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Equality was a dream in 1963, and some students came together last night to say that the dream still exists. Yesterday evening, students were treated to a town meeting entitled "Having Our Say." The event, held in Houston Hall, was part of the University's ongoing observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Speakers from various organizations around campus and West Philadelphia lent the audience of about 30 people their views on the legacy of King and his celebrated "I Have a Dream" speech. "I'm really excited to see students reflect on the legacy of Martin Luther King," College sophomore and UMOJA International Relations Coordinator Tayo Akingbe said prior to the event. UMOJA is an umbrella organization for several African American student groups. Penn Women's Center Associate Director Gloria Gay, who moderated the event, kicked off the evening with some words from King's famous speech. "This is not the time to engage in the luxury of cooling off," Gay said, quoting King. But although she began with a call to action, Gay soon went on to thank the audience of mostly Penn students for their activism. "You have made some of those things a reality," she added, referring to the accomplishments of the students. College senior and Latino Coalition spokesperson Randy Quezada called King's 1963 speech from the march on Washington a "call to arms." He later said that now is a very appropriate time to revisit the slain civil rights leader's words. The continued lack of an equal playing field for minorities was a running topic of the evening's speeches. "America continues to default on citizens' rights," said College senior James Yoo, from the Asian-Pacific Student Coalition. Then Yoo brought the issue home, by criticizing the University's treatment of the campus food trucks, which are often operated by immigrants. "This University does not seem to view them in a positive light," he said. Nicole Andrewin, a Wharton sophomore and member of UMOJA, said she was disappointed with the low turnout for the evening's event. "If not now, then I don't know when [students will begin taking initiative]," Andrewin noted. At certain points in the event, the topic turned to the recent election of President George W. Bush. Playing on a familiar portion of King's "I Have a Dream" speech, Gay said that "we will not be satisfied until we have some voting reform." College sophomore and United Minorities Council member Trina Dasgupta called for individuals of different backgrounds to work together. "Intercultural work is just as important today as it has ever been," she said. Mamie Young, of West Philadelphia's Spruce Hill Community Association, moved the audience by breaking into song. Young's most crucial message was the greater community's need for student involvement. "We need you," she said.

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