we were watching their children,” Adell said.

“That’s the true meaning of community. That’s how we’ll reclaim the strength, that’s how we’ll reclaim the determination and the hopefulness that has helped us come as far as we already have.”

Adell referred to his own life experiences, from becoming a first-generation college graduate to becoming the first African-American superintendent of Hickory Public Schools, to emphasize the importance of education in gaining respect.

“My dad would always say, your voice and your message will be heard if you are educated,” Adell said.

“His encouragement was symbolic of the time when minorities struggled to gain respect in this country. Unfortunately, we have recently witnessed all types of crime and injustice in our country, so our struggle with respect continues today.”

After the ceremony, several attendees reflected on what the holiday means to them.

Viola Williams said that many people see the holiday is a time of doing public service in furtherance of King’s legacy.

“He was about love and trying to help our fellow man, and to help all of us succeed,” Williams said.

“It’s not about one color. People have been confused over the years that it’s all a black and white thing. It’s to help… everybody.”

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