What: Seton Hill University’s Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration Task Force has scheduled, “The Dream Still Lives,” an educational program in commemoration of Dr. King’s birthday, featuring community activist and former Pittsburgh city councilman Sala Udin as keynote speaker. This event is being held in February as Seton Hill’s spring semester did not begin until after Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
When: Thursday, February 5, from 11:10 a.m. to 12:25 p.m.
Where: Cecilian Hall on the second floor of the Administration Building, Seton Hill University’s hilltop campus, Greensburg, Pa.
Who: Keynote speaker Sala Udin is a former member of Pittsburgh City Council, having served in that role for 11 years. In his youth, inspired by his participation in the 1963 March on Washington and Dr. King’s “I Have A Dream” speech, Udin volunteered to join the Freedom Riders traveling to the Civil Rights battlefront – the Mississippi Delta. His original four-month commitment lasted four years.
Upon his return home to Pittsburgh, Udin immersed himself in the Civil Rights issues of the times. He worked on a number of efforts, including getting more black students and faculty into the University of Pittsburgh; establishing the Black Action Society; taking on drug trafficking in Pittsburgh and establishing a residential drug treatment program, the House of the Crossroads; working to improve public education in the Hill District and desegregate the school system; empowering Pittsburgh’s black community to become more politically involved through voter registration campaigns; and collaborating with his childhood friends, Rob Penny and August Wilson to establish the Black Horizons Theatre.
While on City Council, Udin initiated the organizing of a broad cross-section of the Pittsburgh community to launch the August Wilson Center for African American Culture and served on the Center’s board until 2010. More recently, Udin returned to the August Wilson Center to play a central role in finding local foundations to purchase the building so that the Center could continue to serve its original mission. Udin continues to serve on several boards and committees, and remains active in efforts to develop the Lower Hill District, where he was born and raised.
Background: During the Martin Luther King Jr. Education Day, Sala Udin will share his experiences in the Civil Rights Movement, such as attending the 1963 March on Washington and joining the Freedom Riders. He will also discuss where the nation is today in terms of civil rights.
Through this speech and discussion, students will gain a deeper understanding of the roots of the Civil Rights struggle, learn tolerance and awareness of other cultures, and better understand and appreciate the significance of Dr. King’s message and impact on our world. Students will also share ways they might become agents of change in supporting civil and human rights and dignity for all.