Come together: May 4 Task Force hosts 43rd anniversary commemoration

Lyndsey Schley

The 43rd annual May 4 commemoration program, hosted by the May 4 Task Force, took place on the

Kent State Commons May 4 at noon. The theme of this year’s program was “Come Together.”

“We wanted to convey the unity that we have each spring as we gather here on the commons to

remember Allison [Krause],Bill [Schroeder], Jeff [Miller] and Sandy [Scheuer],” said Jesse Denton, May 4 Tak force chair.

This year’s keynote speakers were activist Bill Ayers, author David Burstein and former California state

senator Tom Hayden.

Ayers’s speech focused on the importance of remembering history and using imagination for social

justice. He talked about losing his own friends during that period.

“Just as grief was about to overwhelm me, I had a revelation,” Ayers said. “Action is the antidote

to hopelessness, not optimism, which pretends to predict a rosy future, and not its depressing twin

pessimism, which shares a deterministic world view and an orthodox turn of mind. Our fight is for social

justice and action is necessary if we are to achieve it.”

Burstein spoke about how the millennial generation uses technology for activism and how history and

context are important to modern activism.

“I am a direct product of Kent State and its place in history, as are many in my generation,” Burstein

said. “Members of our parents’ generation were the ones who died here and made a stand here and all

across the country for social justice and things that mattered deeply to them. They stood up so we could

live in a more just world, but they did not stand up so we could sit down in that world.”

Hayden spoke on the importance of remembering controversial historical events and the wrong-doings

of government in the past.

“Your perseverance shows that we have it within ourselves to keep announcing the history

remembering the history, respecting the history, teaching the history until our government finally

recognizes the history as well,” Hayden said. “What is it about the Vietnam period, the draft resistance

and Kent State that makes it less important to our true history, our bad history as well as our glorious

history? I don’t know. It’s up to us to ask that question.”

Friends and family members shared eulogies for the students. Kendra Pacifico spoke for Krause, Russ

Miller spoke for his brother Jeff Miller, professor Chick Canfora spoke for Scheuer and Joe Lewis spoke

for Schroeder.

Jim Mueller presented the timeline of events for the Shootings, while professor Christina McVay

presented the chronology for the similar shootings in Jackson State University May 15, 1970.

Musician Charlie Mosbrooke played covers of songs by Richie Havens throughout the event.

Protestors from the Kent State Truth Tribunal also attended the event. Director Laurel Krause, sister

of Alison Krause, said they are unhappy with the Visitor Center, which she said left out critical facts.

The group is currently working on a hearing with the United Nations Human Rights Commission on the

Shootings in October.

Contact Lyndsey Schley at [email protected].