At an awards banquet held on Feb. 1, Anthony Smith, MCAS ’19, received the Martin Luther King, Jr. Scholarship.
The award is given annually to a Boston College junior who excels in academics, extracurricular leadership, and service, while demonstrating a sustained and committed involvement with the African American community, both on and off campus.
Smith will receive a $19,000 scholarship toward his senior year tuition, as well as a $1,000 gift certificate to the Boston College Bookstore.
In a video shown at the awards dinner, Smith spoke of the hope he and his family felt following the election of Barack Obama, and the continued violence toward African Americans.
“People are still being lynched,” Smith said. “The tree has just transformed and infiltrated our systems.… America is a nation where black bodies are disposable.
“In the framework of Boston College, black students are subjected to live on a campus that tolerates an atmosphere of racial terrorism through a tradition of delayed silence. A silence that tells us to wait. As Dr. King said, ‘Justice too long delayed is justice denied.’”
Smith also commented on the significance of the Black Lives Matter movement.
“I often find myself pondering the following questions,” Smith said. “What do I mean by, I’m a black man? When I shout black lives matter, who I am I fighting for, and whom am I fighting with?
“I shout in faith knowing that the arc of the moral universe is long, but bends towards justice. I’ve chosen to pick up the battle and resist with my faith and the power of love in the hopes of the collective we getting to the promised land.”
Smith was one of six finalists for the scholarship. The other finalists were Angela Arzu, Omolayo Ojurongbe, Evan Palmer—all MCAS ’19—and Bryan Paula, LSOE ’19. These students will receive $3,000 toward their senior year tuition, as well as gift certificates to the Boston College Bookstore.
“I am extremely honored and blessed to be nominated,” Ojurongbe said. “Ever since I was a freshman, I always looked up to MLK finalists. Many of them I know personally and I can say they have had a major impact in bettering my BC experience.”
Palmer shared a similar sentiment to Oruongbe.
“It was an honor to reach the finalist stage and I’m glad I got to enjoy the night with friends, faculty and family,” he said. “I am truly proud of Anthony Smith and look forward to seeing him continue the legacy of the scholarship.”
Finalists also commented on the significance of being nominated to them.
“As a MLK finalist, I am ecstatic to be in a position where I can be a positive guide to underclassmen and continue to work with other student leaders in improving the AHANA+ student experience,” Ojurongbe said.
“The level of resilience shown not only by my fellow members of the junior class but also from the freshmen and sophomores who work tirelessly to call out racism and hatred on our campus lets me know that we have future leaders in our midst who will undoubtedly transform our society,” Arzu said.
Featured Image by Justin Knight / University Communications