Wendy Semon
30th May 4 Commemoration

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For those of us not even born in 1970, we come to our own crossroad [as] we contemplate on how to remember Allison, Jeff, Sandra and Bill. They were not our classmates, not our brothers or sisters and not even part of our generation. And for many students, today they remain sterile facts in history books. But for students of the May 4 Task Force, they become our guiding force. They become the reason we do this every year.

When we hear family members saying "thank you for keeping their memory alive." When Ms. Holstein said to us last fall at the parking lot dedication [that] we were the reason she came back. And when Mrs. Krause came back nearly twenty-five years after she stated she believed KSU was a "worthless institution." Because of our efforts and dedication she came back.

This is what drives us everyday through the constant criticism of our parents, our peers, this administration and sadly enough, members of the generation we fight so hard to defend.

The job of the May 4th Task Force co-chairs is probably on of the hardest jobs a student can take on at this university. Not only is it physically demanding, it is emotionally draining. But Jeff Ritter and Michelle Touve-Gregorino made us as a family only stronger. The poet Ed Sanders once said, "Surround yourselves with the best minds of your generation." And I beleive I have with the Task Force.

As members of the Task Force we often look to our years at Kent, at the commemorations we have organized here. This year's commemoration promises to be the finest gathering of political thought this year. The speakers truly transcend political, generational and cultural boundaries.

In order to keep those students' memories alive we must inspire future generations to speak out. If we have learned anything from May 4th it is that we should not silence voices. Instead, Kent State should become a forum for the exchange of rich dialog. College campuses are known to be the haven for this type of discussion. But why do we silence it here at Kent?

For the first time in decades there is a major movement growing as we have witnessed in Seattle and Washington DC. Rather than break the solidarity of this movement, the Task Force has the opportunity to support and advance this unification of activists around the cause of May 4th.

We are walking in the path that great men and women paved for us, like William Kunstler, Arthur Krause, Martin and Sarah Scheuer, Roseanne and Alan Canfora, Carl Meyers and the rest of you out there. You know who you are. Thank you.

Other May 4, 2000 Speeches
Barry Levine on Allison Krause | Ramona Africa | Wendy Semon-Introduction | Julliette Beck | Julia Butterfly Hill | Vernon Bellecourt | Noam Chomsky

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