May 4 commemoration focuses on positivity, not tragedy

Sade Hale

This year’s May 4 commemoration will feature speakers who have strong ties to the May 4 tragedy.

Maia O’Meara and attorney Sanford Rosen will be the keynote speakers for this year’s commemoration.

Rosen was the attorney for the victims and families of the May 4 massacre. Rosen has worked on several U.S. Supreme Court cases. He also is a founding partner of the Rosen, Bien & Galvan law firm.

Maia O’Meara is a Kent Roosevelt student who is a member of Project Vietnam. The project raises money for the people of Vietnam.

Other speakers include Jon Schluepp with Warriors’ Journey Home, activist Howie Emmer, May 4 witnesses Laura Davis, Joe Louis and Joe Cullum.

Musicians Melanie Safka and Carlos Jones are scheduled to perform at the event.

Jessica Denton, the president of the May 4 task force, said the annual commemoration is in honor and memory of the victims.

“We try not to make it a negative event,” Denton said.

This year’s theme is “Don’t Give Up the Fight.”

The May 4 commemoration will be held at the Kent State commons. In case of rain, the commemoration will be held in the Ballroom. The event is open to the public.

On May 3 there will be a forum in the Kiva at 6 p.m. The panel of activists will include journalist Melba Pattillo Beals. Beals was one of “the Little Rock Nine,” the first black high school students to enroll in an all-white high school in Little Rock, Ark in 1957.

Kent State professor Mark Seeman will also speak at the forum, along with Rosen and Emmer.

There will be a candlelight march around campus from the Victory Bell to the site of the shootings. The march will start at 11 p.m., after the forum.

The 12-hour candlelight vigil will begin at midnight. The vigil will take place in the Prentice parking lot, which is where the four students were shot and killed by National Guardsmen.

Contact Sade Hale at [email protected].