ASC event honors Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. legacy
January 24, 2011
- Dr. Cyrus M. Ellis addressed a large group of civilians and Soldiers at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day observance at RIA, Jan. 20.
- The MLK Holiday was established to honor the memory and legacy of Dr. King and his work to promote racial equality in the United States.
ROCK ISLAND, Illinois-Marking the 2011 Martin Luther King, Jr. Day observance at Rock Island Arsenal Jan. 20, Dr. Cyrus M. Ellis addressed a large group of civilians and Soldiers.
Invited to speak by the U. S. Army Sustainment Command's Equal Employment Opportunity Office, Ellis is an award-winning social justice and civil rights advocate. He is a Louisiana native but currently lives in the Chicago, Ill., area and works as a college professor. He has authored and published works discussing the negative emotional responses to being in a constant state of distress over issues of racism, gender and class.
"It is my honor," Ellis said, "to be here among my family." Ellis is a retired veteran, having served in both the U.S. Army Reserve and the New Jersey Army National Guard.
In his remarks, Ellis frequently referred to his military background and his experiences as a youth. He believes that "we make [equality] happen because of our service."
"The topic of honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. is important," Ellis said. The MLK Holiday was established to honor the memory and legacy of Dr. King and his work to promote racial equality in the United States.
"Dr. King was diligent on his pursuit of what freedom really means," Ellis said. "America has always been about freedom. We are trying to recognize and understand that this nation, with all of its greatness, has been great because we have always been in the fight together."
In concluding his speech, Ellis emphatically proclaimed that participants in the civil rights movement finally "stood up, straightened our backs and changed the mentality of what we could not do, and focused on what is possible. Now it's time for all of us to stand up," Ellis said, implying that's what it takes to make America a land of equal opportunity.
Ellis earned academic degrees in counseling services and psychology from Rider University in Lawrenceville, N.J. He was awarded the Lincoln Scott Walter Award in Counseling in 1996 and earned a commission as a second lieutenant in the United States Army Reserve in 1992.