Harry Belafonte on "The Fierce Urgency of Now"

By: Jeremiah Johnson

Photo by @Channelbb

Dr.King and a Young Belafonte

Amidst the inauguration of Donald Trump Purdue University brought in Harry Belafonte January 17th as a keynote speaker in celebration of Martin Luther King Jr. openly speaking before Trump is officially President. Attendance was phenomenal and mostly consisted of older folks from the community and afar in addition to graduate students. Undergraduates were just a handful as most do not even know who the legendary icon is. For those in attendance they received a riveting speech and a lot of take home advice. It should be noted that neither our University President Mitch Daniels nor our Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs and Diversity  Debasish (Deba) Dutta attended. 

Belafonte hopes that we the youth and other concerned citizens of America realize the fierce urgency of now and create an American 'ungovernable' for Trump. Now you can speculate as to what that means and the answers may vary from group to group but what is known is that we as an American people can not sit idly by waiting on a savior of lone leaders. As a collective we must oppose and struggle with Trump and his "New American Order" or become victims to it. Not many people noticed that this was a combination of  pure knowledge, understanding, wisdom and a blessed spirit speaking to them as he did not read off of any paper. Belafonte spoke from the heart. The youth and undergraduates that were unable to make it should know this... Knowledge, Understanding, and Wisdom are all interconnected. Having one or two is not enough. Having the facts about something is not beneficial if you do not have the understanding to manifest this in multiple ways for others to comprehend, without wisdom you will not properly be able to judge the best way to share the culmination of experiences with humanity. Be diligent in all faculties. 

To parents he said: "What you see and support becomes the instructive methods of your children" and that "our children learn from the absence of real conversations." As captured by Purdue's very own graduate student and artist also a dear friend of mines @Chanelbb wrote on an Instagram post about the event that, Poetically he contributed to some jewels she also plans to incorporate like; encouraging Americans to face the "moment at their doorstep." Discussing the "menu of existence" and the "conflicted soul of this nation" that sometimes "brings justice to the table" when "hope is up for grabs."  @Chanelbb describes him speaking in a winding philosophical way that made her come under the guise that he had journeyed these concepts in his mind longer than she has been alive and inspired her "a bit of urgent patience in my soul I have no plan to shake." 

Destiny again has led me to intertwine with yet another legend who has graced Purdue's University since my matriculation ( bell hooks, Angela Davis, and Julian Bond have appeared). I was randomly given a backstage pass that gave me a small window of opportunity to talk with Belafonte which allowed me to receive a picture with him in addition to a handshake, picture and parting words of advice. Trump will officially be declared President later on today, but instead of despair, I feel a sense of hope that I encourage you all to share. 

Photo captured by Renee Thomas Belafonte and Johnson pose for a picture backstage after the keynote address.