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The Student News Site of Gannon University since 1947


The Student News Site of Gannon University since 1947


Black History Month Service and Celebration with Dr. Adarius Porter

Lillian Baldi
Speech being given by Dr. Adarius Porter at the Black History Month Service and Celebration

February 16, 2024/Midnight 


Erie, Pa., — Tuesday night was a night of gospel, prayer, reflection, gratitude, and togetherness. Students, faculty staff, and friends were gathered within the pews of St. Mary’s Seat of Wisdom Chapel to hear poems, songs, and messages that remind the community of what is being celebrated during Black History Month.  

Megan Poser, Campus Ministry Leader, welcomed the gathered group. 

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“In this month of February, we honor and celebrate scientists, engineers, artists, mathematicians, musicians, doctors, clergy, and many more for their hand in shaping our culture and our history,” said Poser.  

Poser reviewed African American history of great triumphs profound change and overwhelming success that are worthy of celebration from not only the Gannon community but every community. Gratitude was extended to all who attended. 

The opening scripture was recited by Kirk Chimbama from the book of Psalm, all were asked to rise in prayer. 

“We also pray for the victims of injustice, inequality, fear, enslavement, and ignorance…together may we stand proud and strong against what means to divide us, in full confidence that God and his love will ultimately unite us.” 

The song, ‘Lift Every Voice,’ highlighted the subject of togetherness and what it means to come together with song and harmonies. The piece was reminiscent of a dark sordid past and moved toward the hope of a better present and future.  

The poem ‘won’t you celebrate with me’ was recited by Juliana Vassell. ‘Won’t You Celebrate with Me’ describes how remembering the history of where it began one can also celebrate how far history has come. 

“Let us celebrate being led to this moment…here now won’t you celebrate with me.” 

Jeremy Mensah led the group into the next song due to some technical difficulties. 

Mensah reminded the group that, “Throughout history, improvisation to think on the fly…sometimes things don’t work out how they’re supposed to…that’s life.”  

The song ‘Firm Foundation’ filled the chapel with harmonies and reflection on the faith put in Jesus to never fail even through the chaos. 

A reflection was led by Gerald James. “Each and every year February comes around and it’s the month of Valentines Day, somebody’s birthday notably Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglas…There is also something really special about the month of February and that it is Black History Month,” said James. 

James reflected on history and how Black History Month has been celebrated by each president since 1976, and it is during this time that we honor the achievements, contributions, courageousness, and legacies by those before us. 

“Were black and African Americans can look through the window of life and celebrate the resilience and unwavering commitment to the achievement of black excellence…It includes ingenuity, it includes innovation it includes honor and integrity, it includes liberty, it includes great and fortitude, it includes progress in education, and it is greatness.” 

James also reminded the audience that this is a time to remember how far we have come but more so how much farther we still have left to go. 

The poem “Flowers” was read by Shacale Henderson describing the value and the challenge of celebrating people and their achievements while they are still alive, not just when they have passed. Bianca Morris introduced Dr. Adarius Porter and that the challenge was expected to celebrate Dr. Porter. 

Dr. Porter’s speech on fulfilling dreams gave insight into the life of someone who grew up in adversity and overcame each obstacle with strife and determination.  

“Today I stand before you not just as someone who has fulfilled dreams, but as someone who is eager to continue to dream” said Dr. Porter. 

With support from his mother, his grandmother, Big Mama, but most of all his grandfather, the one who gave him the tools to build the steppingstones he needed to get where he is today by teaching him three valuable lessons. 

“One you are much more than a title and what names people call you. Two you can become unforgettable. Three you have the ability to shape perception by speaking up.” 

From the beginning of his life Dr. Porter has shown his community, his friends, and his family that he can get through anything he has put his mind to. 

“We cannot control the cards that we are dealt in life, but we can control how we play them” said Dr. Porter 

From playing a sport that pushed him to his limits to going through school just to get through school to now having a PhD. Porter felt the rise to action from his family who pushed him to be his very best and to be resilient throughout his life.  

“Fulfilling dreams is straightforward. It demands resilience, determination, and the willingness to face obstacles…however these challenges are not roadblocks, but instead look at them as steppingstones that contribute to laying the staircase to our goals.” 

Porter quoted some of the most influential African American Women of our history; Harriet Tubman, Maya Angelou, and Rosa Parks.  

All were quoted for their viewpoints on dreams and how one can go about making them a reality. It takes resilience, courage, determination and much more but by coming together these dreams come closer and closer to being the future.  

“Are you ready to dream?” 


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